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Can A Biomedical Engineer Become a Doctor? (Guide)

Most engineering programs are multidisciplinary, meaning they consist of multiple related sub-disciplines. This approach opens up many alternative career prospects for aspiring engineers.

For instance, a civil engineer can become an architect, urban planner, or surveyor, while a chemical engineer can pursue a career as a food scientist, biotechnologist, or production manager.

With all these options to choose from, student engineers may ask, can a biomedical engineer become a doctor?

This detailed post explains the possibility of a biomedical engineer becoming a doctor and the path one must take to get there. 

Keep it here to find out more.

Can a biomedical engineer become a medical doctor?

The short answer is YES. A biomedical engineer can become a medical doctor. However, biomedical engineers must first go through medical school to become doctors. 

The good news is that the chances of getting into medical school are much higher for biomedical engineers since they already have some background knowledge of medicine. 

Besides, most medical institutions appreciate students who know how to work with medical technology.

Biomedical engineering applies engineering principles and concepts to solve problems in biology and medicine. 

Biomedical engineers work with healthcare professionals, including doctors, surgeons, therapists, and lab technicians, to design and develop medical tools, devices, and equipment.

They are responsible for designing imaging devices, medical instruments, prostheses, artificial hips, and other implantable gadgets such as pacemakers, coronary stents, dental products, and orthopedic implants.

Biomedical engineers conduct high-level research to develop software programs, computer systems, and technological devices for advanced medical diagnosis and treatment.

They push the frontiers in medicine to innovate, design, and develop new technologies. Futuristic technologies such as 3D printing of biological organs and stem cell engineering fall under the domain of biomedical engineers. 

They also ensure medical devices, diagnostic tools, and other healthcare equipment meet established safety standards.

Since biomedical engineers have a lot of background information about medicine, they can make good doctors if they decide to follow that career path. Some choose to pursue medical degrees to become physicians, surgeons, and therapists.

Nonetheless, they must go through the same training program as other medical students to become doctors, surgeons, or physicians.

How long does it take for a biomedical engineer to become a doctor?

The time needed for a biomedical engineer to become a doctor is not different from that of undergraduate students in medical school. 

Medical training takes about four years, and graduate students have to join a residency program for an additional three to seven years to become licensed doctors.

Cumulatively, a biomedical engineer will take 6-7 years to become a fully licensed doctor.

Having a degree in biomedical engineering does not qualify one to become a doctor. It only gives biomedical engineers an advantage since they have some background knowledge of medicine. 

Moreover, they must apply and meet the minimum entry requirements like other applicants to join medical school.

Can a biomedical student become a doctor?

Yes. A biomedical student can become a doctor. However, they must first complete their biomedical undergraduate program before applying for a chance to join medical school.

The good news is that the chances of joining medical school are higher for biomedical students since the entry requirements for all programs are almost similar. 

Besides, biomedical students have an advantage since doctoral programs and biomedical engineering courses seemingly overlap, meaning students already have first-hand information required for medical training.

Many institutions providing medical training appreciate what biomedical students have to offer in terms of expertise. For this reason, most medical schools admit biomedical students to pursue doctorate programs.

Do biomedical engineers perform surgery?

No. Biomedical engineers do not perform surgery. In any case, they do not have the necessary expertise to perform invasive medical procedures such as surgery.

However, biomedical engineers work with doctors and surgeons to design and develop surgical instruments and devices. They also create software programs and other related technologies used to perform delicate surgical procedures.

Biomedical engineers also design and develop implantable devices such as pacemakers, coronary stents, and dental products implanted via surgery.

Can biomedical engineers work in hospitals?

Yes. Biomedical engineers can work in hospitals and other medical facilities. They also work in laboratories, research centers, workshops, manufacturing plants, clinics, and offices.

The primary role of a biomedical engineer is to design, develop, and maintain medical equipment. For this reason, their presence in hospitals is vital since they may be required to fix malfunctioning medical instruments and devices.

What kind of job can you get with a biomedical engineering degree?

You can get a variety of jobs with your biomedical engineering degree. This degree program is a gateway to other fields, and biomedical engineers can work in academia, medical research, manufacturing, sales, and medical practice.

Other career opportunities for biomedical engineers include:

  • Medical technology developer
  • Manufacturing engineer
  • Independent consultant
  • Rehabilitation engineer
  • Medical device developer
  • Equipment testing and servicing
  • Clinical patient evaluation

Learn more: Bioengineering Vs. Bioinformatics

Is biomedical engineering stressful?

A career in engineering can be stressful and demanding. However, this is not the case with biomedical engineering. 

Whether you are a student or a practicing engineer, biomedical engineering can be fun and exciting as long as you have a passion for it.

Besides, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, biomedical engineers have regular work schedules. They do not work more than 40 hours a week, making it a less stressful but high-paying job.

What is the best job for a biomedical engineer?

The best job for a biomedical engineer depends on your preferences and area of specialization. 

You can be a manufacturing engineer, quality engineer, researcher, materials engineer, or physician. The choice depends on where your heart is.

Read Biomedical Engineers: Remote Work and Demand.

Final thoughts

Studying biomedical engineering can open up more career opportunities in scientific research and medicine. It is a gateway to many fields, and you can become a doctor, surgeon, dentist, or any other healthcare professional.

However, having a degree in biomedical engineering does not qualify you to become a doctor straight away. You have to go through medical school like other doctors and physicians. 

Many biomedical engineers pursue medical degrees to become physicians, surgeons, and medical doctors. Their background knowledge is an added advantage, and their chances of enrolling are higher.