Job descriptions and industry overviews

Biomedical engineer: job description

27 Feb 2024, 13:26

Biomedical engineers design and develop medical devices such as artificial limbs and cochlear implants.

Biomedical engineers working in a lab

What does a biomedical engineer do? Graduate salaries | Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Biomedical engineers (also known as medical engineers) work with medical professionals and patients to design and develop advanced healthcare technology. Their typical duties include:

  • liaising with medical and scientific staff and patients to understand their needs
  • designing, developing and testing products, equipment and devices that will address medical problems cost efficiently
  • designing, testing and implementing new medical procedures, such as computer-aided surgery and tissue engineering
  • managing clinical trials of new devices and equipment
  • working with manufacturers of devices and their marketing teams
  • investigating ways to market new products
  • maintaining equipment and training staff to use it safely
  • responding to queries and resolving problems with devices
  • writing reports and documentation
  • carrying out research and publishing findings.

Graduate salaries

If you work in the NHS as many bioengineers do, you’ll start by completing the NHS scientific training programme, which comes with a starting salary of around £31,000, according to .

Outside the NHS, starting salaries are around £22,000, according to Glassdoor, a job comparison site. Earnings in both the public and private sector will rise with experience; you could earn up to £45,000 a year.

Typical employers of biomedical engineers

  • NHS trusts
  • Private health organisations
  • Research organisations
  • Diagnostic/medical instrumentation manufacturers
  • The armed forces
  • Charities involved in providing medical devices.

For help with applying for engineering jobs and internships, take a look at our engineering CV and covering letter tips and our advice on filling out online applications =

Qualifications and training required

To become a biomedical engineer, you’ll need at least a 2.1 degree (or a 2.2 plus a postgraduate qualification) in a relevant subject such as biomedical engineering, biomedical science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or physics.

If you plan to work in the NHS, you’ll need to apply for the NHS scientific training programme. This is a three-year work-based learning scheme that leads to a masters. Having completed the programme you can apply for registration with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC), and, once registered, you can apply for relevant roles in the NHS.

Outside the NHS, postgraduate qualifications can be beneficial (particularly for non-engineering graduates), and may be necessary for some posts.

Competition for jobs in this field is tough so work experience will help you in your applications and interviews. Some employers offer final-year project work, degree sponsorship, internships and industrial placements, which can provide insights into biomedical work.

Research work, voluntary work for charities such as Remap, hospital placements and laboratory experience can also be useful.

Key skills for biomedical engineers

Employers will be looking for:

  • experience using computer modelling software
  • attention to detail
  • problem-solving skills and a solution-focused mindset
  • the creative and technical ability to turn designs into products
  • interpersonal skills and the ability to empathise with patients
  • excellent communication skills
  • the ability to work as a part of a multidisciplinary team.

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