A significant number of Biomedical Engineering students take the premedical path or apply to medical school. The following information is based on data the Association of American Medical Colleges has provided to me. In 2007 57% of the BME graduates applying to medical school were accepted. As a result 444 applicants with BME degrees were rejected. Biomedical Engineering graduates made up approximately 2.4% of the 42315 applicants. The statistics do not make a distinction whether these were B.S. , M.S. or Ph.D. applicants. However anyone interested in this route should read Recent Trends in Medical School Acceptance rates for Biomedical Engineers.
The overall average acceptance rate for all applicants applying to medical school was 44.6% in 2007. Although the overall rate is lower than the BME statistic the available jobs in the other degree fields are much more plentiful and typically easier to get in at the entry level position if the applicant fails to get into medical school. The rejected applicants with a business, or traditional engineering degree and a pre-med background would seem to have an entry level hiring advantage in a biology, chemistry or healthcare related business given the “Century of Biology” that genomic research and the biotechnology industry is driving.
As can be seen there were 444 graduates with Biomedical Engineering degrees looking for a fall back position. Their options will be to apply again, go on to graduate school or get a job in industry. If you compare the rejection number to the Bureau of Labor statistics projections for BME jobs ( See Bureau of Labor Statistics Projections for New Biomedical Engineering Jobs ) it is pretty clear that there will be more applicants than openings if they were to all choose to apply to industry and that does not count the B.S. , M.S. and Ph.D. Biomedical Engineers that were not pre-med also applying to the health care industry. See Number of Biomedical Engineering Graduates in 2006 and The Number of Biomedical Engineers Graduating into Job Market in 2007
The rejected applicants ability to get a job in industry will depend upon how well and to what depth their Biomedical Engineering degrees ( premed track ) have prepared them for the current needs of the medical product or health care delivery industries. Those individuals that do not have any depth in a current area of interest to industry ( bioreactors, pharmaceutical manufacturing, prosthetics, etc.) will find it very difficult to find a position. Those applying to graduate school may also be stymied with a lack of depth in any particular area. See the Biomedical Industry Feedback link below for additional information from medical product industry professionals.
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to the officers of the AAMC for considering the importance of sharing and releasing this data. I hope they continue to do so in the future.
Those seeking jobs in the healthcare industry should read Experience Can Help Get You That Biomedical Engineering Job and Biomedical Industry Feedback
More information on BME and medical school can be obtained here
Recent Trends in Medical School Acceptance rates for Biomedical Engineers