National Graduation Rates for Biomedical Engineers in 2008 vs. Job Projections

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The following table was created from degree completion data available at the NCES website. The graduating statistics are important to know because there has been a consistent issue described by B.S. BME graduates seeking industry jobs in their field. It’s very difficult to get one with a baccalaureate degree. The number of graduates holding that degree in 2008 hold a clue to the problem. The baccalaureate numbers are troublesome for the graduate because the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections for new and replacement BME jobs 2008-2018 is approximately 1500 per year.

On the supply side the B.S. BME graduate numbers do not reflect how many graduates had been accepted to graduate school and medical school after graduation. For example, I received a personal communication from the AAMC  (American Association of Medical Colleges) reporting 573 BME graduates were accepted into medical school in 2006. The graduate school enrollment numbers may also impact the number of B.S. graduates looking for work considerably because a significant number of graduates could be enrolling into M.S. programs if the number of M.S. graduates reported in 2008 is any guide. Unfortunately those M.S. and Ph.D. BME graduates would also be competing for the the BME jobs counted and projected by the BLS. Additional research and analysis will be needed to get a better estimate of the number of BME graduates actually looking for work outside the academic and medical fields. It is interesting to note that females make up approximately 39% of the graduates. This is a percentage which traditional engineering programs can not match.

The Number of Biomedical Engineers Graduating in 2008

Male Female Total
B.S. 2043 1317 3360

M.S. 728 528 1256
Ph.D. 345 200 545
Total 3116 2045 5161


National Statistics on the Number of Biomedical Engineers Graduating in 2009 vs. Job Projections

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2 thoughts on “National Graduation Rates for Biomedical Engineers in 2008 vs. Job Projections

  1. How many of them received jobs? I am a freshman at Haskell Indian Nations University with a current major in Bioengineering, but my fear is that i will not be able to find a job after graduation.

    1. Tatiana,

      Here are some links to articles on this website. You can also search the blog using “B.S. Biomedical” and get a large number of articles on the subject of what a corporate engineering manager is looking for in a new hire.

      The B.S. Biomedical Engineer’s Job Dilemma

      An Entry Level Engineer Should Know More Than Theory

      How Too Many Biomedical Engineering Programs Undercut Their B.S graduate’s Corporate Career Prospects

      You are actually pretty lucky because the Bureau of Labor Statistics has dramatically increased its outlook for Biomedical Engineering jobs recently. However the job market is still very competitive because you are not only competing with other BME’s but also with EE’s, ME’s, ChemE’s and CIS graduates with specializations in Biomedical Engineering. Why? The only development and manufacturing jobs that have increased significantly in recent years have been biotechnology jobs.

      Basically you can improve your chances of being hired as a B.S. Biomedical Engineer by getting as much co-op or internship experience as you can, and/ or getting a better than the typical background in a traditional engineering field such as electrical, mechanical, or chemical engineering that you get in a B.S. Biomedical Engineering curriculum. Experience in manufacturing in any type of industry as a manufacturing clerk, assembler, tester, etc. is also very helpful because it demonstrates that you are grounded in the realities of the environment that new products must be made. Biopharmaceuticals are very big right now so just enough chemical engineering background in the theory and practice of bioreactors would probably get a biotech hiring manager’s attention.

      Thanks for commenting,

      Joaquin Mayoral

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