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Education

Can Biomedical Engineers Become Doctors

By David Krug 4 minute read

Health-related occupations are always in demand. Medical students, on the other hand, are spoilt for choice among the various professions available, there are doctors, nurses, technicians, and even biomedical engineers.

Weigh all of the benefits and drawbacks of both a biomedical engineering degree as well as a regular medical degree before deciding which one to pursue. 

Even if becoming a doctor has its perks, such as higher pay and better employment prospects than the norm, there are also a number of advantages to pursuing a degree in biomedical engineering rather than medical school.

Earlier Employment Initiation

To put it simply, biomedical engineering degrees need a longer time commitment than medical degrees. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a biomedical engineer just needs a bachelor’s degree to get started in the field (BLS). 

While a doctorate degree may be required to rise to managerial roles in research teams, there are undoubtedly professions in the area that you may perform without returning to school.

After high school, students can become biomedical engineers if they finish their degrees on time, or even if they extend their studies to include a co-op or internship. 

Starting a career is free for students who have completed their undergraduate degree requirements.

A medical degree, on the other hand, shows you’re prepared to put in the time and effort necessary to complete your studies. At least four years of study are required to complete your bachelor’s degree. 

Your contemporaries in biomedical engineering are already in their first entry-level positions, while you are still completing your Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree.

In the classroom, you’ll learn for two years, followed by two years of clinical rotations in which you’ll practice. Before you can be considered an established physician, you must complete three to seven years of residency training after receiving your medical degree.

It is extremely difficult to get into medical school, and it is not uncommon for students to spend upwards of $30,000 simply on the application price.

The New York Times reported in 2018 that medical students on average owe $190,000 in student loans. 

There is, of course, a trade-off in terms of time. Medical school students have to postpone other life events and milestones, such as purchasing a home, getting married, and starting a family, in order to focus on their education.

With a typical entry-level salary of $62,459, biomedical engineering students are already making real money throughout their four years of medical school, while their contemporaries in the medical field are still in school.

Possibility to Aid More People Globally

Despite the fact that both doctors and biomedical engineers serve patients, their methods are very different. A doctor makes a difference in the lives of the people he or she treats and cares about.

A doctor’s influence on a patient’s well-being may be profound. They can save their lives, or cure their chronic or painful conditions that affect their quality of life. 

However, the effect of most doctors will be confined to the people they directly engage with, such as their own patients and maybe other healthcare professionals.

One doctor seldom makes a medical discovery that will benefit the whole human race unless he or she is also a medical researcher of some type.

The reverse is true for biomedical engineers. Biomedical engineers, on the other hand, focus on the design and development of medical equipment used to diagnose and treat patients’ medical ailments.

It is possible that a biomedical engineer will not be able to personally experience the pleasant pleasure of witnessing how much their ideas enhance the lives of specific patients. 

But their equipment and techniques can be mass manufactured and used on a far bigger population of patients than a single doctor or even one practice would treat.

It was noted by the BLS that a biomedical engineer may create anything from a diagnostic gadget to an artificial organ.

Without the Pressure of Direct Patient Care

While patient engagement is often cited as the most rewarding component of a doctor’s profession, it may also be one of the most stressful aspects of working in medicine. 

In addition to the patients, there are additional aspects associated with direct patient care that might contribute to physician burnout.

Due to the fact that patients get ill or wounded at all hours of the night, a great number of physicians are required to work long hours and adhere to demanding unpredictable schedules. 

The BLS found that just 20% of biomedical engineers work in excess of 40 hours each week. In addition, administrative duties consume a considerable amount of time, effort, and money for modern physicians.

Biomedical engineers who primarily work in businesses such as medical equipment production and scientific research do not have to deal with insurance paperwork and billing codes.

Students having a background in biomedical engineering can pursue a career as physicians. In reality, several universities offer a premedical biomedical engineering major different from a general biomedical engineering degree with a greater emphasis on disciplines like biology and chemistry.

David Krug

Author