If you want to work in health care and engineering, there's a career for you: biomedical engineering. This field gives you the chance to apply engineering skills to the problems posed by the human body. There are five schools in Illinois that offer this degree, many of which are clustered in or near Chicago. All five schools have Bachelor's and Master's degree programs. The average cost of tuition in Illinois is $21,800 per year, but there are several public colleges that are less expensive. Illinois boasts an average class size of just 14 students, which is perfect for one-on-one discussion.
This field requires a great deal of knowledge and expertise, so you have to set aside at least four years to get a degree. You'll need a Bachelor's degree to become a licensed engineer. Over the course of your time in school, you will be expected to complete 120 credits in engineering and general education courses.
While some of your time will be spent completing general education courses, most of your time is likely going to be spent on engineering courses. Your curriculum may include engineering courses, biology courses, and classes that blend the two. Some of the courses you may take include Medical Imaging, Biomedical Image Processing, Thermodynamics, and Biomechanics.
In addition to courses that improve your knowledge and theoretical understanding of biomedical engineering, you will have to complete a number of lab courses. Lab courses start out by teaching you how different materials work, while higher-level lab courses give you experience in putting materials together.
Research is another essential part of biomedical engineering, and you may get to play a role in research at Northwestern University. The school's new dedicated biomedical research building offers plenty of opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.
Since there are quite a few engineering schools in Illinois, there are many different tuition rates. It's important to consider your options before deciding on a school, since tuition and financial aid determine how much you'll have to pay out-of-pocket. One of the inexpensive schools in the state is Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where tuition is $6,046 per semester for residents and $12,357 per semester for non-residents. Northwestern University is one of the most expensive schools in the state; tuition is $30,080 per semester for residents and non-residents.
No matter what school you attend, you can apply for scholarships and grants to help offset the cost of your education. The Illinois Society of Professional Engineers awards scholarships of $1000 every academic year. The Illinois Section of the ASCE also funds numerous scholarships.
After you graduate with your degree in biomedical engineering, you can apply for your license from the Illinoid Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. You must pay a $250 licensing fee to NCEES. You can then take the Professional Engineer exam, which is given twice each year. Once you pass the Professional Engineer exam, you can officially work as an engineer.
Since biomedical engineering is such a big field in Illinois, there are many groups you can join to further your career goals and learn about changes in the industry. Depending on where you live in the state, you can join the Healthcare Engineers Society of Northern Illinois, the Southern Illinois Chapter for Healthcare Engineering, or the Central Illinois Chapter of Healthcare Engineering.