You can marry your interest in the medical field with your mechanical skills by pursuing a biomedical degree in Alabama. Starting a career in this field gives you the chance to improve people's lives by developing exciting new medical technology. There are two schools in Alabama with this degree—one in Auburn and one in Birmingham. Both of these schools award Bachelor's degrees and Master's degrees in biomedical engineering. The average cost of tuition is approximately $21,300 per year. An average class size of 18 students is small enough to allow for one-on-one professor interaction but large enough to accommodate spirited discussions in the classroom.
In order to be a successful biomedical engineer, you need to be thoroughly educated on the technology and materials of the trade. This starts with a Bachelor's degree, the minimum degree required for licensure. You can plan on spending four years in school as a full-time student, since you have to complete a minimum of 120 credits.
Your school's curriculum addresses many learning goals. By the time you graduate, you should be comfortable creating therapies that advance the treatment and diagnosis of different medical conditions. Some of your required courses may include Physiological Systems, Quantitative Physiology, Medical Imaging, and Biomaterials.
Since you may well work in the development part of biomedical engineering after you graduate, you may have to spend a lot of time working on actual projects in your engineering lab. As a new student, you may work more with individual materials and then work your way up to full-blown biomedical projects.
If you have the opportunity to collaborate on biomedical research, you should consider taking it. Research is a huge part of this field, and getting undergraduate experience can benefit you during your job search. At Auburn University, a team of five professors heads up the biomedical research department.
No matter which school you attend, you probably want to keep your educational costs down. After all, the less you take out in student loans, the less you have to pay back after graduation. Take a look at tuition rates around the state to make an informed choice. The University of Alabama—Birmingham is one of the most inexpensive schools in the state. Tuition is about $4,450 per semester for residents and $10,197 per semester for non-residents. Auburn University is more expensive. Tuition is $9,853 for residents and $26,934 for non-residents.
Alabama is home to many engineering companies and organizations that award substantial scholarships to dedicated students. The Engineering Council of Birmingham awards two $1,500 scholarships and one $1,000 scholarship each academic year. The American Council of Engineering Companies of Alabama also awards scholarships to students that earn high grades.
Prior to working for many government agencies, you must have your engineering license. You can get your license from the Alabama Engineers & Land Surveyors Board. Submit your application with a $50 check to cover your application fee. After you sit for and pass your Professional Engineer exam, you can officially call yourself an engineer!
In order to further your career, you may want to build on your education and professional development on a regular basis. Joining the Alabama Society of Professional Engineers allows you to attend exclusive educational courses, network with other engineers, and attend seminars. In addition, you can receive updates on laws that may affect your engineering career.