There are many benefits to starting a career in biomedical engineering. There are few other fields that allow you to have such a positive impact on so many people's lives, and it can be a very lucrative career. There are three schools in Virginia that have biomedical engineering programs, all of which have Bachelor's degree programs and Master's degree programs. The average cost of tuition in Virginia is $9,700 per year, since all three Virginia schools are public colleges. The average class in Virginia has 17 students, which is a good balance between the camaraderie of a small class and the discussion opportunities of a large class.
Now that you know what a biomedical engineering degree can do for you, you can plan on spending four years in school to earn a Bachelor's degree in the field. By the time you graduate, you need to complete 120 credits in engineering and general education courses.
Your school's curriculum will cover everything from basic human biology to highly specialized functions of biomedical engineering. Some of the courses you may have to take include Biomedical Design, Biosystems Simulation & Control, Bioimaging & Biosensing, and Biotechnology.
In order to get the most from your education, you will definitely need practical experience. You can get some experience in lab courses, which give you the freedom to work with different engineering materials. You may also want to complete an internship at a nearby medical school or hospital.
Many schools require you to complete a research component in your biomedical engineering program. For example, at Virginia Commonwealth University, you can conduct research in fields like bioacoustics, rehabilitation technology, and speech recognition.
Tuition rates at the two main schools in Virginia are very similar. For many students, it comes down to what financial aid is available. The Virginia Commonwealth University is considerably less expensive than the University of Virginia. Residents can expect to pay $4,087 per semester at Virginia Commonwealth University, and non-residents must pay $11,063 per semester. At the University of Virginia, tuition is $5,008 per semester for residents and $18,360 per semester for non-residents.
In Virginia, there are a variety of engineering scholarships you can apply for. Apply early and often to get as much money as possible. The Virginia Department of Transportation funds the Engineer Scholar Program, which gives you tuition money and work experience. You can also apply for the Gloria Wille Bell & Carlos R. Bell Scholarship, which is worth up to $80,000 for Virginia students.
Before you can get an engineering job and start your biomedical engineering career in Virginia, you have to get your license from the Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects. Submit your completed application with a $75 application fee. Then you can take the Principles & Practice of Engineering exam. If you pass this exam, you can get your engineering license.
Education is the cornerstone of biomedical engineering, so don't neglect your education once you start your career! Consider joining a local group like the Virginia Society of Healthcare Engineers. Membership allows you to attend ongoing education events, work on your professional development, and network with other engineers.