At IBM, we were required to wear a shirt and tie at all times, and any customer-facing roles required a suit as well. At Bell Labs, most engineers and scientists didn't much care and wore what they wanted. But my mentor at the time I started took me aside and said, "Look, folks here can wear what they want, but if you look at those that get promoted, you won't see anyone wearing jeans or tee shirts. Conclude from that what you wish." Now in a biomedical role, there are folks who do desk work, designs, programming, theorizing, etc., and they'll generally wear normal office gear. But if you're in a lab setting, you'll likely be wearing appropriate attire, often a lab coat. So in essence, a biomedical engineer will wear what other biomedical engineers wear in whatever activity they're engaged in. In my case, as a computer engineer, I spent part of my time giving lectures and presentations and wore a suit and tie. In long lab sessions that sometimes stretched for two solid days, I was not about to spend it in a suit and tie, for sure. Bottom line is, don't worry about it.
It really depends on the position you hold, the work you will be doing and the requirement of the department. In recent years, as a profession, we have been trying to get out of the basement or maintenance mentality and are becoming more respected by hospital management in general. I've worked mostly in rural locations on the East coast from VA to Northern NY as a single shop technician. I chose to dress with a shirt and tie (ensuring to secure the tie if I was in a situation where this would become a hazard) due to frequent interactions with hospital administrators. I also served in larger hospitals in Philadelphia, PA and Fargo, ND in supervisory/manager roles where it became required to wear a suit and tie on regular occassions for meetings.
The dress code depends on the lab or company you work for. If you work in a clinical setting with cells, for example, you often need to wear lab coats to promote a sterile work environment. You also will need to wear closed-toe shoes, long pants, and ensure that your skin is covered to prevent injury to yourself.
If you work in a more calculations-based lab, you might spend your days mostly on the computer and be able to wear whatever you like. Again, the dress code varies from lab to lab, company to company, and is dependent upon workplace culture and the sterile needs of the experiments you are involved in.
Hello Emilie: I agree with the previous response and would like to provide you with a site to research on biomedical engineers dress code that you may find helpful.
Research Engineering Management Institute.org
Best of Luck to You!
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