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as someone interested in entering the biotech industry. Would it be smarter to get a general engineering degree or a biomedical engineering degree?

From what I understand Biomedical engineering degrees can become very limiting, especially when there are fewer jobs available in the biomedical industry and landscape. So, would it be smarter to start of a little more broad with a traditional engineering degree (i.e. mechanical, electrical, chemical). engineering future Bio biomedical

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Brendon’s Answer

Jishnav,

Yes, it would be smarter to stay more general. As someone in the biotech industry with a 'general engineering degree' (mechanical), I would highly recommend that you also choose mechanical. If you choose biomedical, you will limit the options available to you. With mechanical, it is so broad that you can end up getting involved in all kinds of fields.

For instance, it is possible that one day you identify a city you want to move to, find a mechanical engineering job there temporarily, and then switch to biomedical. This will be much more difficult to do if you directly major in biomedical.

Additionally, I can tell you that many of the things in biotech are mechanically oriented (think of any medical device tool), so if you have the mechanical understanding then you will be in a good position.

Best of luck!

Thank you so much for the insight! Jishnav K.

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Yijing (Jenna)’s Answer

I would say that it is probably better to get a biomedical engineering degree if you have determined that you will want o work in a biotech company in health care/pharmaceutical/medical device industry. You will need to take the general engineering classes as the foundation and additionally more Biology, Chemistry, Medical/Health care related classes. It requires more hard work, but you will be much better prepared.

If you haven't really decide which industry or just want to be flexible, you may get the general engineering degree and take a few additional Biology and Chemistry related classed to prepare yourself for additional challenges.
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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi Jishnav!

I work for a med-tech company in R&D. Really I think both are beneficial, but it depends on what you're interested in. Biomedical engineering is a good career path, and I know plenty of peers who have a B.S. in it. Sometimes they have to catch up on some topics though, such as mechanical properties or design and modeling.

It is a great path if you are interested in wet labs, such as tissue testing or wanting to specialize in working with the body/organic materials. I have also heard it really looks into the micro level or cells and such.

I took the path of Mechanical Engineering with a focus on medical applications myself and have felt it was the right choice. There are aspects on the micro level that I am missing, but overall for me the M.E. degree gave me freedom to choose a focus and specialize once I found where I wanted to go.
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Eulises’s Answer

I would recommend to you that you finish your degree in BioEngineering if that is your passion at this time. The skills that you learn are applicable in any engineering field. I don’t see any particular engineering field better or worse than any other. They all overlap each other in some way. Of course, you will always need practical experience to supplement your studies in order to fully apply yourself in any technical field. Cheers!
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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi Jishnav!

I work for a med-tech company in R&D. Really I think both are beneficial, but it depends on what you're interested in. Biomedical engineering is a good career path, and I know plenty of peers who have a B.S. in it. Sometimes they have to catch up on some topics though, such as mechanical properties or design and modeling.

It is a great path if you are interested in wet labs, such as tissue testing or wanting to specialize in working with the body/organic materials. I have also heard it really looks into the micro level or cells and such.

I took the path of Mechanical Engineering with a focus on medical applications myself and have felt it was the right choice. There are aspects on the micro level that I am missing, but overall for me the M.E. degree gave me freedom to choose a focus and specialize once I found where I wanted to go.

That is some great insight, thank you! Jishnav K.

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Alycia’s Answer

Hey Jishnav!
This is an interesting question; I've actually heard the opposite. It's better to go into a major that is more specialized-- but that's only if you want to pursue a career in said major of course. Additionally, as a biomedical engineering major, you are taking the same math courses as a traditional engineer. The main difference is that you will be required to either take the biology-version of that math course (for example you would take biostatistics instead of regular statistics) and a majority of your electives will be in human biology/medicine. Although I am not an engineering major, I think taking on a biomedical engineering degree is a wonderful idea! I have a friend who is a biomedical engineering major on the route to medical school-- this major isn't career-limiting in the slightest!

Good luck!


Appreciate the help :) Jishnav K.

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S.’s Answer

If you are interested in the science, chemistry, math, or microbiological aspects of the biotech field, a biochemistry major is a very flexible undergraduate or graduate degree. You can work on doing protein science, agricultural science, drug development, genetic engineering, drug manufacturing, clinical trials, or go for a career in academics as a researcher. There are a wide range of jobs to choose from (at different-sized companies) and a flexible career path. And the job market seems healthy with high salaries right out of school.

S. recommends the following next steps:

Contact the biochemistry departments of universities you are interested in attending and figure out what kinds of projects they work on
Check out job listings in your area with experience in biochemistry and figure out what level of education and experience you would need
See if any companies in your area offer internships in the field

Appreciate the help Jishnav K.

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Shamara’s Answer

Hi Jishnav,

I would agree with the answers provided here. It all depends on what you're interested in pursuing, not just as a major, but also as a career path. I work in the Biotech industry, and we have employees with various engineering backgrounds, ranging from Agricultural to Industrial. I My advice would be to take a few general engineering classes and if possible, some lower level field-specific classes to find out what you would be interested in pursuing in the long run. Either way, as an engineer, you could work on becoming an SME (Subject Matter Expert) in the area of your choosing. I don't believe that there is a "wrong" decision to be made here, but it's more of a question of what would be in alignment with your long-term career goals!

Good luck!
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