What do I have to major in, in college in order to become a Biochemical Engineer if the college doesn’t have a specific Biochemical Engineering major?
I’m a senior in highschool, looking at colleges to apply to and I’m really interested in biochemical engineering
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1) Identify a college that does offer a Biomedical Engineering degree and request or download the list of required courses.
2) Use the above list to select classes at your local college. Some classes (like calculus, chemistry and physics) are frequently offered in different versions (like Technical Physics, General Physics, and Calc-based Physics) so ask your college advisor to assist you. For any class not offered by the local college college, you will have to decide if it is critical to the industry. If so then you will have to decide a work-around.
3) You can also contact the college with the Biomedical Engineering degree, tell them you are considering attending, and ask them for a list of classes at your local college that they will accept. Depending on the college, they will accept few to many. All Biomedical Engineering degrees do not require (or accept) the same classes.
4) You will need to select a specific graduation degree from your local college and, as per your question, it will not be Biomedical Engineering. This COULD make a difference when job hunting as the staff at some companies (or automated resume scanners) may reject your application if they feel your degree does not match their requirements. However many companies are more open-minded and are looking for "the best qualified individual" rather than simply matching a degree title.
5) I suspect every college has an advisement office. Explain your intentions and ask for their guidance. Ask for a different advisor if necessary.
This is a great question! Biochemical engineering is such an interesting field to go into, yet I always recommend students to think about exactly what they are looking for in their engineering degree, and to be careful about specializing too soon. Some engineering degrees are more generic than others, or have more flexibility than others, therefore is important to give yourself the best shot to get a job in the field that you want, not just have a degree with the major you thought you wanted.
Example, some people go to undergrad for Petroleum engineering. This means their job seeking is going to be very limited to one industry, or they will have to argue they still know the same as other more general fields, in order to be consider for jobs outside the oil & gas industry, yet a Mechanical Engineering major might be able to take the job of a Petroleum Engineer since companies often have programs to certify all their engineers as petroleum engineers within their first year working, while also applying for manufacturing, aerospace, and other kinds of jobs.
My advice would be to think about why you want to do biochemical engineering. Are you interested in developing new drugs to help treat or prevent desease? Develop new kinds of fuels to replace gas and diesel? Do research in a lab with animals and plants? Depending on your answer you might find more general degrees like manufacturing engineering, chemical engineering, or even chemistry, biology, or other fields that might be a better match or be more widely available than biochemical engineering, but that would still land you the kind of work you seek. Finally, you might also want to look into masters degrees in biochemical engineering, I think you'll find more variety there are this would be a great field for specialization.
Hope this helps! Best of luck!