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The best biomedical engineering programs can be evaluated by researching the following five items: accreditation, industry partnerships, graduate-level programs, alumni graduation statistics, and faculty quality. A biomedical engineering program is offered at the university level and provides training in biology, engineering, and advanced math. Upon graduation, a biomedical engineer can find employment opportunities in universities, product development companies, and research laboratories.
Accredited biomedical engineering programs have been evaluated by an independent agency, authorized by the government. This agency is responsible for reviewing the quality of academic programs and administrative policies to ensure that they meet a minimum standard. Professional associations, such as the National Society for Professional Engineers (NSPE), only accept courses completed at an accredited school in their academic evaluation process. The NSPE is responsible for the certification of engineers as professional engineers (P.Eng). This designation is a requirement for most employment opportunities in engineering.
Many biomedical engineering programs have close connections to the biomedical engineering industry. These relationships result in guest speakers, industry-sponsored events or showcases, opportunities for work terms, and prestigious appointments. Connections to industry help the school ensure the course content is relevant, accurate, and has application in real life.
A graduate-level program can range from a master's or Ph.D. degree to post-graduate specialized certificates. The best biomedical engineering programs offer a range of post-graduate education opportunities. These types of programs attract a higher caliber of instructor, provide up-to-date course content, and indicate an understanding of the important skills in the current market.
Every post-secondary school maintains statistics on graduate employment rates. This information is collected at three-, six-, and 12-month intervals and provides insight into the impact of the education program. The level of detail varies, but typically includes current job title, starting salary, full time or part time, type of industry, and if the job is training related. The best biomedical engineering programs will have a high alumni employment rate within the industry.
When selecting a biomedical engineering program, take the time to review the credentials of the faculty or teaching staff. While the program director may have an impressive resume, the average student will never meet someone at this level. The actual course instructors should be experts in their respective fields and have relevant industry experience.
At the university level, the instructors should all be published, with articles in scientific and engineering journals. Read a few of these articles to learn more about the instructor’s area of specialization and interest. Avoid any school that is unwilling to discuss the background and qualifications of its teaching staff.
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