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Biomedical Technician vs. Engineer: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Biomedical technicians and engineers are both professionals who work in the medical field. They may have similar job duties, but there are several key differences between these two positions. In this article, we compare and contrast biomedical technicians and engineers, and we provide information on what you can expect from each career.

What is a Biomedical Technician?

Biomedical Technicians work in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities to maintain and repair biomedical equipment. This can include X-ray machines, dialysis machines, pacemakers and other electronic devices. They use a variety of tools to test equipment and make sure it’s functioning properly. When devices break down, Biomedical Technicians troubleshoot the issue and make the necessary repairs. They also keep detailed records of all maintenance and repair work. Some Biomedical Technicians may specialize in a particular type of equipment or medical facility.

What is an Engineer?

Engineers are responsible for designing, constructing, supervising, operating and maintaining large systems or projects. They use their technical and scientific knowledge to find solutions to problems in the areas of transportation, energy, manufacturing, construction and more. Engineers typically specialize in a specific field, such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering or electrical engineering. They use various tools and software programs to design and test their products or systems. Engineers typically work in office settings, but they may also travel to worksites to oversee the construction or installation of their projects.

Biomedical Technician vs. Engineer

Here are the main differences between a biomedical technician and an engineer.

Job Duties

Biomedical technicians and engineers perform very different tasks, although both professions work to improve life for people. Biomedical technicians help doctors and medical professionals diagnose and treat patients by performing lab tests and analyzing data. Their job duties include maintaining equipment, taking patient histories and recording information about symptoms. Engineers design solutions to address problems in society, like traffic congestion or limited resources. They may work on projects like transportation systems, power grids or manufacturing facilities.

Job Requirements

Biomedical technicians typically need an associate degree in biomedical engineering technology to enter the field. However, some employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Biomedical engineers usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, although many pursue a master’s degree or doctorate as well. Some colleges and universities offer joint programs that allow students to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years.

Work Environment

Biomedical technicians typically work in hospitals, doctor’s offices and other healthcare facilities. They may also work for private companies that provide services to healthcare facilities or perform laboratory testing for pharmaceutical companies. Biomedical technicians usually work full time during regular business hours, but they may occasionally work overtime or on weekends.

Engineering jobs can be found in a variety of settings, including manufacturing, construction, transportation and aerospace industries. Some engineers work for the federal government or state governments as well. Most engineering positions require long working hours and overtime, especially when projects are nearing deadlines.


Both biomedical technicians and engineers use problem-solving skills in their jobs. For biomedical technicians, they typically troubleshoot issues with medical equipment and devices. For biomedical engineers, they often design products that solve a problem or address a need facing individuals, families and business owners.

A biomedical technician needs technical skills to perform their job, including circuit design, advanced mathematics, linear systems and analysis and electrical schematics. A biomedical engineer also needs technical knowledge, but they need to know more basic electrical information about how systems work. Both of these professionals need to have the ability to follow safety protocols because they are often working with dangerous materials.

While a biomedical engineer uses communication skills when they are creating reports of their research, corresponding with other engineers and colleagues and developing blueprints for their products, they are not necessarily going to be interacting with customers directly. A biomedical technician is going to need interpersonal skills because they will most likely be interacting with people on a daily basis while they assist customers with solving issues with their medical equipment.


Biomedical technicians earn an average salary of $61,084 per year, while engineers earn an average salary of $89,577 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the type of work you do, your level of experience and the location of your job.


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