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Medical Technologist vs. Biomedical Engineer: What Are the Differences?

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

Medical technologists and biomedical engineers are both professionals who work in the medical field. They both have a high level of education and are responsible for developing and maintaining medical equipment. However, there are several key differences between these two job titles. In this article, we will discuss the differences between medical technologists and biomedical engineers, and we will provide helpful tips for choosing a career in the medical field.

What is a Medical Technologist?

Medical Technologists are responsible for performing a variety of tests on patient samples in order to diagnose and treat diseases. They work in hospitals, clinics and private laboratories and use sophisticated equipment to analyze blood, urine and tissue samples. Medical Technologists may specialize in a particular area, such as immunology or microbiology. They often work with doctors and other medical professionals to develop new testing methods and procedures. Medical Technologists typically have a bachelor’s degree in medical technology or a related field. Some states require Medical Technologists to be licensed.

What is a Biomedical Engineer?

Biomedical Engineers apply engineering principles and materials science to solve problems in biology and medicine. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, research laboratories and manufacturing companies. Biomedical Engineers design and create artificial organs, prosthetics, medical devices and diagnostic equipment. They also develop new treatments for diseases and injuries. Biomedical Engineers often work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as doctors, to ensure that their products are safe and effective.

Medical Technologist vs. Biomedical Engineer

Here are the main differences between a medical technologist and a biomedical engineer.

Job Duties

Although both medical technologists and biomedical engineers perform laboratory work, their duties differ. Medical technologists use various diagnostic tools to analyze bodily fluids and take patient samples. They then run these samples through machines and analyze the data to determine a course of treatment. In contrast, biomedical engineers develop devices that assist patients in recovering from illness or injury. These professionals often work with doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to design and build devices that improve patient care.

Job Requirements

Medical technologists typically need a bachelor’s degree in medical technology or a related field. Some employers may prefer candidates with a master’s degree, but it is not always required. Medical technologists must also be licensed in some states. To become licensed, they must pass the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification exam.

Biomedical engineers usually need at least a bachelor’s degree to enter the field. However, many biomedical engineering jobs require a master’s degree or higher. Biomedical engineers must also have strong skills in math and science. They should be able to use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create models and prototypes of their designs.

Work Environment

Medical technologists and biomedical engineers typically work in different environments. Medical technologists usually work in hospitals, clinics or physician offices. They may also work for pharmaceutical companies to test drugs before they’re released to the public. Biomedical engineers often work in research laboratories, universities or private companies that develop medical devices.

Both professions can work long hours depending on their employer’s needs. For example, a biomedical engineer who works at a hospital might have more regular working hours than one who works at a laboratory.


Both medical technologists and biomedical engineers use problem-solving skills in their jobs. Medical technologists use these skills to diagnose patients by analyzing samples, such as blood or tissue. Biomedical engineers use problem-solving skills to develop new products or find ways to improve existing medical devices.

Both medical technologists and biomedical engineers need technical skills. Medical technologists need to be able to operate complex laboratory equipment and understand concepts in biology and chemistry. Biomedical engineers need to have a strong understanding of engineering principles and be able to use computer-aided design software.

While both medical technologists and biomedical engineers need to be able to communicate their findings to colleagues and other professionals, biomedical engineers also need to be able to communicate their ideas for new products or improvements to existing products. They may need to give presentations or write reports to convince others to invest in their projects.


Medical technologists can earn an average salary of $75,796 per year, while biomedical engineers can earn an average salary of $85,903 per year. Both of these average salaries may vary depending on the size of the company at which you work, location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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