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Biological Engineering Major

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Biological Engineering

311 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
35 Master's Degrees Annually
#232 in Popularity
$99,410 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Biological Engineering Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many biological engineering graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 311
Master’s Degree 35
Doctor’s Degree 27
Graduate Certificate 1

What Biological Engineering Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to biological engineering were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Biological Engineering Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Skills for Biological Engineering Majors

A major in biological engineering prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Abilities for Biological Engineering Majors

As a biological engineering major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a Biological Engineering Major?

People with a biological engineering degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers 5.5% $140,760
Biochemical Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Biofuels/Biodiesel Technology and Product Development Managers 5.5% $140,760
Biomedical Engineers 7.0% $88,550
Engineering Professors 14.7% $101,720

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Engineering?

311 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
44% Percent Women
22% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 311 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering in 2019, making it rank #232 in popularity. This major attracts more men than women. About 56% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of biological engineering majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Biological Engineering Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 22
Black or African American 13
Hispanic or Latino 19
White 230
International Students 10
Other Races/Ethnicities 17

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Biological Engineering, too. About 3.2% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Iran
  • Saudi Arabia

How Much Do Biological Engineering Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of biological engineering students with a bachelor’s degree is $45,500 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $43,200 (25th percentile) and $46,950 (75th percentile).

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Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a biological engineering degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Biological Engineering majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $95,090 to $113,680 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Biological Engineering Major  ( 95090 to 113680 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with biological engineering require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to biological engineering have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 0.3%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 1.8%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 1.8%
Bachelor’s Degree 50.4%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 3.7%
Master’s Degree 24.5%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 1.9%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.7%
Doctoral Degree 11.5%
Post-Doctoral Training 3.6%

Online Biological Engineering Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 16 schools offered some type of biological engineering program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 1 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 0 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 0 0
Bachelor’s Degree 1 0
Post-Baccalaureate 1 0
Master’s Degree 7 1
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 10 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Biological Engineering Worth It?

The median salary for a biological engineering grad is $99,410 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 149% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,190,200 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to biological engineering.

Major Number of Grads
Mechanical Engineering 47,405
Electrical Engineering 31,384
Civil Engineering 21,938
Computer Engineering 15,891
Chemical Engineering 14,406
Biomedical Engineering 12,001
General Engineering 11,739
Industrial Engineering 9,410
Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering 7,069
Materials Engineering 3,538
Systems Engineering 3,491
Other Engineering 2,982
Environmental Engineering 2,850
Petroleum Engineering 2,269
Operations Research 1,745
Agricultural Engineering 1,554
Engineering Science 1,515
Architectural Engineering 1,019
Nuclear Engineering 1,014
Engineering Physics 979
Robotics Engineering 943
Manufacturing Engineering 932
Construction Engineering 865
Marine Engineering 481
Geoscience Engineering 424
Polymer & Plastics Engineering 387
Textile Engineering 366
Ocean Engineering 346
Mining Engineering 340
Engineering Mechanics 314
Metallurgical Engineering 235
Biochemical Engineering 118
Ceramic Engineering 101
Surveying Engineering 89
Electromechanical Engineering 65
Forest Engineering 52
Paper Science & Engineering 44
Engineering Chemistry 9

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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