Clinical – Career Development Path

The objective of this path is to prepare MS, PhD, and MD-PhD BME graduate students for careers in the clinic. This encompasses many positions in hospitals, health care systems, government agencies, contract research organizations, and a wide variety of companies (medical device, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, etc.). While clinically-focused positions require unique expertise, capabilities, and training, these jobs often utilize many engineering principles and can be filled by BMEs. Students in this path will learn about the wide variety of possible career paths, as well as useful skills, networking opportunities, and placement resources available through the Weldon School to become competitive for a position in a clinical environment

Career Development (understanding career options, self-reflections, making use of Individual Development Plans (IDP), networking and job search skills

  • Participate in interactive information sessions with current and former individuals with clinical experience
    Possible positions include: clinical research specialist, clinical device specialist, sales rep, clinical operations, strategic marketing (understanding unmet clinical needs), medical writers, medical science liaisons, medical directors, product managers, R&D engineer, clinical affairs, regulatory affairs, clinical education (physician assessment and clinical education – PACE), and medical line professorships funded by research grants (often supplemented with clinical practice for MDs).
  • Understand the teaching load differences between academic medical centers and universities, as well as career progression. PhDs often start as postdoctoral research fellows within hospitals and medical schools. They are then promoted to instructors before becoming assistant professors, associate professors, and full professors. Promotion typically does not occur at a specific time, rather when publication and funding warrant it
  • Complete an initial individual strengths and interests assessment
  • Consider participating in a clinical immersion opportunity or job shadowing clinical researchers
  • Establish an Individual Development Plan (IDP) – based on strengths, skills, and interest assessments

Professional Development Skills (teambuilding, time management, oral and written communication, networking, leadership training, and cognitive assessment of leadership, conflict and negotiation skills

  • Knowledge of clinical settings and research will be key to students interested in this career path. We will cover skill development topics that improve each student’s familiarity with medical ethics, hospital protocols, operating room etiquette, FDA approval strategies [510(k) vs. PMA], clinical trial phases, and CE Mark approval in Europe.
  • Enroll in at least one of the three courses in the regulatory science series through BME and/or at least one course for improving communication, leadership and/or negotiation skills.
  • Develop skills in the statistical analysis of big data such as those from large-scale clinical trials.
  • Complete at least one CLA course and regularly read clinical trial literature. (required)
  • Undertake research or course work to gain hands-on experience of medical device use in animal models of human disease.
  • Establish and maintain LinkedIn profile and other social media profiles pertinent to an industry career
  • Participate in a clinical internship to facilitate skills development such as:
  • Observe surgeries
  • Interact with clinician and medical staff in a hospital setting
  • Speak with patients undergoing treatments and procedures
  • Talk with medical device industry experts about approval processes
  • Perform research that involves clinical data

Experiential Learning (brief intensive experiences with partners either inside or outside of the University.  Seminar Series, Entrepreneurial workshops)

  • In collaboration with IU Health colleagues, Weldon alumni, and IUPUI faculty, we will provide an opportunity for graduate students to interact with physicians, researchers, nurses, federal employees, and industry representatives that can provide insight into the role BMEs can play in a clinical setting. This will occur with visits to medical centers in Lafayette and Indianapolis, alumni events where students can interact with a variety of professionals in clinically-related roles, and professional development trips to cities across the US that have large academic hospitals.
  • Utilize opportunities for professional development by participating in events planned by Grad Programs staff to visit various companies, research laboratories, and to hear guest presenters brought in for workshops


  • Look for a clinician or doctor to serve on your plan of study/thesis committee
  • Connect with alumni and distinguished guests at Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering for mentors into fields you are interested in.

Placement Assistance

  • Consult with faculty mentors to identify top-level research labs for potential post-doc position
  • Consult with faculty mentors and the Graduate Programs Office for review of CV
  • Utilize the placement services of national societies through their conferences and online searching
  • Continue to consult faculty advisor and mentors (even after securing post-doc) to assist with securing a faculty placement at the most appropriate institution for you

Career Resources