How to eventually end up in biomedical engineering

Hi! I have three questions.
I'll be attending Virginia Tech next fall and I'm entering as a general engineering student. I want to eventually end up in biomedical engineering but I don't know which branch of engineering to get my BS in. I was reading about chemical engineering and the course work is extremely intimidating. Is chemical really as bad as I'm reading? I'm starting to second guess my decision.
Second, is biomedical engineering related to animals in any way? I talked to a researcher at John's Hopkins and he told me that the biomed team just developed a new medicine for dogs and I was wondering if that was common?
Finally, genetic engineering is another option I have, but I don't want to spend 10+ years in college. Is there any way I could still be a genetic engineer without a doctorate?
I know this is a lot, but i appreciate your help!
posted by Michelle, Organization/City on November 11, 2012

Answer by Dr. Corinna Lathan

Don't worry about labels! In general, it doesn't matter what your undergraduate engineering degree is called. I would go with whichever major has the best most interesting professors and volunteer to work in their lab! It is very likely you will need to get at least a master's degree for any of the areas you mentioned. That's the time that you may want to get a more focused degree -e.g. genetic engineering. But frankly, employers (like myself) don't care what your degree is in. I want to know what courses you took, what projects you worked on, and what your references say about you! Good luck!!