“I know that many people are motivated to go into computer engineering because they will earn high salaries, but in my opinion, it should be more about passion for the subject than a desire to make money.”Read the Full Interview
I’m interested in studying engineering. What can you tell me?Engineering is a branch of applied science that uses mathematics, science and technology to solve problems. Students in an engineering program are trained to understand the mechanics of buildings and machines so that they can design and build functional tools, systems and structures. Engineering is a broad discipline, so students usually choose to specialize in an engineering concentration. For instance, you can study astronautical engineering if you want to work with spacecraft. If you want to solve problems that affect the natural world, you can study environmental engineering. If you are intrigued by the mechanics of iconic structures like the Eiffel Tower or the Golden Gate Bridge, you can study civil engineering. Any engineering concentration will require you to take many science and mathematics classes, so you should be an analytical and logical thinker if you want to study this field. Engineers also innovate new products, so you must be able to think in unconventional ways too. You can study engineering at the undergraduate and graduate levels, but keep in mind that you generally need only a bachelors degree to become an engineer.
Let's hear some other perspectives
“An attentiveness to detail is the most important trait a student in an aerospace engineering program can possess. Since the aircraft and spacecraft that aerospace engineers design could fail with even minor flaws in their design or construction, students of aerospace engineering cannot afford to overlook small details.”Read the Full Interview
“Good engineering students have determination and tenacity. They should not believe the stereotypes presented by The Big Bang Theory on TV which characterize engineers as bumbling. In reality engineers take their work very seriously. ”Read the Full Interview
What exactly is an engineer?Engineers are professionals who apply the principles of science and mathematics to solve practical problems. Their work directly links scientific discoveries to real-world needs. For instance, civil engineers build bridges by applying their knowledge of physics, mechanics and mathematics to create a structure that is safe for the public to use when crossing a canyon or a body of water. However, civil engineering is just 1 of many concentrations that you can pursue if you are interested in engineering. Although the most common engineering concentrations are civil, mechanical and industrial, you can also work in areas like aerospace, electronics, computers, health care and agriculture.
Let's hear some other perspectives
“I most enjoy the sense of fulfillment I get from being a mechanical engineer. Looking back after completing a project and knowing that what has been built is a direct result of my design is a great feeling. I think that it is fascinating to see something go from a draft on a computer to a paper and then watch the equipment or the machinery build it from start to finish.”Read the Full Interview
“An engineer needs to be comfortable communicating with colleagues and customers in the field, especially if they want to advance in their career.”Read the Full Interview
“The thing I like most about my job is that it is not routine. I work on a variety of projects, and there is constant change. It is also very rewarding to see the projects I work on make a big difference in the bottom line of the business.”Read the Full Interview
How do I know if engineering would be a good fit for me?
Here is a quick quiz to help you decide if you have the personality it takes to succeed as an engineer. Rate, on a scale from 1 to 5, how well each of the following statements describes you.
I am curious about the way that machines work.
Engineers explore the basic components of structures, systems and machines to determine how to improve them. If you like to take apart or build machines, you may like engineering.
I enjoy completing hands-on tasks more than thinking about theories.
Engineers work directly with the projects that they design. If you would prefer to work in an office rather than in a laboratory or on a construction site, you may not enjoy engineering.
I like to solve problems and puzzles.
Engineers use mathematics and science to solve complex problems. If you are frustrated by complicated problems, engineering is not a good career choice for you.
I am comfortable working with numbers.
Engineers use advanced mathematics to plan and execute projects. You must be confident applying mathematical skills to solve problems if you want to be an engineer.
I can think in unconventional ways.
Engineers create new solutions and products that no one has considered before. A creative mind will help you to look at problems in new ways and devise innovative answers.
I pay close attention to detail.
Engineers must consider factors like budget, safety and design as they draft project blueprints. Small errors can derail an entire project, so you will struggle in engineering if you are not detail-oriented.
I work well in a group.
Most engineering projects require that many people work together to find a solution. If you dislike collaborating with your peers, you may not fit into an engineering department well.
I like to use technology in my daily life.
Engineers use computers to create and analyze designs and to simulate how a product will work. Engineering may be a good field for you if are interested in practical ways to use technology.
I am patient and I do not give up easily.
Few engineering problems are solved on the first attempt. If you want to work in engineering, you must be willing to learn from your mistakes and to try other solutions.
I communicate clearly and effectively.
Engineers communicate with other engineering professionals, manufacturers and the public. You must be able to write accurate specifications and speak plainly about technical matters.
*Note that this is not a scientific quiz. The result is simply my rough estimate of how well I believe your personality matches that of a successful engineer.
By my assessment, a career in engineering is probably not a good fit for your personality.
By my assessment, although a career in engineering may not be an ideal fit for your personality, if you are willing to adapt in a few areas, you can still find success in the field. Please see the list to the right for information on the areas that you may need to work on.
By my assessment, your personality is a good fit for a career in engineering. Scroll through our site to gain valuable insight into what it will take you to earn the necessary credentials.
Is there anything else I should consider in deciding if engineering is the right choice for me?
You can find an engineering job with just a bachelors degree, but keeping up with your education will require lifelong effort. Engineers must continually update their education since technology advances rapidly and you will not remain competitive as a job candidate if your knowledge and skills become outdated. You can earn continuing education credits by attending conferences and seminars, taking college courses or participating in on-site training programs. Many employers offer programs to help their engineers stay current in the field, but you can also pursue continuing education on your own.
What professions can I choose from?
Engineering is an extremely broad field that offers job opportunities in many specialized areas. Some common types of engineers are:
Bachelors (4 years)
$92,500 (Lowest 10% earned less than $58,100; highest 10% earned more than $134,500)
Research facilities, government agencies, corporate businesses
Aerospace engineers use principles of aerodynamics, thermodynamics and celestial mechanics to design, build and test aircraft. The main divisions of aerospace engineers are aeronautical engineers, who work with aircraft, or astronautical engineers, who work with spacecraft. Many aerospace engineers specialize in a particular type of aircraft like commercial planes, military jets, missile defense systems or rockets.
Bachelors (4 years)
$84,700 (Lowest 10% earned less than $53,700; highest 10% earned more than $130,200)
Research facilities, chemical plants
Chemical engineers use chemistry, mathematics and physics principles to create chemical products and manufacturing processes. For example, some products that chemical engineers have created are gasoline, plastics, cement and synthetic rubber. In addition to chemical processing, chemical engineers work in industries like healthcare, biotechnology and business.
Bachelors (4 years)
$75,000 (Lowest 10% earned less than $48,100; highest 10% earned more than $115,600)
Government agencies, corporate businesses, construction sites
Civil engineers plan and supervise the construction and maintenance of public structures like buildings, bridges, roads and sewage systems. They must consider a range of factors like building costs, government regulations and safety standards during the design process. Some specialized careers in civil engineering include structural engineer, city engineer, transportation engineer and construction manager.
Bachelors (4 years)
$82,200 (Lowest 10% earned less than $53,000; highest 10% earned more than $126,000)
Research facilities, corporate businesses, construction sites
Electrical engineers design and develop commercial and industrial electrical equipment like electric motors, lighting systems and power supply systems. When the design process is complete, electrical engineers oversee the manufacture and installation of electrical components and systems. Some job titles that electrical engineers hold are circuits engineer, broadcast engineer and hardware design engineer.
Bachelors (4 years)
$74,000 (Lowest 10% earned less than $45,300; highest 10% earned more than $115,400)
Government agencies, corporate businesses, private consulting
Environmental engineers use biology and chemistry to prevent and reduce the impact of local and global problems that affect the environment. Some of these problems include water and air pollution, climate change, car emissions and hazardous waste. Environmental engineers also develop ways to recycle, protect wildlife and responsibly dispose of waste.
Bachelors (4 years)
$73,800 (Lowest 10% earned less than $47,700; highest 10% earned more than $107,200)
Government agencies, factories
Industrial engineers use mathematical models to design efficient manufacturing and information systems. These systems increase business productivity by effectively managing the major elements of production like workers, machinery, supplies, information and energy. Common positions in industrial engineering are process engineer, supply chain engineer and operations engineer.
Bachelors (4 years)
$75,000 (Lowest 10% earned less than $48,000; highest 10% earned more than $114,700)
Government agencies, factories
Mechanical engineers design and manufacture tools and machines. Some mechanical engineers work on machines that produce power, like generators and engines. Others supervise the installation and maintenance of mechanical equipment like elevators, air conditioning and water systems.
Associates (2 years)
$48,000 (Lowest 10% earned less than $48,000; highest 10% earned more than $114,700)
Government agencies, corporate businesses, factories
Engineering technicians assist engineers of all specialties with research, construction, sales and maintenance. They help set up equipment, conduct experiments, collect data and use computer-aided drafting equipment to design products. Many engineering technicians work in electrical engineering, but they are needed in all specializations.
What is the job outlook for engineers?According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall job outlook for engineers is positive. In 2008, there were more than 1,600,000 engineers employed in the United States, and that number is expected to increase by about 11% through 2018, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. However, since engineering is such a broad field, you should examine the employment projection for the particular engineering field that you are interested in:
- Aerospace engineers are expected to see 10% employment growth, resulting in 300 new positions, as new spacecraft and aircraft designs are produced.
- Chemical engineers are predicted to experience a 2% decline in employment from 31,700 to about 31,000 positions. However, there should be opportunities for chemical engineers in biotechnology.
- Civil engineers should see a 24% growth in employment as the population increases and infrastructure needs to be improved. Job opportunities will increase from 278,400 positions to about 345,900.
- Electrical engineers are expected to see a slight employment growth of 2%. Positions in this field will be limited by international competition. About 304,600 electrical engineering jobs are projected.
- Environmental engineers are predicted to see a 31% employment increase as companies attempt to prevent environmental problems rather than control them after they occur. The number of jobs should increase from 54,300 to about 70,900.
- Industrial engineers should experience 14% growth as companies seek to make processes more efficient in order to reduce cost and waste. Jobs will increase from 214,800 to approximately 245,300.
- Mechanical engineers are expected to see 6% growth from 238,700 jobs to 253,100 as manufacturers try to improve their products. Mechanical engineering skills can also be applied to other engineering specialties like biotechnology and nanotechnology.
|Profession||Employment 2010||Projected 2020||Average Growth|
|Computer Hardware Engineer||70000||76300||9%|
|Computer Systems Engineers/architect||209700||222000||6%|
|Fuel Cell Engineer||243200||264600||9%|
|Industrial Safety Or Health Engineer||23700||26800||13%|
|Marine Engineer Or Naval Architect||5900||7000||18%|
|Mining Or Geological Engineer||6400||7000||10%|
|Product Safety Engineer||23700||26800||13%|
|Solar Energy Systems Engineer||156500||166800||7%|
|Wind Energy Engineer||156500||166800||7%|
Average Salary Growth 2006 - 2011
|Computer Hardware Engineer||91280||94270||100180||101410||101600||101360|
|Computer Systems Engineers/architect||69370||72310||76000||78010||79790||80500|
|Fuel Cell Engineer||72580||75130||78200||80580||82480||83550|
|Industrial Safety Or Health Engineer||68400||70970||73830||75810||78210||78540|
|Marine Engineer Or Naval Architect||75400||78200||77920||79240||87770||91730|
|Mining Or Geological Engineer||77620||79520||79910||82080||87350||90070|
|Product Safety Engineer||68400||70970||73830||75810||78210||78540|
|Solar Energy Systems Engineer||81750||85430||89080||90600||91770||92260|
|Wind Energy Engineer||81750||85430||89080||90600||91770||92260|
Salary By Percentile
|Computer Hardware Engineer||$62400||$77630||$98610||$122700||$147610|
|Computer Systems Engineers/architect||$42150||$59870||$79930||$100900||$118710|
|Fuel Cell Engineer||$51340||$63470||$79230||$98580||$119950|
|Industrial Safety Or Health Engineer||$44860||$58840||$75470||$96700||$116610|
|Marine Engineer Or Naval Architect||$51060||$64460||$84850||$110370||$145790|
|Mining Or Geological Engineer||$50620||$64910||$84300||$107160||$136800|
|Product Safety Engineer||$44860||$58840||$75470||$96700||$116610|
|Solar Energy Systems Engineer||$50190||$67470||$90580||$115740||$140420|
|Wind Energy Engineer||$50190||$67470||$90580||$115740||$140420|
How long would it take me to become an engineer?
The most common route to becoming an entry-level engineer is to earn a bachelors degree, which typically takes 4 years. However, if you choose to become a professionally licensed engineer, you will have to gain at least 4 years of work experience as an engineer in training before you are eligible to take the Professional Engineer exam.
What can I expect to learn while pursuing engineering?
As you pursue your engineering degree, you will gain certain knowledge and skills that are specific to your concentration. However, students in any engineering program will learn the following:
Core Areas of Study
The study of physics attempts to define the rules of the universe by studying how matter moves through space and time. Modern study of this discipline builds on the theories of scientists like Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, who studied concepts like relativity and gravity. Important topics include energy, force and the laws of physics.
Chemistry is the science that explores the composition of matter. It seeks to understand atomic theory, chemical bonding and molecular structures. It studies chemical reactions along with the mathematical calculations that explain them. It also explains the transformation of liquid, solid or gaseous states.
Thermodynamics is a branch of physical science that relates to physics and chemistry. It explores the relationship between heat, work and energy. Thermodynamics covers common processes for changing the state of matter by generating heat and refrigeration. It also studies topics like energy transformation and entropy.
Mechanics describes the way that forces like stress and strain affect the stability of objects. This subject is usually broken into disciplines called statics and dynamics. Statics is the study of how forces affect objects like buildings that are still, while dynamics studies how forces affect objects that are in motion.
Control Systems Theory
Control systems theory allows engineers to direct the behavior of linear, nonlinear and decentralized systems. It consists of the analysis and design of feedback control systems that measure and correct unstable processes. Some important topics in control theory are systems modeling, stability and feedback.
Engineering applies principles of advanced mathematics to model systems and design processes. Your engineering program will teach you how to use mathematical concepts like calculus, linear algebra, functions and probability and statistics, which are used frequently in engineering projects.
Engineers are concerned with applying the principles of math and science to solve problems. As you study engineering, you will develop critical thinking skills that help you to analyze problems from many different perspectives. You will be able to draw from a variety of disciplines to find the best solution to any engineering problem.
As an engineering student, you will be trained to plan and complete large projects like building a bridge or designing a heating system. You will learn to use project management software like budgeting tools and calendars that help you track your accomplishments so that you can manage your time effectively and meet your deadlines.
Engineers create new products that serve specific purposes. Your engineering curriculum will teach you about the different stages of product design, from brainstorming to the final marketing phase. You will learn to research and meticulously plan your product before the prototype is built and tested. Then you will be able to refine your concept and fix any issues before the final design is released.
What academic levels are available in the field of engineering?
Engineering credentials are available at nearly every level, but some degrees are more valuable than others. You generally need a bachelors degree to become an engineer, but you can also earn associates, masters and doctoral degrees as well as graduate certificates.
Select the degree level you are interested in:
After you complete your bachelors degree, you may wish to extend your engineering education with a graduate certificate. A certificate program offers several classes in an engineering concentration so that you can learn about that area without pursuing lengthy graduate study. Engineering certificates are available in many areas, including:
- Systems Engineering, which teaches the process of building highly productive systems for clients by analyzing their needs and developing ways to use software and hardware to create products efficiently
- Engineering Management, which emphasizes business ideas like engineering economics, project management and product development
- Geotechnical Engineering, which teaches how to use soil mechanics to design safe foundations for buildings
- Transportation Engineering, which concentrates on how to use land effectively to engineer efficient traffic flow
- Signal Processing, which teaches about system theory, algorithms and the computational models that engineers use to analyze digital and analog signals like sound, speech and images
What are the different types of certificates?
You can only earn graduate certificates in engineering. That means you must complete a bachelors degree before you are eligible to earn an engineering certificate.
How long will I have to study to earn my certificate?
Most engineering graduate certificates require students to complete 12 to 24 credits. Students usually finish graduate certificate programs in 6 months to a year.
What types of courses will I take while studying for my certificate?
The types of courses that are required to earn an engineering certificate program vary widely according to the specific certificate that you pursue. For instance, if you decide to get a certificate in engineering management, you will take classes like technical project management, product development and engineering economy. And if you choose to earn a certificate in transportation engineering, you will take classes about pavement design, traffic flow theory and land development. But keep in mind that there is no standard curriculum for graduate certificate programs, so required coursework may vary by program.
What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a certificate?
A graduate certificate in an engineering concentration will not qualify you for a job on its own, but it may help you to earn a promotion or to fulfill continuing education requirements. In addition, most schools allow you to use the credits that you earn in a graduate certificate program toward a masters degree.
What should I consider when deciding upon a school to earn my certificate?
Many engineers pursue graduate certificates over the course of several years in order to complete continuing education requirements. Before you enroll in a graduate certificate program, you should check with your employer to make sure that the classes you take will fulfill your organization’s requirements.
What are the requirements for admission into a certificate program?
You must hold a bachelors degree in engineering or a related mathematical or science field to enroll in a graduate certificate in engineering program.
What about getting an online certificate in engineering?
Many schools offer online engineering certificate programs. Earning an online certificate is a good idea for working professionals because online engineering programs can help fulfill the continuing education requirements for engineers. Working engineers have already gained laboratory skills and valuable on-the-job experience in their engineering bachelors degree programs. Therefore, they will not be negatively affected by the lack of live instruction offered by online engineering schools.
You can earn associates degrees in engineering technology or in pre-engineering. However, an associates degree in engineering will not qualify you to be an engineer. Engineering technology degrees are generally best if you want to find a job as an engineering technician immediately after you finish school. On the other hand, pre-engineering programs are intended to prepare you to transfer into a bachelors degree program.
What are the different types of associates degrees?
Associate of Arts AA
An AA degree in engineering has courses in science, mathematics and the humanities that offer a broad education. The AA is acceptable if you want to transfer to a bachelors degree program.
Associate of Science AS
An AS degree in engineering has a more scientific and mathematical focus than the AA. The AS is the best option if you want to transfer into a bachelors degree program.
Associate of Technical Arts ATA
An ATA degree in engineering concentrates on the technical skills that you need in the engineering field. An ATA is a good choice if you plan to enter the workforce immediately.
Associate of Applied Science AAS
The AAS degree in engineering teaches practical job skills and it is very similar to the ATA degree. Likewise, an AAS is a good option if you want to start working as soon as you graduate.
How long will I have to study to earn my associates degree?
Associates degrees or pre-engineering typically requires that students complete 60 to 70 credit hours. Most students complete associates degree programs in about 2 years.
What types of courses will I take while studying for my associates degree?
The courses that you will take for an engineering associates degree depend on the type of degree that you pursue. If you earn a degree in engineering technology, your classes will teach you to assist engineers. For example, you will take courses like computer-aided drafting (CAD), applied mathematics, electrical circuits and computer programming. But if you choose to earn an associates degree in pre-engineering, you will take more courses that require labs to prepare you to transfer into a 4-year engineering program. Those courses are likely to include chemistry, physics, electrical circuits and engineering design.
What types of jobs can I hope to secure with an associates degree?
If you earn an associates degree, you will be qualified to work as an engineering technician. About one-third of all engineering technicians work in electrical engineering, but they also work in areas like manufacturing, sales and construction.
What about getting an online associates degree in engineering?
Very few schools offer online engineering associates degrees. You should not pursue a completely online engineering associates degree because engineering is a hands-on field that requires you to work directly with your projects. You may be able to learn the theory of engineering online, but an online engineering program will not teach you how to apply science or mathematics to real-world situations. However, a small number of schools allow you to earn a partly online engineering associates degree that teaches theory online and requires you to attend labs in person. This is the best option if you want to study online.
Earning a bachelors degree is the most common route to becoming an engineer. This degree qualifies you for most entry-level positions in the field. You can earn a bachelors degree in general engineering or in a concentration like mechanical or electrical engineering. You may have more career opportunities if you choose to earn a general engineering degree, but you will have to learn to specialize in your company’s field on the job. Although you might think that a general engineering degree will lead to more career opportunities, in many instances, graduates with such a degree end up as high end engineering technicians.
What are the different types of bachelors degrees?
Bachelor of Arts BA
A BA degree in engineering offers science, mathematics and liberal arts classes that are designed to give you a broad education. The BA is a good choice if you want to gain skills in the humanities as well as engineering.
Bachelor of Science BS
A BS degree in engineering has science and mathematics classes that are designed to give you a strong technical background. The BS is a good choice if you want to work as an engineer as soon as you finish your coursework.
How long will I have to study to earn my bachelors degree?
Most bachelors degree programs in engineering require students to complete 120 to 130 credit hours. Students are usually able to complete engineering bachelors degrees in 4 to 5 years.
What types of courses will I take while studying for my bachelors degree?
The exact courses that you take for your bachelors degree in engineering depend on the type of program that you pursue. If you choose to earn a degree in general engineering, you will take a core curriculum that includes classes like mechanics, digital logic, physics, materials science and control systems. You will also take mathematics classes like calculus, differential equations and algebra. But if you choose to earn a bachelors degree in a concentration of engineering, your classes will be tailored to that area. For example, a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering will also require you to take classes about fluid dynamics and thermodynamics. And a degree in aerospace engineering requires you to take classes like avionics systems, propulsion and flight mechanics.
What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a bachelors degree?
A bachelors degree will prepare you for entry-level engineering jobs that relate to your concentration. For instance, if you study civil engineering you could be a structural engineer or a city engineer. And if you study mechanical engineering you could be a process engineer or a supply chain engineer.
What should I consider when deciding upon a school to earn my bachelors degree?
When you are deciding what school to attend for your bachelors degree, you should look for an engineering school that is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). This accreditation is important because you must graduate from an ABET-accredited school in order to qualify for a Professional Engineer license, which will allow you to offer your engineering services directly to the public.
What about getting an online bachelors degree in engineering?
You should not pursue an online engineering bachelors degree. Engineering programs require you to spend time in the laboratory to learn about subjects like chemistry and physics. There is no way for you to effectively learn about these topics through an online engineering school. But some schools offer partly online engineering programs that teach engineering theory online and applied science in on-campus labs. These programs are a much better choice than completely online engineering bachelors programs.
You have 2 main options if you want to pursue a masters degree in engineering. Just like in a bachelors program, you can either earn a masters degree in general engineering or you can pursue a masters degree in a specific concentration, like chemical, industrial or electric engineering. Both of these options will qualify you for an engineering career or to continue your graduate studies in a doctoral program.
What are the different types of masters degrees?
Master of Science MS
The MS degree requires in-depth study and research through engineering, mathematics and science classes. It is a good choice if you want to work in an advanced technical position or continue on to a PhD.
Master of Engineering MEng
The MEng degree has science and mathematics courses that focus less on research than the MS. This option is best for working professionals who need to take continuing education classes and students who do not plan to earn a PhD.
Master of Engineering Management MEM
The MEM is a terminal degree that offers classes in applied engineering and business. It is a good choice if you want to learn to manage engineering teams and operations.
How long will I have to study to earn my masters degree?
Most masters degree engineering programs require students to complete 30 to 40 credit hours, which normally takes 2 to 3 years.
What types of courses will I take while studying for my masters degree?
The types of courses that you take for your engineering masters degree depend on your program. For example, if you pursue a masters degree in general engineering, you will take classes about statistics, computer science and advanced mathematics. On the other hand, if you choose to earn a masters degree in a certain concentration, you will take classes that are directly associated with that field. For instance, a masters degree in chemical engineering will require you to take classes like process control, chemical reactor design and computational modeling. In addition, most masters degree programs in engineering require students to conduct extensive original research and to write a thesis. Finally, a degree in engineering management will require you to take classes about business. You can expect to take classes like technical communications, engineering law and project management.
What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a masters degree?
A masters degree in engineering will qualify you for senior technical positions in engineering. You may be able to direct a team of entry-level engineers or to manage an engineering department in a corporate business.
What should I consider when deciding upon a school to earn my masters degree?
If you want to earn a masters degree in this field, you should consider the main focus of the engineering departments at the schools that interest you. Many engineering programs are designed to prepare students for specific careers, and most schools do not have the resources to offer programs in every concentration. Therefore, if you know that you want to study a particular subject like environmental engineering or civil engineering, you should research the masters degree options at the schools that you are considering.
What are the requirements for admission into a masters degree program?
Masters degree programs in engineering require applicants to have a bachelors degree in engineering or a related field, such as computer science, mathematics or physics.
What about getting an online masters degree in engineering?
Some respected schools offer online engineering masters degrees, which may be a viable option for you. If you are earning a masters in general engineering in order to fulfill continuing education requirements or to learn management skills, earning an engineering masters degree online has no significant drawbacks. These programs are designed for working professionals who already have hands-on knowledge in their fields. In addition, these programs typically do not include research components. However, an online engineering degree is not a good idea if you do not have professional engineering experience. You will not be able to conduct research in a laboratory setting or collaborate with your peers and faculty through an online engineering program.
A doctorate is the most prestigious engineering degree. Your PhD program will require you to specialize in a concentration like mechanical, industrial or civil engineering. You program will train you to conduct original engineering research that your peers respect. When you graduate, you will be qualified for research jobs in many different workplaces.
What are the different types of doctorate degrees?
You can earn a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in engineering. A PhD in engineering offers advanced classes in science, mathematics and engineering theory. It also requires students to conduct original research that leads to a dissertation.
How long will I have to study to earn my doctorate degree?
Most schools require engineering PhD students to complete 72 to 90 credit hours. It typically takes students 4 to 7 years to complete a doctorate.
What types of courses will I take while studying for my doctorate degree?
The classes that you take to earn a PhD will vary according to your concentration. For instance, if you earn a PhD in electrical engineering, you will take classes like circuit and systems modeling, digital communications systems and linear programming. But if you earn a PhD in mechanical engineering, you will take classes about continuum mechanics, advanced thermodynamics and control system design. No matter what your concentration is, you will be required to write a dissertation about the original research that you conduct.
What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a doctorate degree?
A PhD will prepare you to teach at the university level or conduct professional engineering research for the government or corporate businesses.
What should I consider when deciding upon a school to earn my doctorate degree in engineering?
When you are looking for an engineering school, remember that most engineering departments at the graduate level specialize in a few concentrations. You will need to explore the research areas of the faculty as well as the doctorate options that are offered at the schools that you are considering before you apply. You should also investigate the funding that you will receive and the research facilities that will be available to you, because both factors will determine what kind of engineering research you can conduct.
What are the requirements for admission into a doctorate degree program?
Some engineering schools require applicants to a doctoral program to hold masters degrees in engineering, mathematics or science. However, many schools allow students with bachelors degrees in engineering and related fields to apply to PhD programs directly.
What about getting an online doctorate degree in engineering?
A few schools offer online engineering PhDs, but you should not attempt to get your engineering doctorate degree online. Engineering PhD programs require students to conduct intensive original research. You will not be able to perform doctoral engineering research unless you work in a laboratory several times each week, which you cannot do through an online engineering PhD. In addition, it takes several years of close collaboration with faculty to produce a dissertation. Collaboration and communication would be very difficult in an online engineering program.
What else should I keep in mind when considering studying engineering?
Professional Engineering Licensure
Many civil, mechanical and chemical engineers choose to become professionally licensed, which is necessary if you want to offer your engineering skills directly to the public. But you must meet certain qualifications before you are eligible to earn your Professional Engineer (PE) license. First, you must graduate from a bachelors degree program that is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Next, you must gain at least 4 years of professional work experience. Finally, you need to pass your state engineering exam.
The PE exam is often taken in 2 parts so that recent bachelors degree graduates can begin the licensing process right away. You can take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam as soon as you finish school. When you pass, you will be considered an Engineer In Training. And after you gain 4 years of work experience, you can take the second part of the exam, which is called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.
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