A degree in engineering is perfect for students who are curious about how things work and have a passion for science and math. These students value hard work and set goals for themselves. In other words, they keep their eyes on the prize – the lucrative, secure and fun job they've always desired.
You should look for an engineering degree program that's well-established in your field of choice. One school may be recognized for its electrical engineering program, while another may receive national attention for its industrial engineering. Georgia Tech University, for example, was recognized in 2009 by the US News & World Report for having the best industrial engineering program in the country. Good programs generally have well-known and accomplished faculty, high admission standards and low student-faculty ratios.
Still, nothing beats first-hand research. Meet the professors in person and discuss their coursework – much of which is hands-on – and see if they're attentive to the needs of their students. Seek out ex-students and ask them about the type of coursework they completed while attending the school, and whether or not it's still useful in their current day-to-day job activities. Research the types of jobs that are attained after graduation and ask recent graduates how they landed those jobs. Most colleges correspond with local businesses and firms to offer internships – it's the easiest way to get a foot in the door. Some colleges will expect you to take three to six hours for course credit in order to gain experience. Also, ask managers at engineering firms and corporations which graduates from your field are their most knowledgeable and reliable employees. If graduates typically land the job you desire and receive high-praise from their superiors, then you're on the right path. It's the best way to gauge the actual value of the education provided by a college.
Wherever you end up, expect a challenging course load. You will inevitably come across a class that will give you fits. Remember that it's all in preparation for your future in the field. In the end, whether you get your degree at MIT, a small local state university, or an online college, it comes down to what you make of it. If you put forth the required effort and remain familiar with math and science, then you will benefit from the program.