An engineer helps turn ideas into functional objects. For example, in a bachelor's degree program in mechanical engineering, a student might learn to create complex mechanical structures that serve a particular purpose. These skills could prepare graduates for careers in automotive production, machine design, climate control, transportation, or power generation. Electrical engineers might learn the technical skills necessary to design, test, develop, and produce working electronic equipment. Other specialties include civil engineering, architectural engineering, medical engineering, chemical engineering, and software engineering. When choosing a program, students should look for one that is accredited by ABET, the governing board for engineering education because most engineers must be licensed, and graduation from an ABET-accredited program is one of the requirements for licensure.
Bachelor of Science in Engineering
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to be considered for admission. Programs may also require high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, standardized test scores, and a personal statement. The strongest applicants will have aptitudes in mathematics and computer science. Coursework can vary widely based on the type of engineering being studied. Mechanical engineering degrees, for instance, equip students with skills in math, applied sciences, computer-aided design, communications, and manufacturing processes. Regardless of the specific type of engineering being studied, most programs share a common core of courses. Those classes might include the following:
- Visual representation
- Computer design
- Design courses
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Salaries and job prospects in this field can vary widely based on the type of engineering. Employment for civil engineers is expected to increase 8% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary for a civil engineer was $82,220 in 2015. Mechanical engineers, on the other hand, could experience average job growth (5%) during the same period. They were earning a slightly higher median annual salary of $83,590 in 2015, according to the BLS.
Students entering a bachelor's degree program in engineering will be able to select from a wide range of specializations and concentrations that will be more tailor-made for their specific career goals. Most of these sub-fields encompass the same general education classes such as statistics and design courses.