Two-year associate degree programs in applied engineering include general education coursework and highlight the fundamentals of engineering and electronics. Programs may feature areas of specialization, such as alternative energy, instrumentation, electronics engineering, materials selection and acquisition, quality control, and logistics, and provide access to internship opportunities. Quality control and manufacturing design are some areas of focus in a four-year bachelor's degree program. Internship opportunities may be available at the bachelor's degree level.
High school diplomas are required to enroll in either program, and associate degree credit may transfer to a bachelor's degree program.
Associate Degree in Applied Engineering
Students can earn an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Applied Engineering or Applied Engineering Technology. Students analyze product design and manufacturing as well as the technical operation of manufacturing facilities from a scientific, mathematical, and basic engineering point of view.
Programs may have some general education credits but the primary focus of an A.A.S. degree will be the introductory and advanced courses in the applied engineering topics. Some subjects include:
- Fundamentals of robotics
- Industrial electronics
- Introduction to engineering
- Introduction to manufacturing
Bachelor of Science in Applied Engineering
Students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Applied Engineering. Programs focus on the application of basic engineering principles to the design, development, and manufacturing of products as well as the operational and functional limitations of the manufacturing process. Programs cover essential topics such as quality control, project management, the industrial process, and systems integration. Professors seek to push students' critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
Students take courses specifically designed for the applied engineering major as well as general educational requirements in the arts, humanities, and sciences. Some course subjects include:
- Automatic manufacturing
- Fundamentals of production planning
- Quality control in manufacturing
- Basic materials science
- Facility and manufacturing design
- Personnel safety
Popular Career Options
Graduates of associate degree programs in applied engineering are equipped to apply for internships or entry-level positions in a variety of areas in the field of applied engineering. Some popular occupations include:
- Research assistant
- Technical writer
- Engineering support specialist
- Process control engineer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), the number of employed industrial engineering technicians was expected to show little or no change from 2018-2028, in part because of widespread employment drop-off in the manufacturing industry. The median annual salary for these professionals as of May 2018 was $55,460.
Students can continue studies of applied engineering at a 4-year college or university. A bachelor's degree often increases job opportunities and gives students the potential for a higher starting salary. Graduate programs specifically in applied engineering are extremely rare.
Associate and bachelor's degree programs in applied engineering develop students' management skills and teach them about designing and manufacturing products for a company though classroom learning and hands-on training in internships. While not commonly available, master's degrees in the field could allow graduates to continue their education.