Associate Degree in Engineering Technology: Program Information

Oct 20, 2019

Engineering technology applies math and science to the design and repair of devices or structures. Associate's degrees in this field of study are available in many disciplines to train aspiring technicians for a specific field.

Essential Information

Electrical, mechanical and civil engineering technology two-year degree programs are offered by community colleges and technical schools. When choosing a program, students should look for one that is approved by ABET. In all these programs, students learn through classroom work and hands-on experiences. Schools look for applicants with a strong background in math, science and communications, in addition to a high school diploma or equivalent.

An associate's program in electrical engineering technology offers training in the design, testing and maintenance of a variety of electrical systems, including computers. Programs in mechanical engineering technology train graduates to build, install and maintain machines and mechanical systems. Meanwhile, programs in civil engineering technology deal with the design and construction of transportation infrastructure, buildings and water systems.

Associate's Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology

Associate's degree programs in electrical engineering technology provide a foundation in digital electronics, microprocessors, industrial automation and other electrical technologies. Associate degree curricula include significant math and science coursework. Common professional studies include:

  • Basic and advanced circuit analysis
  • Programmable controllers
  • Statistics in engineering
  • Technical writing for electrical technology
  • Digital systems and circuits

Associate's Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology

Those who aspire to work in the field of designing, testing and manufacturing of mechanical systems and machines can chose from many associate's degree programs in mechanical engineering technology. Courses expose students to concepts in physics, math and computer science, along with engineering technology education in machine design, including computer-aided design, machine control systems, electromechanical systems and fluid power. In addition to general education, the basic premises of technical courses focus on how machinery operates. Lab design projects are often included in the course syllabus. Some course topics are:

  • Design principles in mechanical engineering
  • The laws of thermodynamics
  • Elements of mechanisms and machines
  • Operation of electrical devices
  • Beginning and advanced computer-aided design

Associate's Degree in Civil Engineering Technology

Associate's programs in civil engineering technology train engineer assistants to examine science, math and engineering concepts and learn how to apply them to large building projects. Techniques in surveying, computer-aided drafting, mapping, testing materials, and other civil engineering technology functions are also covered.

Coursework in an associate's degree program in civil engineering teaches students to conceptualize a project by considering environmental, geographic locations, structural factors and future growth. Some curricula offer sufficient training in surveying and land analysis to allow graduates to become eligible for licensure as surveyors, if applicable. Some course topics include:

  • Computer-aided design for civil engineering projects
  • Basic and advanced surveying
  • Study of geographical properties in soils
  • Concrete, steel and other construction materials
  • Principles of hydraulics and hydrology

Popular Career Options

Mechanical engineers combine electronics, tooling, technology and design concepts to create improved energy generation, manufacturing processing, and machines used in everyday living. Earning an associate's degree in electrical or electronic engineering technology prepares graduates for entry-level jobs as electrical engineering technicians, the largest group of engineering technicians. In addition to engineering technician positions, graduates with associate's degree in civil engineering technology can work as an engineering surveyor, inspector or design technician. Some industries where mechanical engineers may work include:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Traditional and alternative energy
  • Medical
  • Local and federal government

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted little or no change in employment for electrical and electronics engineering technicians between 2018 and 2028, citing job growth will occur slowly as companies seek engineering contract services. The median salary for electrical and electronics engineering technicians was $64,330 per year in 2018, according to the BLS. The BLS predicted a fast-as-average 5% job growth for civil engineering technicians between 2018 and 2028. The median salary for civil engineering technicians was $52,580 in 2018, as reported by the BLS.

Continuing Education

Most associates degree programs are developed for continuation toward a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering technology or related major. In some cases, students may apply credit from an associate's degree to a four-year bachelor's degree program. Typically, those with a bachelor's degree qualify to research, design and apply new electrical technology.

Additionally, graduates may join professional organizations, such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, to participate in advanced education opportunities and earn optional certification. States that require licensure for mechanical engineers may allow credit from classroom and online coursework offered through such organizations to be applied toward continuing education requirements.

Bachelor's degree programs in civil engineering may include advanced studies in soil analysis, different construction materials and land surveying. Those seeking to advance a career may find additional education helpful and may be required for advancement.

Associate's degree programs in engineering technology are available in the electrical, mechanical and civil fields. Graduates can work as various kinds of engineering technicians, and may wish to pursue advanced education to further their career or earn additional certifications.

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