Career Information for a Degree in General Systems Engineering

Systems engineering is generally a degree program that teaches individuals to plan and build efficient, productive and safe systems. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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A degree in general systems engineering focuses on the development of electrical, mechanical and aerospace systems. With a bachelor's degree in this field, it's possible to become an electrical engineer, an environmental engineer, or a health and safety engineer. A license is also required for many jobs in these fields.

Essential Information

General systems engineering degree programs teach individuals to plan and build efficient, productive and safe systems of various types, like electrical, mechanical and aerospace systems. These programs may focus on a traditional engineering discipline or on systems engineering as a whole. Individuals interested in analyzing and solving complex problems within an organization may benefit from a degree or certificate in systems engineering.

Career title(s) Electrical engineer, environmental engineer, health and safety engineer
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Licensure, in some industries
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 0% for electrical engineers, 12% for environmental engineers, 6% for health and safety engineers
Median Salary (2015)* $93,010 for electrical engineers, $84,560 for environmental engineers, $84,600 for health and safety engineers except those in mining safety

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Degree Programs for General Systems Engineers

These programs typically cover subjects such as systems analysis, design, logistics, quality control, project management and system safety. Students may consider obtaining a general systems engineering degree, or they may choose to specialize in a certain industry, like industrial or aerospace engineering. Those with industry-specific degrees may consider completing a certificate program in systems engineering to gain expertise in the discipline.

Most engineering jobs require at least a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field, depending on the industry. Positions that involve providing services to the public entail licensure. In such cases, training engineers are generally required to gain four years of supervised experience as engineer interns (EIs) after completing an accredited engineering program, as well as passing a series of exams, before becoming licensed.

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Career Options in General Systems Engineering

Systems engineering is a broad field that extends to many industries and engineering fields. For example, these professionals may work in manufacturing, sales and marketing. Many apply their skills to other engineering disciplines, such as in health and safety, environmental and electrical engineering positions.

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers are needed in a wide range of areas, from the design and implementation of household electrical systems to the development and testing of radar and other electronic imaging systems. Individuals with expertise in electrical engineering are responsible for the overall design, testing and development of electrical systems. They may work for power companies, for electrical equipment manufacturers or as self-employed consultants.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment levels of electrical engineers would not change from 2014 to 2024. Slow job growth in manufacturing sectors is cited as the reason for the lack of growth in this field. The median annual salary for these workers was $93,010 as of May 2015.

Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineers are responsible for solving problems that affect the environment, such as waste storage, water source pollution or topsoil maintenance. They may work on tasks like creating and implementing reforestation plans or conducting field studies. Environmental engineers often work as consultants to businesses, organizations or government agencies.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS predicted an employment growth of 12% for environmental engineers in the 2014 to 2024 decade. This strong growth projection is due to increased demand for environmental safeguards and public awareness of environmental issues. The median annual salary for these workers was $84,560 as of May 2015, according to the BLS.

Health and Safety Engineering

Health and safety engineers design methods for averting accidents in the workplace. This may include inspecting buildings, machines and equipment for hazards. They may also analyze production processes and other systems for dangers to workers or customers. Inspection procedures may include testing the air and water quality, noise levels and temperature of a workplace to determine the effects of these variables on human health and safety.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to the BLS, jobs for health and safety engineers were projected to increase by 6% between 2014 and 2024. The demand for these professionals was projected to grow as an effect of new technology and the need to make sure it's safe. The BLS reported that the median annual salary for health and safety engineers, excluding those who work in mining safety, was $84,600 as of May 2015.

Electrical engineers develop and produce electrical goods and systems, while environmental engineers solve environmental problems, such as how to store waste or prevent water pollution. Health and safety engineering focuses on how building and equipment designs can be altered reduce accidents in the workplace. Electrical engineering jobs are not expected to increase from 2014 to 2024, but the growth of health and safety engineering jobs will be average, and environmental engineering jobs will grow at a faster than average rate.

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