Engineering Associates Degree: Program Options

Oct 10, 2019

Prospective students interested in earning an associate's degree in engineering have several options to choose from. Explore the program options, coursework, job outlook and certification information.

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Essential Information

Two-year pre-engineering associate's degree programs are designed for students who plan to pursue a bachelor's degree in an engineering specialty. The program consists of intensive studies in mathematics, science and engineering technology. Two-year associate's programs in engineering science or engineering technology cover civil, electrical, industrial, chemical and mechanical engineering, while the general curriculum consists of studies in subjects such as calculus and geometry. All programs require a high school diploma or GED.

Associate Degree in Pre-Engineering

Students cover topics frequently found in the engineering profession, including chemistry and physics. The curriculum also includes chemistry and physics laboratory components where students can gain hands-on experience working with laboratory instruments and materials. Common topics include:

  • Digital circuit analysis
  • Mathematical operations
  • Linear circuits
  • Engineering structures
  • Hydrostatics
  • Multi-view drawings

Associate of Science in Engineering

These degree programs can prepare graduates to enter 4-year colleges and universities with junior standing. Coursework covers a variety of engineering topics, including scientific principles and theories, computer science, mathematics and other areas such as the following:

  • Drafting tools
  • Manufacturing products
  • Construction technology
  • Blueprints
  • Surveying principles

Popular Career Options

Career options for graduates include jobs in government and business, as well as professional, scientific and technical service industries. Graduates can obtain positions as a:

  • Civil engineering technician
  • Mechanical engineering technician
  • Industrial engineering technician

Continuing Education Information

Graduates who want to become professional engineers (PE) will have to enroll in a bachelor's degree program in engineering. Options include a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in an engineering area such as industrial, mechanical, electrical/electronic or civil engineering, as well as a B.S. in Engineering Management.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

An associate's degree program in engineering science or technology qualifies graduates to work as engineering technicians. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of engineering technicians, in general, was expected to experience a 3% growth between the years 2018 and 2028 ( Specific job growth and salary may depend on a technician's area of specialty. For example, civil engineering technician jobs were predicted by the BLS to grow 5% from 2018-2028, while electrical engineering technician jobs were expected to experience a 0% growth in that time frame. In May 2018, the BLS reported the mean annual salary for civil engineering technicians at $54,670; however, electrical engineering technicians earned an average of $65,050.

Certification Information

The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) awards engineering technician certification to graduates of an engineering technology associate's degree program ( Areas of certification include specialties in civil engineering or electrical and mechanical engineering systems technology. The NICET requires candidates to take written and multiple choice exams and to submit letters of recommendation to obtain technician certification. Candidates are required to complete 90 continuing professional development (CPD) units every three years to maintain certification.

Students wishing to study engineering at the associate's degree level can enroll in pre-engineering, engineering science or engineering technology programs to prepare for careers as engineering technicians. Job outlook and pay vary depending on a graduate's area of specialty, and students may wish to pursue professional engineering technician certification.

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