Some schools do offer general programs in engineering technology programs, but it is more common to find engineering technology programs focusing on a specific engineering discipline. These programs can be found as undergraduate certificate, associate's, and bachelor's degree programs in disciplines such as mechanical, civil, computer, electrical, and architectural engineering. Engineering technology programs do not typically meet state licensure requirements to become a professional engineer; however, graduates of these programs may find positions as engineering technicians, drafters, engineering technologists, or facility managers.
There are a multitude of different fields students can pursue in order to earn an education in engineering technology, such as: Aeronautical engineering technology, biomedical engineering technology, chemical engineering technology, electronics engineering technology, computer engineering technology, welding engineering technology, manufacturing engineering technology, and petroleum engineering technology. All three programs require only a high school diploma or GED to enroll. Students can expect to finish a certificate in two to three semesters, an associate's degree in two years, and a bachelor's degree in four to five years.
Certificate in Mechanical Engineering Technology
Students can learn to help research, design, maintain, and sell mechanical products in these programs. Some programs offer coursework in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning as preparation for working with mechanical contractors. Students gain an understanding of estimating, project management, and contracts. Programs offer coursework in:
- Blueprint reading
- Descriptive geometry
- Shop practices
- Computer graphics
Associate Degree in Civil Engineering Technology
These programs allow students to learn to work in teams to solve problems in surveying, hydraulics, transportation systems, and mapping. These programs train students to help engineering and construction professionals modernize infrastructure and design utilities, highways and public structures.
Students learn about the problems that face engineers, architects, contractors, surveyors, and suppliers catering to the building manufacturing industry. While learning more effective visual and oral communication skills, students learn about:
- Construction materials
- Soil behavior
Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology
Programs in electrical engineering technology prepare students to implement current knowledge, perform routine design changes and have hands-on career paths. Program graduates design, test, install, sell, and perform maintenance in the telecommunications, automation, power, and manufacturing industries.
Students prepare for careers testing, building, and working in the field by taking classes in applied calculus, data analysis, and electronic design. Beyond learning about the differences between digital and analog electronics, students take classes in:
- Circuit theory
- Control systems
- Technical writing
Popular Career Options
Graduates from certificate programs can apply their technical skills to a variety of positions in the mechanical engineering trade. Certificate program graduates can be prepared to find work as:
- Detail drafters
- Engineering technicians
- Production aides
Surveying agencies, private engineering firms, contractors, inspection agencies, and architects employ civil engineering technicians. In addition to the generic engineering technician job title, associate degree holders might find work as:
- Construction managers
- Engineering surveyors
The employment outlook within for engineering technicians varies by specialty. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) electro-mechanical technicians were anticipated to see a 1% growth from 2018-2028 (www.bls.gov). In the same period, environmental engineering technicians were projected to experience an 9% jump in employment opportunities. BLS reports from May 2018 suggest that the median annual wage of engineering technicians could be between $36,120 and $98,720.
Continuing Education Information
Engineering technicians are able to study mechanical engineering in 4-year undergraduate programs as well as master's and doctoral level programs. Undergraduate programs, accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, qualify graduates to sit for the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors' Professional Engineer credential.
Students interested in engineering, as opposed to engineering technology, must earn at least a 4-year degree. Bachelor's degree programs in civil engineering are widely available and often offer students the opportunity to specialize in a topic like environmental engineering. Master's and doctoral programs are also commonly found at universities and both allow students to tailor a program of study to their research interests.
Electrical engineering technology programs are found at the master's level. Graduate training involves a significant amount of additional math coursework. Students interested in electrical engineering may pursue master's and doctoral degrees, which are often offered in conjunction with studies in computer engineering.
Students can enroll in several different kinds of programs - such as mechanical engineering technology certificates, civil engineering technology associate's degrees, and electrical engineering bachelor's degrees - to gain an education in engineering technology. Master's and doctoral programs exist for graduates wishing to pursue further education in their chosen field or general engineering, with professional certification available.