Associate's degree programs in engineering technology aim to prepare students for entry-level careers by teaching subjects such as computer-aided drafting, electrical circuitry and microprocessors programming. Students who aspire to higher-level positions such as that of engineering technologist might enroll in related bachelor's degree programs. There, they could gain hands-on knowledge in areas such as circuit analysis and robotics. Graduate-level education is also available to qualified applicants.
Associate's Degree in Engineering Technology
Associate's degrees in Engineering Technology program prepares students for an entry-level career as an engineering technician. Many programs offer the option to focus studies on one particular aspect of engineering technology, such as electrical engineering or instrumentation. Students learn common industry symbols, measurement techniques and the basics of maintaining or servicing industrial machinery or equipment.
Prerequisites for these two-year programs requires students to have a high school diploma or GED. Once in students learn how to construct electrical circuits, basic math, programming and usage of industry tools, often touching on the following subjects:
- Microprocessors programming
- Blueprint symbols and interpretation
- Logic controllers
- Computer-aided drafting (CAD)
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Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology
Students interested in a professional career working with complex electronic controls and machine instrumentation may wish to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology. This professional four-year degree program may lead to an entry-level career as an engineering technologist. Classes focus on practical skills needed for programming instructions, mending electrical circuits and designing control mechanisms.
Some schools offer a Bachelor of Technology in Control and Instrumentation Engineering. This degree program is also intended for pre-professionals who wish to increase practical skills in computer controls, automation and instrumentation of machinery.
Prior to enrollment students are required to have a high school diploma or GED. Most programs feature general coursework in math, technical writing and laboratory classes in the first two years. In the second half of this degree program, a student interested in instrumentation engineering might take elective courses in the following topics:
- Circuit analysis
- Electronic communication networks
- Microprocessors programming
- Measurement and control devices
Popular Career Options
In general, graduates are qualified for engineering technologist positions. Often, with experience - and sometimes additional education - engineering technologists can work their way up to becoming a licensed engineer. A graduate of this degree program can often find work in the following positions:
- Instrument design engineer technologist
- Industrial controls engineer technologist
- Electrical engineering technologist
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of engineering technicians in general was expected to decrease by 5% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS also reported that as of 2015, mechanical engineering technicians received an annual median wage of $53,910, while industrial engineering technicians took in an average of $53,780 per year (www.bls.gov). Electrical and electronic engineering technicians made a median annual wage of $61,130 the same year, according to the BLS.
Master's and doctoral degree programs in engineering technology, engineering systems and engineering management are available to individuals who wish to advance their research capacity and career involvement when it comes to instrumentation. A graduate degree is not necessary to attain jobs related to instrument engineering, but may help professionals gain recognition and promotions. The BLS reported as of March 2011 that only minimal postsecondary education is needed for engineers to acquire entry-level positions.
In an associate's degree in engineering technology students may focus on specializations like electrical engineering or instrumentation that may prepare them for a entry level careers in instrument engineering. Similar bachelor's degrees in engineering technology may prepare students more advanced careers in the field.