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Schools for an Aspiring Engineering Technician: How to Choose

Dec 05, 2019

Engineering technicians use applied math, physics and science, as well as design software, to assist scientists and engineers with a variety of tasks involved in civil, electrical, mechanical or computer engineering. A 2-year associate degree in engineering technology is commonly required for employment.

Engineering technology programs are available in a wide range of specialties through the engineering technology, computing and professional development divisions of technical colleges, community colleges and universities. Students may earn a certificate or associate degree in the field.

10 Schools with Engineering Technician Programs

Engineering technician programs are offered at the institutions listed here:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)*
American River College Sacramento, CA 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,104; Out-of-state $8,712
Broward College Fort Lauderdale, FL 4-Year, primarily associate's, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $2,830; Out-of-state $8,952
Central Texas College Killeen, TX 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-district $2,700;
In-state $3,390; Out-of-state $7,050
Cerritos College Norwalk, CA 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,346; Out-of-state $8,710
De Anza College Cupertino, CA 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,561; Out-of-state $7,501
Diablo Valley College Pleasant Hill, CA 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,312; Out-of-state $8,564
East Los Angeles College Monterey Park, CA 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,220; Out-of-state $7,746
El Paso Community College El Paso, TX 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $3,010; Out-of-state $4,858
Oakland Community College Bloomfield Hills, MI 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-district $2,408;
In-state $4,472; Out-of-state $4,472
Orange Coast College Costa Mesa, CA 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,186; Out-of-state $7,978

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

There are some key factors to keep in mind when selecting an engineering technician program.

  • Most employers look for engineering technicians who have postsecondary training in engineering technology, typically an associate's degree. A practical skills certificate may suffice when it's paired with on-the-job training.
  • Because most engineering technology programs are highly specialized, the would-be technician should have a good idea of the type of engineering in which they would like to make a career before enrolling; students can also choose an engineering technology program based on the level of technical experience they need.
  • Technical and vocational schools tend to focus more on practical skills, while those at community colleges provide a broad theoretical background with several general education requirements.
  • Students may also want to make sure the program is accredited through ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). ABET is the nationally recognized accreditation board for engineering programs.

Engineering Technology Certificate

Designed for those looking for specific, career-oriented engineering technology knowledge, certificate programs can take 6-12 months of full- or part-time study to complete. They may be earned in a wide variety of relevant areas, such as computer-aided design (CAD), plastics engineering or energy engineering technology.

Associate of Applied Science in Engineering Technology

A 2-year degree program is the most useful for would-be engineering technicians. They provide background courses in advanced mathematics and physics. Students also typically gain hands-on experience through labs and real-life scenarios.

There are many community colleges that offer certificate and associate's degree programs in relevant fields to prepare graduates to pursue a career as an engineering technician. Aspiring engineering technicians can pursue general studies in engineering technology, or focus on a specialized area, such as computer-aided design or energy engineering technology.

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