Do You Have What It Takes for a Career in Engineering?

By Beth Dumbauld

Do you like to solve problems? If so, earning a degree in engineering will allow you to roll up your sleeves and mix it up with a long line of technical issues looking for a solution. The kinds of issues you solve, however, will depend on which engineering field you enter. Given that the world of engineering is as wide open as the limits of human creativity, imagination, and wonder, you can apply your engineering training almost anywhere and in almost any career field.

Whether you start your engineering career with an associate or a bachelor’s degree , your career options are many – and your job outlook is excellent. In fact, college graduates with a degree in engineering possess job skills that are in demand and command the highest salaries upon graduation .1

What Do You Do with a Degree in Engineering?

Create. Design. Tear down. Build up. Build big. Build tiny. Speed up. Slow down. Assess. Rethink. Process. Analyze. Invent. And repeat. In other words, what you do with an engineering degree is: imagine, make, and do. Engineers apply their knowledge of how things work and make things work better. Engineers turn ideas into reality.2

Almost every single thing we use every day has been engineered in some way. Almost every technological innovation has, at some point or another, been placed under the care of someone with a degree in engineering. For that next big thing, that person could be you.

Many who enter the engineering field do so because they are fascinated by how things work, and they also know that the career opportunities in the engineering field are skyrocketing. Not only are engineering jobs classified as the jobs of the future , they are also, according to the US Department of Commerce, “essential for developing our technological innovation and global competitiveness.”3 If you are looking for a job that can have a positive impact on you personally as well as the overall health of the US economy, you don’t have to look any further than a career in engineering.

How Do You Know If a Career in Engineering Is Right for You?

No matter whether you earn a certificate or an Associate or Bachelor’s in Engineering, entering the engineering profession will confer your future with higher earnings and reduced unemployment. If you value career stability, strong salary potential – and a desire to apply your knowledge in a tangible way, engineering is likely a good fit for you.

Furthermore, math, science, and engineering courses effortlessly translate into the online education arena. For a working adult with a need for schedule flexibility, having access to a high-quality online engineering program can help make the transition back to college for an engineering degree that much smoother. Additionally, you might want to consider taking a gateway math, science, or engineering class online. Success in prerequisite online classes may provide you with the encouragement you need to plant yourself firmly on the pathway to a career in engineering.

But how do you know which engineering path is the right path for you? Since the field of engineering is so broad, we’ll first explore the many types of careers possible in the field including the difference between opportunities for an engineer (which requires a bachelor’s degree) and an engineering technician (which requires a certificate or an associate degree). We’ll then dive deeper into the important qualities shared across the spectrum of all engineering fields – and valued by those who employ engineers.

As we spotlight these make or break qualities of an engineer, you will be able to assess where your career goals and interests fit, and determine what level of education you should aspire to for the engineering roles that interest you most. As you do so, you will be able to evaluate if you have what it takes to earn a degree in engineering – and assess if you are ready to take the next steps towards earning your college degree .

1CNN Money, Mastering Your Money: It’s time to give college a rethink, 5/20/2012, p.1

2National Engineering Week Foundation, All About Engineering, p1.

3U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future, p.7.

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