There are several courses that students should take in high school, if they plan to major in engineering in college. These include math (calculus if possible), science (chemistry, biology and physics), computer programming and any engineering classes that may be offered at your high school. Engineering Colleges look for applicants to have a strong STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) background. Taking Advanced Placement classes in these areas can provide the student with a foundation on courses that will be required as an engineering major. It can also enable the student to get some required courses out of the way before they actually start college. In addition, some engineering curriculums assume that the student will have taken calculus before they start college, and start their curriculum with the next level. It is a good idea to be aware of this before considering a college.
How To Look For An Engineering College
So you decide you want study engineering in college. Now what? Can you go to any school to major in engineering? There are several steps you should take to look for an engineering college.
What Kind of Engineer?
First you need to determine what kind of engineer you would like to become. There are many different fields of engineering such as mechanical, civil, aerospace or computer engineering. It is a good idea to first find out a bit about each field to determine where your interests and strengths fit best.
What Colleges Have My Major?
Next you need to look for schools that offer programs in that engineering major. Not all colleges offer engineering programs. In addition, not every college that has an engineering school offers degrees in every field of engineering. It is important to find out if the school offers the exact engineering major you are interested in so you are not wasting your time. Majors are listed on each college's website. Another good resource for this is US News List of Best Engineering Colleges.
How To Narrow It Down
After finding schools that have your major you should then consider the size of school you are interested in and the geographic location you would like to be in. This will help narrow down your choices. Virtual or actual tours of colleges can help you decide what size and location is best for you.
Grades and Scores
High school grades and standardized test scores play a big role in choosing a college. College websites will list the average scores they require for admission. Researching this will help you determine which schools you have the best shot of getting into, before you apply.
An additional factor in choosing a college is cost. Individual college websites will list the tuition and other charges to attend that school. Loans, financial aid and scholarships are offered at most schools to help you pay for it. Unfortunately, you won't know if you qualify for them until after you apply to each school. Therefore, it is important to understand what you can afford before you apply.
In short, the search for an engineering school is not simple. Looking for a college for engineering takes some thought and research, but the end result will be the perfect college for you.
What Is A Structural Engineer?
Structural engineers design, evaluate and calculate the strength, stability, and rigidity of structures. Structural engineering is a specialty within the field of civil engineering. It is a structural engineer's job to make sure a structure is safe and will be able to handle the forces and loads it may encounter. Structural engineers work with architects, contractors and other engineering professionals.
What Do Structural Engineers Do?
Structural engineers design and analyze structures such as buildings, bridges, tunnels and oil rigs. They test designs for accuracy and performance with computer programs and models. Structural engineers also develop construction budgets, evaluate materials, monitor construction and make sure projects are meeting the appropriate codes and regulations. In addition, structural engineers evaluate existing structures for structural integrity and recommend repairs or changes.
A structural engineer may be involved with new or existing residential buildings, commercial projects, home purchase inspections, storm damage, and additional structural needs.
Where Do Structural Engineers Work?
Most structural engineers work for construction or engineering consulting firms or for contractors. Consultants focus on designing structures and tend to work in an office environment. Contractors spend the majority of their time on site where they oversee the construction of a structure.
Structural engineers usually specialize in a particular industry, such as buildings or bridges. This allows them to be familiar with the challenges and requirements specific to their area of expertise.
How To Become A Structural Engineer
To do this job, you will need a bachelors degree in structural or civil engineering. The college should be accredited by ABET. A PE Certification and a masters degree may be required for advanced positions in the field.
What is a Co-op?
Cooperative education or Co-op is a college program that balances classroom education with hands on learning. Co-ops are traditionally full time paid positions that are counted as part of a college curriculum. The position is held for a long duration of time, usually 3-6 months depending on the program. Students typically don't take classes during their co-op period. This is so students can focus on their work experience. Co-ops are part of the curriculum of many college engineering programs.
Co-op or Internship
Not all colleges offer co-ops. Co-ops are not to be confused with internships. Internships are work experiences that are much shorter in duration and are not always paid. They are more flexible than co-ops as they require fewer hours and can be completed over the summer or while a student is in classes.
How Co-ops Work
Colleges with co-op programs usually require the student to complete at least two practical learning experiences. A co-op program can lengthen the time a student is in school. This is because there are semesters where they will be working full time and not attending classes. As a result, many university co-op programs are designed to be completed over 5 years.
There are many colleges with engineering curriculums that incorporate co-ops. Northeastern University, Drexel University and University of Pittsburgh are just a few of the colleges that offer co-op programs in engineering. Overall, co-ops are a great way to explore a field and gain practical experience by working.
What is a PE in Engineering?
A Professional Engineer (PE) is an engineer who is licensed by a state board of registration to practice engineering. A PE license is the engineering profession's highest standard of competence. It is also an assurance of quality as well as a symbol of achievement.
How do you get a PE license?
According to the National Society of Professional Engineers, “To become licensed, engineers must complete a four-year college degree, work under a Professional Engineer for at least four years, pass two intensive competency exams and earn a license from their state's licensure board. Then to retain their licenses, PE's must continually maintain and improve their skills throughout their careers.”
The two exams are the FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) and PE (Professional Engineer). There are different exams for each engineering discipline. The FE exam is often taken during the last year of college. An engineer can stamp and sign engineering drawings and calculations as a PE once the PE exam is passed and the other requirements of the state have been met and they have registered with the state.
Do you need to have attended an ABET-accredited college to get a PE?
Some states require that you have a BS degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program to take the FE exam. Other states allow you to take the exam providing you meet other degree and experience requirements. These requirements are nearly always greater for applicants without an ABET-accredited degree.
Why become a PE?
If you are a PE or on your way to become one, it will make you stand out from the competition when job hunting. You may also get to work on more interesting projects. Only a licensed engineer can submit plans and drawings and be in charge of work in the private sector. A PE license will lead to a higher salary, more respect in your field and greater career potential.
Is a PE required?
In some engineering disciplines, such as Structural Engineering, it is necessary to obtain a PE. If you do not become a PE you can not sign off on engineering drawings and calculations. In some other engineering disciplines such as Chemical Engineering, it is not as necessary to have a PE to work in the field. Overall, obtaining a PE is a valuable designation to achieve as any engineer.
So You Think You Want To Major In Engineering
You are good at math and science so majoring in engineering in college is a great idea. Now that you have picked a major you just have to choose a college to go to. This is not as easy as you might think.
Starting The College Search
There are several things you should consider when starting an engineering major college search. First, do all colleges offer degrees in engineering? Do all colleges with engineering departments offer every type of engineering degree? Lastly, do I need to know what type of engineer I want to become? The answer to all these questions is no, no, and not always.
Does This College Have My Major?
Not every college or university has an engineering department or even offers engineering degrees. In addition, many that have engineering departments don't offer programs in every engineering discipline. If you know the type of engineering you want to study, it is important to find out if the school you are interested in has that program. For example, Union College offers degrees in several engineering fields, but does not offer a degree in Civil Engineering. Likewise University of Pittsburgh does not offer a degree in Aerospace Engineering. It would be a mistake to apply to a college and then find out they do not offer a degree in the field you are looking for.
Do I Need To Declare A Major?
Some colleges like University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign require you to declare to a specific major when you apply, while others like Worcester Polytechnic Institute do not. This is important to know when you are considering prospective colleges. Some schools are more flexible than others. If you do not apply directly into the engineering department in some colleges, such as State University of New York at Buffalo, it is not really possible to declare a major in engineering after the fact.
Can I Change Engineering Majors?
Are you stuck with that specific engineering major once you are enrolled in college? In most cases you can switch engineering majors within a college's engineering department. It is sometimes hard to know exactly what major you will be happiest with while you are still a high school student. It is a good idea to explore the different types of engineering majors to get a better understanding of them before you start looking for colleges. In addition, it is also helpful to look into the types of courses you need to take in that major. This will give you an idea of what you will be studying to see if it is a good fit for you.
Overall, determining the engineering major that interests you most and taking the time to research school departments will make it easy to find the right college for you.
What Is An Engineer?
According to Oxford Dictionary an engineer is, “A person who designs, builds, or maintains engines, machines, or structures.” In today's world the field of engineering encompasses so much more. Engineers are problem solvers, designers, organizers and calculators. The modern engineer is also computer savvy. They will utilize software programs to assist in design and forecasting or developing new software to make things run better. Engineering touches every aspect of life. For example, phones, bridges, appliances, machines, buildings, computers, airplanes, and the list goes on.
An engineer uses science, math and ingenuity to develop solutions to commercial, technical and societal problems. They design structures, materials, systems and processes, while taking into account regulations, safety, cost and practical limitations. Being an engineer is challenging and rewarding. An engineer can be involved in finding answers to problems that confront society.
There are 4 main disciplines that the engineering field is broken down into. They are Mechanical, Chemical, Electrical and Civil Engineering. There are numerous sub disciplines under each of those. Computer Engineering, Construction Engineering, Aerospace Engineering and Biomedical Engineering are just a few of those sub disciplines.
Getting an engineering degree can open the door to other professions as well. The thinking process and skills developed as an engineer are very valuable and highly sought after. There are many engineering graduates who are currently in careers in business, law and medicine. In addition, there are a significant number of CEO's and people in other key management positions in large companies who come from engineering backgrounds. There will always be a demand for the skills of an engineer.
Overall, engineers are designers, calculators, designers, planners, tech savvy and problem solvers. If you are curious about how things work and like to apply what you learn to solve real world problems, engineering may be the right field for you.
Computer Engineering vs. Computer Science
Computer Engineering and Computer Science are two different college majors. They have similarities but are two different fields.
What is a Computer Engineer?
A computer engineer tests, designs and develops computer hardware and software. They work on the design, manufacturing and installation of processors, networks, memory devices and other computer equipment such as keyboards, modems, routers and printers. The field of computer engineering uses principles and techniques of both computer science and electrical engineering. Computer engineers solve problems that occur in computer hardware and design and advance computer technology to make computers faster and smaller. Computer engineers also incorporate computers into machines and other items.
What Is Computer Science?
Computer science generally focuses on programming, algorithms and numerical analysis. Computer scientists design, develop and apply software and software systems. In addition to programing software, computer scientists design and analyze algorithms for solving problems. They also study the performance of software and hardware to update and improve them. In some colleges, the Computer Science major is found in the Engineering Department, while in others it is not.
Difference Between Computer Engineering and Computer Science
The main difference between Computer Science and Computer Engineering is that computer engineers build hardware, while generally computer scientists do not. Both study the inner workings of computers in addition to the software and hardware aspects of computer systems. Both majors study programming and basic computer operation, but computer science studies programming to a greater extent.
Engineering School Accreditation
What Is ABET?
ABET stands for Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. As stated on their website, ABET is “a not for profit, non-governmental accrediting agency for programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology and we are recognized as an accreditor by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation... ABET accreditation provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards of the profession for which that program prepares graduates.”
Why Is This Important?
Companies looking to hire new graduates in engineering fields may look to see if the school the applicant is graduating from has the ABET accreditation. The accreditation gives them a better understanding of the curriculum of the applicant's program. This will help gauge whether the applicant has the skills required to do the job they are looking to fill and will be able to meet current and future needs. ABET has high standards in place that the institution must meet and maintain for their program to have ABET accreditation.
From the student's perspective, ABET accreditation ensures that the curriculum at that school meets the current standards of the industry. The student can be reassured that they will be taught the background and skills necessary to compete in that profession today and in the future. ABET accreditation is recognized world wide. ABET also states that licensing, certification and registration in a technical profession often requires graduation from an ABET accredited program as a minimum qualification. In addition, choosing an ABET accredited program helps to establish your eligibility for many federal grants, loans or scholarships.
Do All Engineering Schools Have ABET Accreditation for all their programs?
No. The accreditation is voluntary. Schools are not required to do this. In addition, the agency accredits programs, not institutions. It is possible for a school to be accredited in one program of study, but not all of their engineering programs.
Should ABET Accreditation Determine Your College Choice?
ABET accreditation should not be the only criteria used to decide which colleges to look at. Many schools have quality programs, but not the official designation, and may be a better fit overall for you. The process to get licensed in a technical field is not hinged on whether you graduate from an ABET accredited program. There are other requirements that can be used instead of it. The accreditation can just speed up the process. In addition, there are many educational programs currently undergoing the process for ABET certification, but haven't reached it yet. One would expect the programs working toward ABET certification to be structured to follow ABET requirements as they are going through the process. A degree from that program will have the benefits of ABET accreditation once it is attained, in some cases even if it is after the fact. In short, ABET accreditation is just one of the things to consider when choosing a college for a degree in engineering.
To find out if a school you are considering is ABET accredited, check out this link for the ABET website. https://amspub.abet.org/aps/name-search?searchType=institution
Why You Should Visit Engineering Colleges
After deciding which engineering field you are interested in, it is a good idea to visit schools that have that program. Every college has its own personality and all schools do not follow the same programs of instruction. This is something every student needs to consider when deciding if that school is the one for them. When you go on some college tours, you will start to see what aspects of schools you like, or do not like. This is the best way to start narrowing down choices of schools. By going on different campuses you will get a feel of what each school is like. The size and look of the campus, what the facilities and classrooms are like, and what the class sizes are will give you an indication of what is best for you. Try to take the engineering school tour at each school, if possible. An engineering tour will give more insight into what the curriculum is like and what life as a student in their program will be like. In addition, talking to current students and speaking to administrators about the specifics of the program you are interested in will give you more information. The administrators can also provide more specifics on the requirements for admittance to their program.
If you are not sure where to begin, first start exploring colleges that may be a short distance from where you live. This is a great way to start narrowing down what type of schools you are interested in without spending a lot of time and money.