If there’s a problem to be solved, an engineer will unravel the way to a solution, no doubt. With innovative minds, engineers work tirelessly to apply their knowledge to an industry in hopes of solving the world’s problems. Through the use of math and science, they meld materials, processes, and designs to create structures, systems or machinery to make life easier and safer for everyone. As you look around you, rest assured, our modern conveniences were first designed and built by an engineer, to whom we owe a huge THANKS!
Do you aspire to be an engineer? Perhaps your interest in engineering began as a child constructing sand castles on the beach. Of course, you probably didn’t realize it then, but your natural curiosity in all things might have been the catalyst to a budding career as an engineer. From there, most students who excel in mathematics, science and critical-thinking skills, combined with, creativity, innovation, and reasoning skills perform best in an engineering-related career field. Other critical attributes of the engineer include being a team player, as well as, detail-oriented and an effective communicator. In some applications, an engineer must also be an excellent leader.
While in high school, you can begin preparations for college to become an engineer by utilizing all available courses, such as a large variety of math classes, in addition to, science, advanced physics, biology, and chemistry coursework. Furthermore, you will need to obtain, at the very least, a bachelor’s degree to gain an entry-level position within the industry. Your degree must be obtained from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). In addition, you must pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination and gain four years of real-world work experience within the field. You will then also need to pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examination. If you intend to provide your services, in the field of engineering, to the public, you must gain state licensure. Will you need a master’s or doctoral degree? As always, the more knowledge you obtain in your field, the better. If you would like to excel and receive better job opportunities and chances for advancement, graduate degrees are recommended or sometimes required.
The traditional university bachelor’s degree program in engineering will take you four years to complete. Are engineering degrees available online? In some concentrations, online bachelor’s degree programs within the field of engineering are now available. In recent years, online distance learning programs have increased in this field due to the convenience and flexibility that an online program can provide. Some degree programs are offered entirely online, while others require the occasional personal appearance. Typically, Bachelor of Engineering degrees obtained through an online distance learning program will take you about four years to complete, as well, depending on your dedication.
As you can imagine, the field of engineering offers a wide array of opportunities, as well as, a full display of career specializations. Also, careers in engineering are expected to grow exponentially over the upcoming years and offer one of the best opportunities for a better-than-average salary. Depending on many variables, salaries can range from $52,000 annually for entry-level positions in any specialization to upwards of $128,230 to $208,000 per year for the petroleum engineer with experience.
Regarding job outlook, the most popular and largest fields in engineering are in the areas of chemical engineering, civil engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering. Also, if money is your top priority, the most lucrative career choices include chemical engineering, computer engineering, architectural engineering, petroleum engineering, aerospace engineering, and electrical engineering. As you consider which field is best for you, determine in what arena you are most interested, as well as, the educational requirements, earning potential, and the job outlook in your area of the country.
Below, please see a brief description of the different types of career opportunities that are available. Also, please be aware that some concentrations can appear to be quite similar and may overlap in basic descriptions; although, individualized and detailed responsibilities may differ, depending on your degree requirements and your employer’s expectations.
CONCENTRATIONS WITHIN THE FIELD OF ENGINEERING
AEROSPACE: This field was previously referred to as aeronautical engineering as it mostly involved the study of airplanes. However, the field has expanded to include space travel, missiles, and satellites. Aerospace engineers study the aerodynamics of air travel.
AGRICULTURAL: An agricultural engineer works closely with industry leaders in the field of farming. They design machinery to increase production, assist with harvesting, irrigation and ground preparation.
ARCHITECTURAL: As an architectural engineer, you will be responsible for the design and planning stages of a building project, including overseeing all aspects of the construction process, as well as, its structural soundness. If you’d rather focus on the duties of the architect, please see our choices for the Best Online Schools for Bachelor of Architecture Degree Programs.
AUTOMOTIVE: Automotive engineering is an exciting field to pursue. In this career, you can design automobiles, as well as, work within the realm of manufacturing, performance or systems design.
BIOMECHANICAL: If you are an environmentalist, a career as a biomechanical engineer is for you. In this position, you can combine the study of organisms with mechanics to solve issues related to waste control, pollution-free waterways, or the safe use of plastics.
BIOMEDICAL: Healthcare technological advancements depend on the biomedical engineer. In this critical position, biomedical engineers continuously work to improve diagnostic devices, such as MRI and EKG machines used to detect illnesses. If you are interested in the field of healthcare but do not desire to have direct patient contact, a career in biomedical engineering is perfect for you!
CERAMICS: The medical, electronics and mining fields often require products that are derived from ceramics. Ceramics are primarily used because they can resist heating and cooling. As a ceramics engineer, you’ll have the opportunity to develop new types of ceramic materials to use in all types of applications.
CHEMICAL: The field of chemical engineering covers a broad array of subcategories. Chemicals are used in the industrial setting, as well as, food processing and pharmaceuticals, among others. As a chemical engineer, you will use your knowledge in microbiology and physics to create chemicals for use in everyday products.
CIVIL: Civil engineering focuses on the building of each town’s infrastructure. They are responsible for the design and construction of railways, water supply systems, bridges, roads, tunnels, and dams. This concentration in the field of engineering is one of the most popular subcategories and, also provides the most room for growth due to new technological advancements and the need to rebuild old and unsafe highways and bridges. Also, infrastructures must be improved to handle our expanding population in cities, as well as, in rural areas. If you would like to learn more, see our choices for the Best Online Schools for Bachelor of Civil Engineering Degree Programs.
COMPUTER: Computer engineering is another hugely popular field, as well as, a very versatile degree to own. Many opportunities are provided through this degree program that combines electrical engineering with computer science. As all businesses today rely on computer technology, career opportunities in information technology, cybersecurity and software application development are plentiful, among others.
ELECTRICAL: Electrical engineers focus on providing efficient ways to provide power for all types of industries, such as architecture, manufacturing, electrical power plants, aerospace, and many others. There are many subcategories in the electrical engineering field to consider.
ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT: Do you aspire to be a leader in management? If so, you can combine your engineering degree with business management training. You will oversee projects and lead other engineering teams in their efforts.
GEOLOGICAL: In this concentration, you will test ground conditions, as well as, assess natural resources and the possibilities for natural disasters, such as earthquakes. Before a company begins construction, you will need to use your engineering knowledge and skills to research and provide pertinent information used in building and mining.
GEOMATICS: As a geomatics engineer, you should enjoy mapping. Through this specialization, you will conduct studies on land layouts and its ability to withstand construction of buildings or infrastructure. You should be proficient in GPS technology and will make 3D maps of terrain.
INDUSTRIAL: Industrial engineers are trained to maximize a company’s profits and minimize their expenses. They work to help businesses run smoothly and to eliminate waste. An industrial engineer can work for a company or operate as a consultant.
MANUFACTURING: The field of manufacturing engineering offers a wide array of subcategories; however, its primary focus is to assess the manufacturing process and regulate quality control systems of plants and corporations to maximize production.
MARINE: Another exciting field to consider is that of the marine engineer. If you enjoy the water and what the ocean has to offer, you should combine your interest, or perhaps even your hobby, with engineering. You will focus on subjects such as marine transportation and new types of energy sources, such as wind farms.
MATERIALS SCIENCE: As everything is made of something, you will focus on what things are made of as a materials science engineer. Today, environmentally acceptable materials are in high demand; although, they must also be durable and usable. Your job will be to develop new materials and study their applications in detail to determine their sustainability.
MECHANICAL: Perhaps the broadest discipline of engineering is that of the mechanical engineer. This industry includes the design and manufacturing of every product known to man, and focuses on the machines that make the products. Mechanical engineering can be applied to medical products, transportation, or nuclear power production and everything in between. Subcategories of mechanical engineering will easily overlap with other specialties, such as electrical engineering.
MECHATRONICS: This field combines electronics engineering with mechanical engineering. It also often involves the field of computer engineering and control engineering. In this position, one is responsible for the design and implementation of smart machines, such as robotics that require human-machine interaction.
METALLURGICAL: A metallurgical engineer’s focus pertains to the world of metals. They know how to purify metals and how to use them correctly in the design and manufacturing of machinery.
MICROELECTRONICS: As a subcategory of electrical engineering, microelectronics engineers work on small electrical components, such as microchips and circuit boards. They design microelectronic prototypes, test them out, and record their data to help in the production of the newest technology available.
MINING: This concentration deals with the mining industry, of course. A mining engineer is responsible for extracting minerals, such as coal and metals, from the earth in an environmentally safe manner. You can expect to work closely with geologists in this field, as well.
NANOTECHNOLOGY: A nanotechnology engineer works with tiny atoms and molecules. They often focus on research to develop new medications or food additives, for example. They also develop and improve tiny electrical materials used in a variety of products, such as microchips. A nanotechnology engineer designs and produces prototypes, as well as, tests their products for accuracy and records the data.
NUCLEAR: As expected, the field of nuclear engineering is growing by leaps and bounds. The primary concern for a nuclear engineer revolves around the use of nuclear power. They also design, develop and maintain our nuclear power plants, as well as, create new applications, such as in the field of medicine.
PAPER: Paper engineering, a form of chemical engineering, involves the methods used to produce paper and cardboard. They are tasked with using raw materials and turning them into paper products that the public uses daily.
PETROLEUM: Perhaps offering the highest salary in the field, petroleum engineering focuses on the need for oil and gas, as it is crucial to all industries. Depending on your concentration, you can choose to specialize in drilling for oil, preventing natural disasters due to gathering oil, locating oil reservoirs, or developing new methods of harvesting oil. To learn more, see our selections of the Best Online Schools for Master’s in Petroleum Engineering Degree Programs.
PHOTONICS: Photonics engineers concentrate their efforts on the topic of radiant energy, such as light. They work to improve or develop fiber optics, lasers, and imaging to help design components used in products, such as scanners or computers.
ROBOTICS: As the name suggests, robotics engineers are responsible for a machinery’s automation and its ability to assist with repeat commands, primarily found in manufacturing. They often oversee maintenance to maximize production and efficiency.
STRUCTURAL: In the field of structural engineering, you will be tasked with designing various structures, as well as, understanding how weather-related issues will effect them long-term, such as dirt erosion, wind, and corrosion. This subcategory is closely related to that of the civil engineer.
SUSTAINABILITY: Sustainability engineering entails the social, economic and environmental aspects of the design and implementation of a product or system. They ensure that each application does not harm our natural environment; therefore, reducing the amount of energy, fossil fuels, water, and natural resources used.
The field of engineering, as you can see, offers such a wide variety of concentrations, upwards of 200 different types. Choosing a subcategory can be a daunting task. As an online Bachelor of Engineering degree is one of the most popular degrees to hold, you will find that many lucrative and rewarding opportunities will be available to you upon graduation in whichever field you choose. Remember the words of Albert Einstein… “Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been.” Put your imagination and creativity to work and enroll in an online Bachelor of Engineering degree program today!