If you want to have a career in engineering, you have two options from which to choose. You can be an engineeroran engineering technician. Each of these has different educational and licensing requirements, as well as different duties and salaries. See the chart below for a quick look at the differences between these two career choices. Both engineers and engineering technicians can also choose from a variety of specialties which are discussed in the individual career profiles.
Engineers apply the theories and principles of science and mathematics in researching and developing solutions to technical problems. To become an engineer one must earn a bachelor's degree in engineering. Some jobs are available for those who have earned a bachelor's degree in physical science or mathematics. Engineers who offer their services directly to the public must be licensed. Engineers held 1.6 million jobs in 2008. The highest number of these jobs were in civil engineering (278,400), mechanical engineering (238,700), industrial engineering (214,800), electrical engineering (157,800) and electronic engineering, not including computer engineering (143,700).
Educational Requirements for Engineers:
To get an entry-level engineering job, one usually needs a bachelor's degree in engineering. Sometimes a bachelor's degree in physical science or mathematics may suffice, especially in high-demand specialties. Generally engineering students specialize in a particular branch of engineering but may eventually work in a related branch.
How Do Engineers Advance?
As entry level engineers gain experience and knowledge, they may work more independently, making decisions, developing designs, and solving problems. With further experience, engineers may become technical specialists or supervisors over a staff or team of engineers or technicians. Eventually, they may become engineering managers, or may move into other managerial or sales jobs.
Job Outlook for Engineers:
In general, engineering employment is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2018, although outlook will vary by branch.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that biomedical, environmental and civil engineering will experience much faster than average growth, while employment in petroleum engineering, industrial engineering and geological and mining engineering will grow at a faster than average rate. Other branches will grow either as fast as the average or slower than the average for all occupations, or will see a decline in employment.
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