The field of engineering is a vast one, encompassing aerospace, agriculture, the environment, energy, oil, chemistry, medicine, and architecture. All engineers will have a few things in common: using advanced mathematics and science principles to solve complex problems; design, create, and implement solutions; and analyze how systems function to improve upon performance.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fastest growing subfields are in biomedical; engineering, growing at a rate of 62% by 2020; civil engineering, growing 19% by 2020; environmental engineering, growing by 22% by 2020; and petroleum engineering, growing by 17% by 2020.
While many engineering careers require a bachelor’s degree or higher, there are associate degrees that will prepare graduates for entry-level jobs at engineering firms. Graduate certificates and degrees in engineering will advance professionals into engineering management or senior-level engineering professions.
- Associate in Computer Aided Design and Architectural Drafting, ITT Technical Institute: Earning a degree in computer-aided drafting and design can prepare graduates for certificates and careers working with architects and civil engineers. Civil engineers build structures such as bridges and buildings based on the work done by drafters. Courses at ITT Tech cover topics including residential construction, commercial construction, green building trends and technology, and digital walkthrough and visualization. However, the degree does not teach the skills required for construction management.
- Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology, University of North Carolina, Charlotte: This baccalaureate degree completion program offers junior and senior level courses nearly entirely online for students who already hold an associate degree in a connected field. Only labs must be completed in person, and they are typically offered over the summer. Students will study linear circuits, digital logic and systems, microprocessors, electronic circuits and systems, control systems, and power systems, essentially learning how to build the systems engineers use on a daily basis.
- Graduate Certificate in Petroleum Engineering, Texas Tech University: For students who already hold a degree in another engineering field, or for students with a degree in another field but with basic petroleum engineering education, this 18-hour certificate offers coursework in petroleum engineering and geology. Courses cover topics including drilling, production, reservoir engineering, and formation evaluation.
- Master of Science in Systems Engineering, Colorado Tech University: Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field that evaluates successful systems. Systems engineers will examine operations, performance, cost, timeframe, training, manufacturing, and disposal of a particular system. Systems engineers can work in several different types of engineering subfields.
- Master of Engineering in Engineering Management, University of Nebraska: Offering four, 10-week courses per year, the engineering management master’s program is designed for career advancement for current engineers. The 36-credit-hour non-thesis program includes coursework in organizational structure, statistics, risk, economic analysis, project management, evaluation procedures, and business theories and practices.
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