The field of Engineering is a branch of applied mathematics and science that encompasses a broad range of specialized disciplines and sub-disciplines, each with its own requirements and areas of technology. It is the science, discipline, or art of applying the sciences of physics and mathematics and using physical resources and natural laws to design, develop, construct, or alter a wide variety of structures, materials, devices, machines, apparatus, engines, processes, and systems that are intended to support a specific set of criteria.
While technological advancements continue to create new fields, or disciplines, (e.g., Software Engineering, Molecular Engineering), the main categories of Engineering have historically included:
An individual who practices Engineering is known as an Engineer. At the start of their career, an Engineer is trained in their specific discipline; throughout their career, they are more than likely to be exposed to and learn other disciplines as a result of working in related areas.
A principle and very critical task of an Engineer is to identify, understand, and interpret the limitations or restrictions of a design in order to produce a successful outcome (taking many factors into consideration such as safety, cost, production and servicing abilities, flexibility for future enhancements, and more). And, while each profession has its own specific requirements, some of the more commonly shared characteristics/requirements include, but are not limited to:
Engineering Colleges and Education
Individuals entering a career in Engineering must possess a high school diploma or GED and complete a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a specific discipline (e.g., agricultural engineering, nuclear engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering); programs can take four to five years to complete. Some occupations (e.g., Nuclear Engineering) may require a master's or doctoral degree (Ph.D.) for some jobs.
In addition to the specialized courses of study for each discipline, most typical four-year programs include the following courses: basic science, math, introductory engineering, and social science. Internships are generally part of a four-year program and offer an individual the opportunity to be exposed to and apply what they have learned in the classroom, build their skills, and make connections with individuals in their field of study, thereby enhancing their chances of securing a job opportunity.
Depending upon the specific occupation, new graduates entering their career may receive on-the-job training under the supervision and guidance of experienced Engineers. Such programs may last two to four years. Large organizations may also provide formal classroom training.
Certification is available in all disciplines of Engineering and are available through a variety of organizations. All states require Engineers to be licensed (requirements vary from state-to-state), and the registration of Engineers whose work may impact life, health, or property; again, licensing requirements vary by state.
Schools for Engineering are listed in the column to the left.
This table shows summary data on occupations in the US. Clicking on any occupation name brings you to a page showing job prospects and salaries for that occupation in hundreds of metro areas across the country, with data updated through 2008.(Where data is denoted by an asterisk (*), summary info was not available.
The green bars in the table below indicate the relative salary levels and growth rates of each occupation, compared to the others. The levels are determined by sorting the occupations (by salary or growth rate, separately) and then dividing them into ten groups corresponding to the the ten possible green bar levels. So a single bar means the occupation is in the bottom 10% for that characteristic compared to others on this page.
Click each Occupation title for more details.
|Occupation||Jobs||Median Pay||% Growth
|Computer Hardware Engineers||73,370|
|Urban and Regional Planners||37,120|
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Engineering.
Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.