The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines engineers as those who “apply the theories and principles of science and mathematics to research and develop economical solutions to technical problems.” In other words, engineers are the ones who solve complex problems for the rest of us.
There are approximately 1.5 million engineers in the U.S. today. Engineering is a challenging job with decent pay (an engineer’s pay is higher than most with just a bachelor’s degree). In fact, the average salary for an engineer was reported at just slightly over $65,000 in 2002. The top 10% of all engineers earned more than $90,000. Of course, an engineer’s salary ultimately depends on their location and specialty.
Engineers find employment virtually anywhere innovation takes place. Engineers design and manufacture machines, processes, systems and even economical structures. They commonly work in the government, research, industry, military, teaching, management or consulting sectors.
There are more than 25 recognized career tracks for the engineer. And you can rest assured that as technology advances, engineering specialties will only grow in number. A few of the major engineering specialties include; aerospace, chemical, civil, electrical industrial, materials, mechanical, and software engineering.
You will at least need a bachelor’s degree from a university engineering program to qualify for an engineering position. The degree must be from a college or university accredited by the ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).
To get into most college engineering programs, a student is expected to have completed two years of high school algebra and one year of trigonometry. They should have also completed one year of both chemistry and physics.
As you’ve probably heard, engineers are typically very good at math and science. So if the thought of algebra makes you squirm, this career may not be the right one for you.
The best engineers enjoy complex problem solving, and are true inventors at heart. If you choose engineering as a career, you can expect to be right on the cutting edge of technology. You will turn ideas into reality and solve problems that better society.