engineers form the backbone of our society. from the civil engineers constructing our bridges to the mechanical engineers handling the design of our vehicles, it would be hard to imagine our life without these professionals. if you are interested in learning how to become an engineer, but are unsure of the options, our quick guide will help you understand the steps you need to take.
is this the right career for you?
before you make the decision that you want to become an engineer, it is important to ask yourself a few questions to decide if you have what it takes. for starters, engineers deal with complex problems which require their expertise to solve on a daily basis. if you possess good problem-solving and analytical skills, you might be able to come up with a good solution to the problem presented to you. having solid mathematical ability is also required, since you will be requiring the use of calculus, trigonometry, and advanced topics in mathematics to complete your tasks. good engineers also need to be good managers, because senior engineers will be overseeing the progress of the project, ensuring that it follows the client's expectations.
how to become an engineer: the education
becoming an engineer of any kind will require you to enroll in an engineering degree with your chosen field as the specialization. the bachelors of engineering (b.eng) degree is a standard program offered by universities across the us. whether you choose to become a chemical engineer or an aeronautical engineer, the b.eng degree will remain constant. what will vary is the curriculum. depending on your field, you will be taken through different courses with an emphasis on building your knowledge and skill set. so while chemical engineers will be taking courses in organic chemistry and transition metals, for instance, mechanical engineers will be learning about combustion engines and methods used to understand structural integrity.
the bachelor's degree lasts about 4 years and will provide you with a holistic set of skills needed for your field. this degree is sufficient for entry-level positions. if you wish to assume more responsibility in the workplace, or enter academia, it would be a good idea to obtain a master's degree or a ph.d. there are several accredited universities that offer online graduate engineering degrees. if you are working full-time but wish to pursue a graduate degree, this opportunity may suit your needs because you may be able to keep working full-time while taking your classes online. entry into university programs requires you to have at least a high school diploma with some coursework in mathematics, physics, and chemistry.
employment opportunities and pay
engineers are among the higher-earning professionals in the workforce. your exact salary will vary depending on who you work for, your expertise, and where you work. however, the median annual wages for 2010 for all engineering professionals was much higher than the national median wage for all other professions. growth in the engineering professions is also reported to be quite high, meaning that between 2010 and 2020, the number of job openings will also increase. depending on your specialty, you can work for the federal government or within private engineering firms as well.