An Intro to Studying Engineering

Engineering is a discipline that covers a lot of different fields of study. An engineer can work in dozens of different settings, and within those setting are needs for many, many different jobs. One thing all engineers have in common in where they started – they studied engineering at a school or university. Starting with the core base curriculum, engineering students begin to specialize the further they advance, picking the type of engineering work that they are best suited for.

Engineers on a building site, photo by  USACEpublicaffairs

Engineers on a building site, photo by USACEpublicaffairs

Now more than ever, this education, and these degrees in engineering in its many forms, are available through distance learning programs

Before you get started, here’s what you need to know. I’d like to cover the basics now, and then in later columns devote more time to the specific branches. Bottom line, here are (most of) the major branches of engineering

Civil Engineering – This field is devoted to designing and constructing public works and buildings; brides, tunnels, dams, roads, airports, water supplies, and the like. Civil engineers work on big projects that serve the general public.

Electrical Engineering – The study and design of electrical and electronic systems. With our increasingly technological society, the tech is always evolving, but among other things this kind of engineer will study circuits, generators, optical fibers, electromagnetics, and telecommunications.

Chemical Engineering – This is all about using chemistry and chemical processes on a large commercial scale. They take concepts and research from the laboratory, including physics and biology as well as chemistry to make compounds and chemicals.

Mechanical Engineering – This is the design of mechanical systems, like power grids, energy plants, weapons, vehicles, engines, aircraft, and aerospace products, just to name a few.

Other fields on engineering, more specialized, include aerospace, nuclear, petroleum, architectural, software, computer systems, and biomedical.

So if you decide to pick Engineering as an educational path, you see there is still a world of different options to choose from. The best bet would be to research more about what fields of study interest you, and then look for schools that offer those type of courses. In a perfect world, you will find a school that offers several different engineering programs, so you can transfer credits if you decide to switch your focus during study. After all, new fields of engineering become prevalent very quickly, and being on the cutting edge a new field is the best way to ensure job security.

Engineering requires a substantial amount of educations. An aspiring engineer will need to start with a Bachelor’s degree in the field (which will take anywhere from three to six years depending on the program), and then move up to a Graduate Certificate, and more than like a Masters degree will ultimately be required for upward job mobility.

Tomorrow I’ll take a closer look at the Graduate and Masters degree programs.

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