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Engineering Career Paths

There are many different factors to consider when choosing an Engineering degree. These factors include more than just starting salary. You should also consider lifestyle preferences. What will your day-to-day work life be like? Also certain degrees are prerequisites for more advanced degrees. A degree in Mechanical Engineering is often the basis for advanced degrees in Aeronautics or Petroleum Engineering.

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 Factors to Consider to Choosing an Engineering Path:

Work Settings:  Civil Engineers spend time on construction sites and sites for future construction.  They also spend time in offices doing paperwork or work on computers using AutoCad, etc. They can often decide to be indoors or outdoors depending on the weather!

Other engineering fields will find you largely working in a lab, such as biomedical engineering.  Petroleum engineers will find themselves traveling the world in exotic locations but also areas that are not the most hospitable.  Imagine yourself on an ocean rig far into the North Atlantic, for example.

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Salary:  Just as explained above, Petroleum engineers often have to working in less then civilized environments but this is compensated by higher than normal salaries.  Nuclear engineers are also well compensated.  Certain fields of engineering require advanced degrees and do not employ as many engineers as say civil engineers.  Consequently, their salaries are also higher.

The Common Good:  In a very true sense ALL engineers benefit society.  Engineers work to make the world a better place and/or make our lives more rich and our futures more full of potential.  Environmental engineers look for innovative ways to to protect our environment as well as ways use its resources in ways that benefit society.  Biomedical and biological engineers use science to discover and implement breakthroughs that can save lives and add quality to our lives.  In this way engineering careers offer a chance to fulfill yourself professionally, economically and culturally.

However the benefits to society vary for different engineering fields.  For some, the benefits are relatively short term; new buildings and structures can be visualized and constructed along firm rules of physics and science.

For many engineers, the work is part of longer-term goals such as curing diseases or developing new technologies that can lead to breakthroughs in energy or the environment, or both.

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Schooling:  Depending on which engineering path you choose there will be decisions to be made as far as the amount of schooling you are prepared for.  Students looking for careers in fields such as electrical, civil and computer engineering can find employment with degrees at the associate level.  Other careers in fields such as aerospace, petroleumbiomedical and nuclear engineers will find competition at the BS level and may need to have degrees at the masters level or higher.  Also, for fields such as these, engineers will have to have taken a good amount of courses in foundational engineering fields such as mechanical engineering and, in the case of biomedical engineering, chemical and biological engineering.

What Areas Of Engineering Are Taught At Top Engineering Schools?

Now that you’ve decided that you want to be an engineer what is next? The next question is what kind of engineer?  This fast moving and leading edge field offers many opportunities, no matter where your interest lies.  There are numerous areas in which you can specialize with a degree from a top engineering school.

Computer engineers create the computers we use every day, both the hardware and the software.  In order to get a job creating either hardware or software, you will need a degree from a top engineering school.  From IBM to Google, the most successful tech companies are always looking for graduates ready and willing to work.

Civil engineers create the framework of our towns and cities.  Everything from the homes we live in to the bridges we use have been designed by an engineer.  Getting a civil engineering degree will allow you to have a hand in the design and construction of anything from a new neighbourhood to a world class sky scraper.

Environmental engineers work on developing solutions to the problems humans are having with the environment. They use their skills to create ways to improve our use of natural resources and heal some of the damage we have done to the world around us.  If you are passionate about the environment, getting a degree from a qualified engineering college will give you the skills that you need to get a job where you can have a real, positive, impact.

Biomedical and biomechanical engineering combine engineering with the human body.  If you want to create prostheses for people with missing limbs or design better equipment for athletes, this is the field for you.  You can help others regain some part of their life that they are missing.

Engineering management is the field of engineering that focuses on projects as a big picture.  As an engineering manager, you will be able to estimate the cost of a project, and give an overview of a new project, from the planning stages to implementation.  You will be able to account for all the details, from safety to project worth. This is a very important function to fulfill for any company that builds or creates large projects.

Engineering as a whole is a huge field, with many varied areas of specialties.  These are but a few of the many options.  When choosing where you will study for your degree, make sure the school you choose offers programs in the speciality in which you are most interested. Getting a degree from a top engineering school is the best way to get your foot in the door of your chosen field.  Your potential employer will appreciate your education and the skills that you have developed through your schooling.