Engineers provide the design ingenuity and technical expertise behind most innovation today. Whether it's cars or computers, machines or medicine, engineers apply the scientific and mathematics insight that make technical devices work.
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Profile of an Engineer
Engineers participate in all stages of technical development, from design to production to quality control and maintenance. Most engineers specialize in a particular area of design, such as:
- Industrial engineering
- Mechanical engineering
- Environmental engineering
- Systems engineering
- Materials engineering
- Civil engineering
- Aeronautical engineering
- Biomechanical engineering
- Electrical engineering
An engineer works with product managers, R scientists, and manufacturing specialists to develop and maintain machines, structures, or systems for use in many commercial applications. From robotics to nuclear energy, chemical processing to aerospace transport, the uses of engineering knowledge are limitless.
How to Prepare for a Career in Engineering
Prepare for an engineering career by seeking formal training in the field. You can take engineering classes or pursue an engineering degree to start your career; options include: associate's degree, bachelor of science, master of science; and engineering classes and continuing education certificates. The four-year bachelor's degree is the standard entry-level qualification for an engineering career. For a phased approach, start with a two-year associate's degree and pursue the bachelor's while you work as an engineering technician. For advancement and supervisory roles, continue on to the master's degree in engineering.
Engineering Career Outlook
Engineers face a stable career outlook, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's latest report. Employment will grow an estimated 11 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is about average for all occupations. Engineering specialties with the best growth outlook include environmental and biomedical engineering. Salaries also vary among specialties, ranging from $72,850 for agricultural engineers to $119,140 for petroleum engineers. Engineering programs train you to apply science and mathematics to solve practical problems. This versatile training is the key to launching a career in technical R either as a design innovator or business leader.