Summary of Engineering Degrees
In a classic sense Engineering combines disciplines such as Maths and Science to produce creative solutions to real world problems. As example of this might be Civil Engineering which involves the construction of infrastructure for a rapidly expanding population and the problems that arise due to this including: traffic congestion, deterioration of public infrastructure, natural disasters (which due to climate change are likely to become more frequent) and integrating new technology. There are many types of engineering degrees available for students which include:
Aerospace, Civil, Mechanical, Biomedical, Biomechanical, Petroleum, Chemical, Computer, Electrical, Microelectronic, Environmental, Marine, Architectural, Geological, Industrial and Nuclear. For an overview of each of these engineering types please read below.
If you are interested in a career as an engineer and have the education required this list of engineering degrees should provide you with a general idea of some of the industries you may find yourself involved in.
As the name implies an Aerospace Engineering Degree involves air and space travel. This might include military aircraft design and development, commercial airline design and satellite technology. Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering are often used interchangeably to describe this type of engineering degree.
Technically Aeronautical Engineering is defined by aircraft that remain in our atmosphere but in most cases both terms are used to describe the same thing.
- Aerospace Engineers may work in the private sector or for the military developing aircraft and weapons technology.
- Aerospace engineers have a thorough understanding of aerodynamics (the interaction between air movement and a solid object).
- Graduate programs teach astrodynamics, or orbital mechanics, which includes the study of orbital maneuvers, trajectories, and the reaction to propulsive maneuvers.
Students who undertake an Aerospace Engineering Degree and complete a bachelor’s program will have the training necessary to qualify for an entry-level position in the field. Job opportunities are available in many different industries allowing students to choose a specialty that most closely matches their personal interests.
Civil Engineering is a broad term that describes engineering that involves the development of infrastructure. This may include project management, design and maintenance.
- Civil Engineers primarily design buildings but are also involved in railways and roads construction, bridges, sewage systems and project management in general.
- They must posess knowledge of local, state, and federal regulations related to construction and public safety.
- Civil Engineers also play a primary role in rebuilding after natural disasters because they are able to evaluate the structural integrity of damaged infrastructure.
Civil engineers may work in several sub-disciplines of engineering that may involve geophysics, atmospheric sciences, surveying, or transportation. Civil Engineers may work in the private or public sector at any level.
Mechanical Engineers are in demand in a wide range of industries. A Mechanical Engineering Degree involves the design of mechanical systems for processes involved in areas such as manufacturing, aeronautics, nanotechnology, nuclear power production, heating, cooling, and ventilation. A primary focus is on thermodynamics, structural analysis, materials science, and kinematics.
Another type of engineering degree you might consider is Biomedical. This arena of engineering is the study of medicine and biology. This is considered a very fast moving industry and while challenging can be an extremely rewarding path to take.
Biomedical Engineers apply their design skills to biological and medical sciences to assist in advancements in healthcare treatment technology. They develop and maintain diagnostic devices, including EEGs, MRIs, and other imaging machines physicians use to diagnosis their patients’ medical problems.
Their work produces biocompatible prostheses and micro-implants responsible for improving quality of life. Pharmaceutical companies rely on their expertise to develop new medications that will receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating diseases.
A Biomechanical Engineering Degree is essentially the study of organisms and mechanics and how the two relate (and combine) to solve problems. This is a growing industry and practical applications may include environmental challenges such as waste control and keeping our waterways free from pollution.
A petroleum engineer is responsible for the extraction of oil and gas from beneath the earth and developing new methods and technologies that are more efficient and less damaging to the environment.
Petroleum is one of the highest paid types of engineering degrees available. These specialists play a significant role in assisting gas and oil companies in locating reservoirs beneath the earth’s surface. The engineer will focus on estimating the volume of hydrocarbons available and designing a plan for recovery that is cost effective. These complicated computations require an understanding of how gas, water, and oil interact within porous rock when subjected to high pressure.
Chemical Engineering Degree
As the name implies chemical engineering is the practical application of chemistry. This type of engineering degree includes developing technology or machinery that solves problems by utilizing chemical reactions.
A chemical engineer creates new products, including cosmetics, foods, pharmaceuticals, beverages, and cleaners from raw chemicals. Some specialists study the processes involved to design manufacturing plants and machinery. Chemical reaction engineers are responsible for making sure a manufacturing facility is working at full efficiency by managing conditions and processes.
Computer Engineering Degree
Another industry that continues to expand rapidly is of course the IT industry. This involves both computer sciences and electrical engineering. Successful graduates may find themselves in roles as diverse as telecommunications, software development and manufacturing. Perhaps unsurprisingly this type of degree is considered one with very good future potential.
An Electrical Engineering Degree involves the study of energy e.g. electrical, hydro and natural sources of energy such as wind and solar energy. An Electrical Engineer develops technologies to assist with the practical application of such energies.
Electrical Engineers design components for electronic equipment, communications systems, power grids, automobiles and more. Studies center on the application of electronics, electromagnetism, and electricity. Fields within this category include digital computers, signal processing, and control systems.
One of the most popular types of engineering degrees, Environmental Engineering involves the study of science and engineering principles to find ways of improving our environment.
Some training programs list environmental engineering as a category under civil engineering while others treat it as a separate discipline. The work of Environmental Engineers results in the design and construction of various ecosystems. Some focus on research and development in the field of fire protection to implement processes designed to reduce the damage caused by smoke and flames. Sanitation experts improve sewage systems while hydraulic specialists apply the principles of hydrology to plan water resources.
As the name implies a Marine Engineering graduate will find themselves working in the marine industry. This type of engineer will apply their knowledge to the development of ocean technologies such as propulsion and power generation for boats, ships and other marine transportation.
Do you like to see your ideas come to life? Then becoming an Architectural Engineer could be the perfect career choice.
As an Architectural engineer, you will be involved in the construction, planning, and design phase of projects. In conjunction with other team members, your focus will be mainly on building structure and interior design. This includes: heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrical, fire protection, lighting, plumbing, and other systems required for the project. In some areas of the county earthquakes and hurricanes will also be factored into the design plan.
Do you have a passion for the preservation of resources and environmental projects? Then you must consider Geological Engineering as a future career.
Geological engineers combine both engineering skills and research skills for mining and construction projects. Construction firms hire talented Geological engineers to assess ground conditions and other natural hazards (earthquakes, etc.) before starting construction projects. With declining natural resources, Geological engineers are in demand to do research for environmental projects; both for private and governmental agencies.
Is efficiency in your blood? Then take a closer look at a career in Industrial Engineering.
Industrial engineers typically work for manufacturing companies, or can end up as a consultant. The role of an Industrial engineer is to increase productivity and reduce waste and spending. Many new start-ups will hire an Industrial engineer to do logistic studies for location, shipping needs, and other variables for their business. Industrial engineers are also hired by non-manufacturing companies to evaluate employe productivity and other parts of their operations; which will improve the overall efficiencies of that entity.
If you can’t get enough of the world of electronics, then becoming a Microelectronic Engineer could be a fulfilling career.
As a Microelectronic engineer, you will specialize in the development and design of semiconductors, circuit boards, and microchips used in a wide range of industrial applications. Electronics is embedded in the fabric of many products these days, so the demand for microelectronic engineers is high. Microelectronic engineers may also assist in the technical writing aspect of a project, as well as perform some hands on tests to verify product conformance.
If you have an affinity for the science of nuclear power, then becoming a Nuclear Engineer is a career that will be the perfect fit.
Nuclear engineers are at the core of development for the ever growing use of nuclear power. The medical field has become the beneficiary of many new developments using equipment designed by nuclear engineers. As a workplace, nuclear engineers work for consulting firms, power plants, and government agencies. As expected, the demand for nuclear engineers in nuclear power plants is high. The design, implementation, and maintenance of the plant is one aspect of their duties, but a move to supervision/management is quite common too.
Other Types of Engineering Degrees
This is by no means a complete list. There are many different engineering degrees available and if you are considering studying engineering it’s wise to get a feel for as many areas of engineering as possible before committing to what can be a challenging yet rewarding area of study.