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How to Become An Engineer

Engineering is the science of acquiring and applying knowledge to design, construction, and/or analysis of works for practical purposes. Most institutes of higher learning offer engineering programs at various degree levels, including bachelors, masters and in some cases, doctoral programs in a concentrated engineering specified field.

Most undergraduate engineering programs require four years to complete.

How to Become an Engineer?

This question is on the minds of many junior and senior high school students. In order to become an engineer, you must first choose the engineering track that best suits your academic goals. Various engineering tracks include software engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, petroleum engineering, civil engineering and computer engineering.

how long does it take to become an engineer

Getting Enrolled in an Engineering Program

You can start preparing for an undergraduate engineering degree, while you are still in high school by taking relevant courses such as physics, mathematics, trigonometry, algebra, and calculus and computer science.

The admission requirements may vary between universities but the following list may serve as a general guideline:

  • A high school GPA of 3.0
  • Official transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • SAT/ACT scores

Civil Engineering

In order to become a civil engineer, you should complete a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. You must also keep in mind that the bachelor’s program that you pursue must be accredited by ABET. This is necessary in order to acquire a professional engineering license.

While being enrolled in a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, students are introduced to topics such as mathematics, engineering systems, fluid dynamics, statistics and engineering systems.

To acquire a professional engineering license, you must pass the fundamentals of engineering exam, after which you are designated as a civil engineering intern. The next step is to gain specified work experience and fulfill your state’s requirements before you get the professional civil engineer designation.

Computer Hardware Engineering

The minimum academic requirement to become a computer hardware engineer is to acquire a relevant bachelor’s degree such as a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, computer science or electrical engineering.

This program is preferable for students who have strong academic foundations in relevant subjects such as science and mathematics. The computer hardware engineering program includes practical classes, in addition to classroom instructions where students are introduced to the theoretical aspects of computer hardware. The curriculum centers on computer science, with an emphasis on several theories of electrical circuits.

Petroleum Engineering

To pursue a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering you must first complete prerequisite high school courses. These courses may include trigonometry, physics, algebra, and calculus.

The petroleum engineering program touches on a wide array of petroleum engineering aspects and its curriculum include field visits. It is imperative that you pursue an ABET accredited petroleum engineering program, in order to fulfill licensure requirements later on.

The bachelor’s in petroleum engineering program gives the students a comprehensive knowledge in geology, thermodynamics and principles of engineering.

You need to acquire a professional engineer license in order to work as a petroleum engineer anywhere in the United States. To acquire this license, the following criteria must be met:

  • Possess at least four years of professional experience
  • Pass the fundamentals of engineering exam
  • Pass the professional engineering exam

Mechanical Engineering

A bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology or mechanical engineering is the relevant degree program that you must get yourself enrolled in, in order to pursue this field.

The bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering program strongly emphasizes on skills and techniques required to master the practical application of relevant mechanical engineering theories taught in the classroom.

The rigorous curriculum is highly focused and includes courses like mathematics, physical sciences, life sciences, mechanical design and principles of mechanical engineering.

Most programs follow a co-op program structure and require the students to complete relevant professional internships and most of these programs are also accredit by ABET.

You may also acquire a relevant specified certification. Certifications for mechanical engineers are provided by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Mechanical engineers have to pass an obligatory Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam in order to acquire a professional engineering license.

Software Developing or Software Engineering

A bachelor’s degree in software engineering, computer science or mathematics qualifies you to become a software developer or a software engineer.

A bachelor’s in software engineering or computer science covers a wide array of related topics and builds a strong foundation for the students in programming and coding.

These degrees aim to instill the necessary skill set required to become an efficient software engineer. Some of these skills are:

  • Detail orientation
  • Creativity
  • Problem solving skills
  • Computer skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Interpersonal skills

Electrical Engineering

There are several prerequisite courses that you must complete before you can pursue an undergraduate electrical engineering program. These high school courses include physics, trigonometry, mathematics, algebra and calculus.

You must make sure that you get yourself enrolled in a bachelor’s of electrical engineering program that is accredited by ABET.

In addition to theoretical and laboratory classes, these programs also include field visits, where students learn to apply their knowledge in real world scenarios.

Core curriculum of a bachelor’s in electrical engineering includes digital systems design, electrical circuit theory and differential equations.


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Q:how long does it take to become an engineer?

A:To become an engineer, you will require at least a bachelor's degree. This would take 4 years to complete. If you want to go for more advanced options, you can enroll in a master's program, which would be an additional 2 to 4 years. A PhD after that will take another 4 to 7 years to complete.

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