Career plans
Become an Engineer? Click to Know what's in it
Category : Career plans
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If you`re interested in a career as an engineer, you may wonder how to obtain the training you need. If your budget is limited, you may worry about paying for an expensive four-year degree and possibly going on to graduate school. Fortunately, you may be able to save some money by beginning your post-secondary education at a local community college. Consult with the academic counseling department of the community college you are considering.

General Description
Engineering combines practical applications with math and science principles to tackle real-world problems and issues. Engineers work in fields as varied as aerospace and high tech, agriculture, medicine and construction. Environmental engineers focus their skills and training on dealing with ecological issues such as acid rain and the impact of carbon emissions on the atmosphere. Health and safety engineers study the effects of toxic chemicals on the human body and work to develop methods of handling potent materials, including nuclear energy, to minimize possible harm. Engineers also work to develop services and products in general industry and materials and in marine architecture and mining.

Articulation and Transfer

Articulation programs allow students to transfer directly from community colleges to four-year institutions through prearranged agreements. If you complete the requirements of an articulation agreement satisfactorily, including completing specific courses and maintaining a specified grade point average, you are guaranteed admission as a junior to the four-year institution with which the community college has made the arrangements. Check the articulation agreement carefully to ensure that it is up to date; many community colleges are slow to adjust to changes in the course offerings and requirements of four-year institutions, according to the National Academies Press.

Education Requirements

Engineers usually begin their careers by obtaining a specialized degree from a four-year institution; however, some research-oriented specialties require graduate degrees. In addition to specialized classes, engineers study mathematics and life, physical and chemical sciences. Many engineers also complete design courses as well as coursework in the social sciences and humanities. Computer studies are also an important part of an engineer`s educational background. Engineers may continue graduate study in engineering or combine their undergraduate training with graduate degrees in business, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Community College Programs

Along with conventional engineering programs, two-year and four-year programs in engineering technology provide a hands-on emphasis rather than applying theoretical and scientific concepts. If you complete a four-year engineering technology program, you may receive job offers comparable to those for entry-level engineers. However, you will not be able to obtain a license as an engineer. Many community colleges offer two-year engineering technology programs as well as programs designed to allow students to transfer into four-year institutions to obtain bachelors degrees in engineering.