Because technology is always changing, some
applications and methods covered in school may not be useful or
current five years later. Your education has only begun with the
completion of a formal, full-time educational program. Engineering
has been described as a "learning profession," and many engineers
spend several hours a week in continuing education, formally or
Additional education in a broad range of subjects
other than engineering may be needed in order to meet professional
challenges. Such studies might include economics, finance, law,
management, and the sciences. Graduate study and other forms of
continuing education are activities that engineers must anticipate.
A Bachelor of Science program constitutes the
full-time formal education for most engineering graduates. However,
many will continue studying for a Master's degree, and those whose
interest is focused on research will pursue a doctoral (Ph.D.)
A Masters degree program is necessary for most
advanced design, development and research programs. It generally
takes from one to two years of additional full-time effort. A
doctoral program typically takes three to five years beyond the B.S.
degree and is of primary importance to students who wish to teach or
conduct research. Doctoral programs are designed to bring a student
to the frontier of knowledge in a specialized discipline and extend
that frontier. In a Ph.D. program, you are expected to contribute to
advancing the field through a published dissertation.
Sometimes students from Bachelor's degree programs
in engineering technology want to go on to graduate programs in
engineering or engineering technology. You can transfer directly
from a four-year program in engineering or technology into a
Master's degree program in technology. However, if you wish to go on
to a graduate program in engineering or computer science, you may
have to take additional undergraduate courses as required by the
individual college or university.
For many technicians, the Associate's degree program
fulfills the need for a formal educational experience. However,
career advancement and a personal desire for more education
frequently draw technicians back to pursue a Bachelor's degree in
engineering or engineering technology.
Technical knowledge, management skills, and
professional relationships all play a role in determining how far
one advances. Additionally, common sense, an ability to relate well
with people, and an ability to recognize growing fields will help
your career. Some of these skills may be developed by participating
in professional societies.