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Careers in Engineering

Options for Those Who Want Careers in Engineering

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A civil engineer or a civil engineering technician at work.

A civil engineer or a civil engineering technician at work.

Courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
If you want to have a career in engineering, you have two options from which to choose. You can be an engineer or an engineering technician. Each of these has different educational and licensing requirements, as well as different duties and salaries. See the chart below for a quick look at the differences between these two career choices. Both engineers and engineering technicians can also choose from a variety of specialties which are discussed in the individual career profiles.

Engineer

Engineers solve technical problems by applying their knowledge of science and mathematics. To become an engineer one must earn a bachelor's degree in engineering. Some jobs are available for those who have earned a bachelor's degree in physical science or mathematics. Engineers who offer their services directly to the public must be licensed. Median earnings for engineers ranged from $68,000 to $108,020 in 2009 depending on their specialty and educational degree earned.*
Learn More About Becoming an Engineer

Engineering Technician

Engineering technicians often assist engineers and scientists, using science, engineering and mathematical principles to solve technical problems. To become an engineering technician one must generally earn an associate degree in engineering technology. Certification, which is offered by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies, is voluntary and involves a written exam, work experience, a supervisory evaluation and a recommendation. Median annual salaries for engineering technicians ranged from $41,000 to $55,040 in 2009 depending on one's specialty.*
Learn More About Becoming an Engineering Technician

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ and
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, on the Internet at http://online.onetcenter.org/ (visited February 16, 2011).

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Comparing Careers in Engineering
 EducationLicenseMedian Salary
EngineerBachelor's, Master's or DoctorateRequired for those who offer services directly to the public$68,000 to $108,020 (depending on specialty and degree)
Engineering TechnicianAssociate Degree Voluntary Certification$41,000 to $55,040 (depending on specialty)

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