What Should I Look For In An Engineering Program?
Engineers are among the highest paid professionals today. This is one of the major appeals of engineering as a profession that many students are encouraged to take up engineering as a college major. Of course, pay is not everything. The satisfaction one can derive from designing and developing projects in the engineering specialization they are in is also another major appeal of this field which boasts of many different majors.
There are many colleges and universities offering engineering programs that it can become confusing for students who are trying to choose the best program to enroll in. While it’s not easy to sift through the numerous programs offered by different schools, there are guidelines that will help you make a sound choice. You’ll probably start off with a lot of engineering programs on your list but by the time you’ve gone through this checklist of things that you should look for, you’ll be able to narrow down your possible selections.
First of all, you should determine what engineering major you plan to enroll in. There are many specializations in engineering and some schools are strong in one or two but weak in others. Others only offer some majors. Thus, it’s important that you decide whether you intend to major in civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, construction engineering, aerospace engineering, among others, so you can actually spot the schools that are offering the degree you intend to obtain.
Second, look for a program that has instruction that corresponds to where you want to take your engineering career. For example, if you want to really do hands-on engineering and design work in the industry, a program that has a practical approach to the coursework would be the better option. However, for those who want to teach in the academe, a program that has a theoretical orientation is preferred.
Third, check if engineering professors are the ones who are actually handling the classes or if teaching assistants are doing the teaching. It is better to go to school where experienced professors hold classes since they don’t only have more experience in the field but may also have more extensive industry contacts as well. The latter is important especially when you’re looking for an internship program to get your practical training in.
Fourth, see to it that the program has met the minimum standards set by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). You should get your engineering degree from a program that is accredited by ABET if you want to go through the process of becoming a Professional Engineer. One of the requirements of this designation is obtaining a degree from an ABET-accredited school.
Finally, you should also look for an engineering program that you can afford. Tuition is just one of the costs that you have to figure into your entire college equation. There are books and supplies, rent and food while you’re working towards getting your degree. You’ll be able to save a lot if you attend in a public school in your state of residence because of the substantial tuition discounts given to in-state students. You can also save on the costs of room and board if you can arrange with your folks for you to stay at home while you are attending a local college.
You may also be eligible for more student aid opportunities like scholarships, grants and student loans in larger universities which can bring down the cost of your tuition and fees.