Engineering Programs in Texas
Engineering is a vast field with a variety of programs and career opportunities available with an engineering degree. There are different categories and subgroups related to engineering as well. For a better understanding of what engineers do, what they study, and what path to take should you decide to pursue a degree in engineering. First and foremost it’s important to understand what engineers study in college, how long they go to school for, and the various expanded degrees that can be attained in graduate school.
As with any four year degree the first two years are spent studying a core curriculum. These include math, chemistry, English composition, computer science, physics, and intro to engineering. While these are considered ‘common’ courses most of these are applicable to the final two years of a bachelor’s in engineering. For the most part engineering classes are centered on science and math however most colleges will require engineering students to take engineering drawing/drafting, statistics and dynamics, strength of materials, and fluid mechanics. Near the end of the first year with the variety of classes a student should be able to decide their focus. These specific areas of engineering are mechanical, civil, biological, industrial, chemical, or aerospace.
After a specialty is chosen certain classes will be required that are not general engineering. Computer engineers will be required to take multiple computer science centered courses, and some may require more advanced math classes past calculus II or statistics depending on the chosen route. Chemical engineers will be required to study biology classes, chemical classes, and applied science. Agricultural engineers may be asked to take courses in green science and/or earth science.
Given that science and math are heavily studied subjects acquiring an engineering degree is not a walk in the park. It takes true dedication to studying and learning the materials given but it is not impossible. Colleges offer a variety of extra help including free tutors, step-by-step instructions within textbooks, and many professors are willing to help students in problem areas. Engineering degrees take serious commitment but with its vast field and areas of specialization an engineering degree can open up many career opportunities around the world. It makes relocating because of a family or spouse easy and is a field that will never grow out of necessity.
Engineering; What it is and what is done
Engineering is such a wide spread category with a multitude of sections it is hard to completely nail down what an engineer does. However, each specialization has a similar grouping of responsibilities that could be considered the core of engineering. Engineers all apply the knowledge of math and science to their respective field to either build, correct, advance, test, and/or analyze machines, structures, systems, and materials. Engineering as a whole can be taken as the scientific portion of creating and developing an endless well of items depending on the specific job.
For example, aerospace engineers focus on work relating to space exploration, engines in rockets, and so on. Mechanic engineers can work for companies such as Ford designing new and improved engines for cars and trucks or can design integral parts of buildings like elevators.
Agricultural engineers focus on building and developing machines to help the farms that sell to our local grocery store water, fertilize, or harvest their crops. It is still working with the creation, building, and testing of machines but the focus is pinned solely on cultivation. Chemical engineers work more on the chemistry and biology portion of science and work with food, healthcare, pharmaceutical, and with specialty chemicals. They can also focus on biotechnology and environmental health.
Engineering, as stated before, is a wide field and many opportunities to develop the skills learned in four years of education. This can seem a bit daunting at first but professionals and professors can help focus if you’re unsure. Internships help with picking a path too and can give you hands on experience to see if you truly like your chosen focus and if not there’s a whole batch of engineering options readily available.
As of 2010 there are over 1,000 engineering colleges in the United States with just under 11,000 engineering students. With no shortage of jobs it is not surprising there is still a large amount of college students focused on the field of engineering.
Now what is most asked of careers that require a four year degree minimum is the salary. Again with such a wide variety of career paths salaries will not only differ from state to state they differ from specialization to specialization. There sometimes are tiers of engineers depending on the company and without experience most out-of-college graduates start in the tier one and can work their way up through the company.
Highest Paid Engineering Jobs
Depending on your focus and location salary may very but here are the top paid engineering specialties and their median starting salary.
- Petroleum Engineer $74,240
- Aerospace Engineer $65,000
- Computer Science Engineer $63,970
- Electrical Engineer $57,000
- Chemical Engineer $58,000
- Materials Engineer $52,000.
For a starting salary engineers make a decent and livable wage. Keep in mind these do not include the dozens of other subgroups in the engineering field. Depending on the company, the locations, and any experience including internships and field work starting salaries can always be increased. But, this gives a good idea of where you’ll be starting out.
Obtaining a master’s degree in engineering or PhD is an option. Further studies will yield a higher paying salary but require more dedication in schooling. Starting with a master’s degree will put you in a higher position such as project management versus initial building and drafting, chemical process engineer or senior chemical engineer versus entry-level chemical engineer, senior systems manager or software developer. The demand for further-educated professionals is steadily rising especially as the field expands. According to Forbes having a master’s degree in engineering is rated the third best master’s degree given the mid-career median salary is upwards of $120,000 annually.
No matter the field engineering is a high-paying, in demand job that will only continue to grow in its necessity to the modern world. As technology becomes a more integral part of our society the need to create, design, test, and advance different sections of our world to keep up will continue to grow. That’s where engineers come in. Innovation is key to the work of an engineer. Science and mathematics are the skeletal structure to engineering but that does not mean it is a field lacking creativity. Does creating a new engine for Ford sound like a dream? Or developing software that increases the time between when a call is dialed and when it connects to the dialed phone? Or, does fixing the problem sound more down your alley?
All of these written hypothetical are daily jobs in an engineer’s life. With their extensive knowledge and focus they’re able to turn their degree into something beneficial for themselves, their families, and the rest of the country. Getting an engineering degree takes time and dedication but with the amount of accredited colleges and help for students that degree is much closer than you think.