Is becoming an engineer right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do engineers do?
Career Satisfaction
Are engineers happy with their careers?
What are engineers like?

Still unsure if becoming an engineer is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become an engineer or another similar career!

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How to become an Engineer

Becoming an engineer involves several steps, including obtaining the necessary education, gaining practical experience, and potentially obtaining licensure. Here is a general guide on how to become an engineer:

  • High School Education: Start by taking relevant high school courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and computer science to build a strong foundation.
  • Bachelor's Degree: Pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering from an accredited institution. The program typically takes four years to complete and includes a combination of classroom instruction and laboratory work.
  • Choosing an Engineering Discipline: In many engineering programs, students do not need to choose a specific engineering specialty or concentration when enrolling in university. Instead, engineering students often start with a more general engineering curriculum that provides a foundation in fundamental principles common to various engineering disciplines. This approach allows students to explore different branches of engineering before committing to a specific specialty. Examples of engineering disciplines include civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, environmental engineering, manufacturing engineering, computer engineering, and aerospace engineering.
  • Internships and Co-ops: Seek internships or co-op opportunities to gain practical experience in a professional engineering environment. This provides hands-on experience and exposure to real-world engineering projects.
  • Participate in Engineering Projects: Join engineering projects, clubs, or competitions at your university to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations and enhance teamwork and problem-solving skills.
  • Master's Degree or Ph.D. (Optional): Consider pursuing a master's degree or Ph.D. for advanced specialization or research-oriented roles. Some engineering fields may require or prefer candidates with advanced degrees.
  • Engineer-in-Training (EIT) or Engineer Intern (EI) Certification: Some engineering disciplines, particularly civil engineering, may require you to obtain EIT or EI certification. This involves passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.
  • Professional Engineer (PE) License (Optional): To become a licensed Professional Engineer, you typically need to gain several years of work experience under the supervision of a licensed PE and pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. Licensure is optional in some fields but may be required for certain roles, especially in civil engineering.
  • Build a Resume and Portfolio: Create a professional resume that highlights your education, experience, and skills. Develop a portfolio showcasing your engineering projects and achievements.
  • Apply for Entry-Level Positions: Search for entry-level engineering positions on job boards, company websites, and career fairs. Tailor your resume and cover letter for each application. Practice common engineering interview questions, and be ready to discuss your educational background, relevant projects, and problem-solving abilities.
  • Consider Certifications (Optional): Depending on your field, consider obtaining relevant certifications to enhance your skills and marketability.

Associations and Societies
Associations and societies provide engineers with opportunities for professional development, networking, and staying updated on industry trends within their respective disciplines. Depending on your specific engineering field or interests, you may explore memberships in these organizations to enhance your career and connect with like-minded professionals.

  • American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE): ASEE promotes excellence in engineering education by providing resources, professional development opportunities, and a platform for educators to share best practices.
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE): ASCE is a professional society for civil engineers, offering resources, publications, and events to advance the knowledge and practice of civil engineering.
  • Structural Engineering Institute (SEI): SEI, a subsidiary of ASCE, focuses on advancing the field of structural engineering through research, publications, and professional development.
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME): ASME is a global organization for mechanical engineers, providing standards, publications, and networking opportunities across various industries.
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): IEEE is a leading organization for electrical and electronics engineers, offering conferences, publications, and collaborative platforms for technological advancements.
  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM): ACM is a computing and information technology association, providing resources, publications, and events for professionals in computer engineering.
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE): AIChE is a professional organization for chemical engineers, offering conferences, publications, and resources to advance the practice of chemical engineering.
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA): AIAA is a professional society for aerospace engineers, providing a platform for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and advancements in aerospace technology.
  • Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA): A&WMA focuses on air and waste management, providing resources, conferences, and networking opportunities for environmental engineers.
  • American Water Works Association (AWWA): AWWA is dedicated to water quality and supply, offering resources, conferences, and publications for professionals in water-related fields.
  • Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES): BMES is a professional society for biomedical engineers, facilitating collaboration, knowledge exchange, and advancements in the field of biomedical engineering.
  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM): ACM is a computing and information technology association, providing resources, publications, and events for professionals in computer engineering.
  • International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE): INCOSE focuses on systems engineering, offering resources, certifications, and events to advance the understanding and practice of systems engineering.
  • Geo-Institute (GI): GI, part of ASCE, is dedicated to advancing geotechnical engineering through publications, conferences, and collaborative initiatives.
  • Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE): SPE is a global organization for professionals in the oil and gas industry, providing technical resources, conferences, and networking opportunities.
  • Robotics Industries Association (RIA): RIA is a trade association for the robotics industry, offering resources, events, and standards development for professionals in robotics engineering.
  • American Nuclear Society (ANS): ANS is a professional society for nuclear engineers, providing resources, publications, and events to advance nuclear science and technology.
  • Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME): SME focuses on mining and metallurgical engineering, offering resources, conferences, and publications for professionals in the industry.
  • Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE): IISE is a professional society for industrial and systems engineers, providing resources, conferences, and networking opportunities for professionals in the field.
  • American Solar Energy Society (ASES): ASES promotes the use of solar and renewable energy, offering resources, conferences, and educational programs for professionals in renewable energy.