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What is Engineering Technology?

rh1992rh1992 Posts: 83Registered User Junior Member
edited May 2010 in Engineering Majors
Hello CCers,

I'm sort of confused what the difference between engineering and engineering technology is. I'm looking into mechanical engineering, and I might be attending Wentworth Institute of Techonlogy, which offers "engineering technology" majors. I've looked around online, and I've found that engineering tech majors focus more on the application aspect of engineering, but I'm still not thoroughly convinced.

Can anyone clarify or tell me more about how they differ?

Thanks in advance!
Post edited by rh1992 on

Replies to: What is Engineering Technology?

  • hillbilliehillbillie Posts: 284Registered User Junior Member
    ET is an upscale version of a two-year technical education; it's no where near the traditional engineering path... Look at this, for example: Mechanical Engineering & Mechanical Engineering Technology - Which Path Will You Take? - K-12 Student Resources or this: http://www.coe.uncc.edu/prospective-students/engineering-professions.html
  • bigtreesbigtrees Posts: 1,191User Awaiting Email Confirmation Senior Member
    It depends on your school. I am a mechanical engineering technology graduate. At my school, the primary difference was the engineering technology took courses in machining, welding, and extra labs (manufacturing processes, quality assurance) that the engineers didn't take.

    In exchange, we less of the theory (one semester of thermodynamics, Physics lite, Calculus lite, etc).

    I'd do mechanical engineering over engineering technology, but believe engineering technology is a solid major that you can get hired for, so I'd do engineering technology rather than dropping out of school.
  • cloutclout123cloutclout123 Posts: 145Registered User Junior Member
    I currently attend WIT as a BELM (Electromechanical which is an engineering degree). The main difference between BELM and mechanical technologies is the lack of theory/depth you experience in mechanical. BELM students go into detail with math and mechanical technology is a more hands on degree. If you are into the theory and are a hard worked, then I would consider an engineering degree. As a BELM students you will be taking more calc based courses then you would as mechanical.

    If you want to work with your hands and build the things engineers design, then I would consider a mechanical technology.

    If you have any questions you can PM me. A couple of my friends are majoring in mechanical, so I can find any answers for you. Or if you have any general questions about WIT I can help you with that as well.
  • rh1992rh1992 Posts: 83Registered User Junior Member
    Great info here. Thanks to all of you for clearing this up for me!
  • boston_man_2009boston_man_2009 Posts: 315Registered User Member
    Hey I am also a freshman at Wentworth studying Mechanical Engineering Technology (which here we call it BMET). If you look at past posts about this topic, you will see a lot of people that say you can't become an engineer with an engineering technology degree. Well here at Wentworth that is not the case. Thats because our curriculum is kinda in between of a traditional engineering degree and a traditional engineering technology degree. What I mean by that is that we take the same engineering classes as like the BELM students. We do take one lesser math class, but a typical engineering technology program will stop at Cal 2. We go all the way to Applied Differ. Equations. However the best thing is that the program is very hands on.

    Feel free to PM about anything if you have any other questions.
  • bigtreesbigtrees Posts: 1,191User Awaiting Email Confirmation Senior Member

    If you are doing all those hard classes, why don't you switch into Mechanical Engineering?

    (Spoken from a person with an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, and who hasn't thought that was the best choice he made.)
  • boston_man_2009boston_man_2009 Posts: 315Registered User Member
    Because the closest thing to Mechanical Engineering that we have at Wentworth is Electromechanical Engineering, which I was told by professors and students was mostly electrical engineering (and between us mechanical engineers..... I HATE PROGRAMMING!). I would do Mechanical Engineering if they had it, but that means I would have to transfer and I like it here.
  • bigtreesbigtrees Posts: 1,191User Awaiting Email Confirmation Senior Member
    ok, makes sense
  • cloutclout123cloutclout123 Posts: 145Registered User Junior Member

    You are correct by saying you can get an engineering degree (by taking a test), but the overall classes are far less involved. I am a second semester sophomore and one of my suit mates is a BMET. The amount of work he does (he even admits it) is far less from any BELM student. Also classes like physics, thermodynamics, statics, ect... are calc based for BELM, where they are not for BMET. BMET is great for using the machine shop and working with your hands, but it lacks the theory.

    Please refer to your student hand book and you can see that classes with "Engineering", then the class name, are designed for BELM students. You can also see that the prerequisites are different and that the material is different than BMET classes.

    I also had a friend who just switched from BELM (2.5 overall gpa) to BMET and this semester he is close to a 4.0 in his BMET courses.

    Overall this college really isn't that hard and it doesn't pick up until your junior and senior year (BELM is a five year program and BMET is a four). It should really come down to what type of job you want, designing or putting things together. BELM is the design part and BMET is the building, both are equally interesting. I am personally more interested in the theoretical aspect of engineering/physics, so that is why I chose BELM.
  • aarons914aarons914 Posts: 42Registered User Junior Member
    To some of you who have graduated with an Engineering technology degree, do you get the feeling that a lot of people don't realize exactly what the degree prepares its graduates for? I mean I hear stories of some getting hired for Engineering positions and then you have people being hired as technicians. I guess my point is it doesn't seem like there is a clear career to follow with the degree, maybe once it's around longer that will change.
  • bigtreesbigtrees Posts: 1,191User Awaiting Email Confirmation Senior Member
    To some of you who have graduated with an Engineering technology degree, do you get the feeling that a lot of people don't realize exactly what the degree prepares its graduates for? I mean I hear stories of some getting hired for Engineering positions and then you have people being hired as technicians.

    It's a degree that requires explaining. The problem is, there is no good way to explain "it's like mechanical engineering, but it's easier and doesn't require you to take as hard of classes" without losing negotiating power on your salary. As soon as you say that, a saavy employer starts to think they won't pay you as much.

    It's also impossible to convince an employer that has a policy against hiring engineering technology majors to allow you to work for them. Getting a professional engineering license is a good way around that problem, because if you're a professional engineer, you are an engineer. But that doesn't help someone straight out of college.

    Among my classmates, I don't think most of them became engineers. Most became technicians or did work that wasn't related to engineering. I probably have pushed my career further than most of my coworkers, but I really should have stuck out mechanical engineering instead of the technology program.
  • aarons914aarons914 Posts: 42Registered User Junior Member
    Yeah Im starting to feel the same way, not that I think it's any less useful than the standard ME degree but just because of how some view the degree. Do you think passing the FE exam will help legitimize the degree when I graduate or do you still think it might be a problem for some employers?
  • cyclone10cyclone10 Posts: 400Registered User Member
    if you can do the engineering degree go for it....but if your not in a position to make that kind of commitment a tech degree is still way better than 90% of the other majors out there. anytime your talking math and science you're in relatively good shape.

    question is why would you want to do a tech degree over an engineering degree?
  • bigtreesbigtrees Posts: 1,191User Awaiting Email Confirmation Senior Member
    I'd highly encourage taking and passing the FE, since the material is still fresh and you will need it go get your PE.

    I can't say whether it did a lot of good or not. My first two jobs out of college weren't great, but then I got hired by "my current employer" and things are going pretty well now. Now that I have my P. E. and solid work experience, I should be able to get hired at most employers.
  • AuburnMathTutorAuburnMathTutor Posts: 1,770Registered User Senior Member
    I don't think there's anything wrong with ET degrees, and for some people they may be more appropriate than engineering degrees. Unfortunately, I'd guess that the best reason most people have is that ET is easier than the corresponding E degree. Employers will be thinking this, and if they ask, you should give them a better reason (if you have one).

    I would recommend that people who want to work as engineers get ABET-accredited engineering degrees, and people who want to work as technicians get engineering technology degrees. Sure, you can do either with either degree, but why not stick to your bread and butter? If engineers started taking all the technician jobs, would ET grads be happy? Vice versa.

    Perhaps it's bad of me but, in my heart of hearts, I think I'm one of those people that sort of "looks down" on engineering technology degrees. I think it's because I'm more of a theory person than an applications person, and I've probably associated with some pretty arrogant characters in the past. For instance, I don't consider "welding" to be something worthy of study at a university (for that matter, I don't think bowling, basket weaving, etc. are either). Perhaps as an elective, or as an extracurricular. Perhaps I'm just ignorant of what welding entails. Perhaps there is a rich history of welding techniques, with impressive historical figures and great feats, and an accompanying mathematical theory of welding algebra. I kind of doubt it...
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