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Engineering Technology Workload / Curriculum

BoondocksBoondocks Registered User Posts: 321 Member
edited July 2011 in Engineering Majors
My son is considering engineering technology, in a large part because he is a hands-on learner, and told me he really doesn't want to sit behind a desk all day. Theoretical analysis is not that interesting to him.

Can someone tell me what the workload is like for engineering technology (a BS, not an AS)? Is the time devoted to it similar to that to earn a BSE, or is it different?

Is the curriculum more lab-based than that of a BSE degree, or is there about the same number of labs?

If anyone who has really seen both close up can describe the differences between the workloads and the curriulums, that would be helpful.

By the way, please don't comment on whether a BSE degree is better than a BSET degree. I've seen 25-page long arguments about that on this board, and that's not the issue I'm asking about.

Thanks, folks.
Post edited by Boondocks on

Replies to: Engineering Technology Workload / Curriculum

  • aarons914aarons914 Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    I just graduated from an MET program and I know people in the ME as well. Their weeder courses are tougher than the MET side and they do have to take more math which depending on the person could be a tough workload. After the basic classes the engineering classes are pretty similar although I'd say the MET side of things probably isn't as tough compared to most pure engineering programs. Overall it's probably in between the easy 90% of college majors and the Pure Sciences and Engineering programs.
  • nanashi123nanashi123 Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    arrons what was the average class gpa and yours if you dont mind me asking? how about coursework later on in your junior/senior year as compared to the engineering counterpart? you mentione that they're similar but easier, so would you say it's easier to attain a higher gpa in technology as compared to engineering? how about job opportunities? lol sorry for hijacking the thread boondocks but i'm sure you may have some of these questions too i hope. a bit curious about this myself
  • aarons914aarons914 Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    I don't know the exact class GPA but I'd say it's close to 3.0 as an average and my overall was a 3.45. And yes I'd say it's easier to attain a higher GPA in technology, the Physics required is easier, we don't take Calc 3 or Diff Eq so that helps, as far as the regular Engineering classes like Statics, Dynamics, Thermo, Heat Transfer, etc, those were all hard and pretty close to what the ME guys were doing, I don't want to make it sound like it will be a cakewalk because it can be a lot of work and most of the stuff isn't the kind of stuff you can just sit in class and learn, I learned most of the material on my own by really learning the stuff and not just memorizing the steps like most people do.

    As far as job opportunities, I just graduated in May and got a job at one of the biggest corporations in the world a few weeks back so I'm happy with it, I certainly don't feel like it held me back. I applied to over 100 positions to get 4 interviews for the record, so if a 2011 ME can chime in maybe we can get a comparison.
  • nanashi123nanashi123 Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    and jsut out of curiosity which school was this that you attended?
  • engineer4lifeengineer4life Registered User Posts: 422 Member
    Boondocks:

    I have both BSMET (undergrad) and a MSME (grad) degree, and I'd like to offer my insight.

    First of all, you can do hands on work with an engineering degree, and you can do theoretical work with a engineering technology degree. The exact work that your son will do will depend a lot more factors than his degree, so I wouldn't worry too much about whether he prefers hands on vs theoretical desk work.

    The engineering technology will be involve more labs than the engineering degree. It's sounds great, but in reality, labs are not usually considered to be a fun part of the degree. They require tons of time and are more of a pain than a benefit.

    Regarding job opportunities, I have always felt that a engineering technology undergraduate degree has held me back as compared to an engineering degree. It's not accepted in all states for professional licensure, many companies do not accept it as meeting qualifications to work as an engineer (NASA for example), and many smaller employers view it as a technician rather than an engineering degree. Now that I have an MSME, I don't think I'll be held back as much.

    If he does go for the engineering technology degree, it is essential that he goes for an ABET-accredited degree.
  • ihatemondayihatemonday Registered User Posts: 83 Junior Member
    Im interning at nasa right now and the technicians here dont even need a degree. Some just took a few classes in community college and then got the job here. The work they do is pretty boring and monotonous. Its all just lab work and inspections, nothing analytical, but they do get to work in all the buildings on campus, which is better than just sitting in an office all day. Maybe nasa's definition of a technician is different from that of other engineering companies.
  • aarons914aarons914 Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    Regarding job opportunities, I have always felt that a engineering technology undergraduate degree has held me back as compared to an engineering degree. It's not accepted in all states for professional licensure, many companies do not accept it as meeting qualifications to work as an engineer (NASA for example), and many smaller employers view it as a technician rather than an engineering degree. Now that I have an MSME, I don't think I'll be held back as much.

    You're probably right about this, for now I'm happy with the MET but if it really stops me from doing something I really want to do someday I may take the same route with the MSME, it's my understanding we would need to take the calc based physics, calc 3, diff eq to catch up, is that what you did or was there more before you could get into the masters program?
  • BoondocksBoondocks Registered User Posts: 321 Member
    Thanks, folks. Anyone else who wants to chime in, please do so.
  • BoondocksBoondocks Registered User Posts: 321 Member
    Engineer For LIfe said: "The engineering technology will be involve more labs than the engineering degree. It's sounds great, but in reality, labs are not usually considered to be a fun part of the degree. They require tons of time and are more of a pain than a benefit."

    Did you think the overall BSET workload was heavier or lighter than an engineering workload?

    The reason I ask is that my son is ADHD, and has a slow processing speed, yet a high overall IQ. It takes him longer to do things, including math, although writing is far harder for him than math. He somehow has managed a 90 average and a rank in the top 15% of his class, and his ACT will probably be 25 or 26 when takes it again (he got a 23 the first time, but that was in the midst of his own exams with no prep at all, so he'll come up a little). He'll be qualified to get into many engineering schools with his academic record.

    However, I remember when I was in college many (extremely bright) engineering students got blown away freshman year by the workload, and I'm worried that that may happen to him as well in a BSE program.

    I'm not as concerned that people will consider his degree to be subpar to BSE. I know that a BSET can be limiting at times. I want him to get a degree, have some fun doing it, and than have some fun in his life. I've seen so, so many career paths, and probably half are unrelated to the particular degree, so I don't think his entire future will depend on whether his degree is a BSET or BSE.
  • engineer4lifeengineer4life Registered User Posts: 422 Member
    Boondocks,

    Both engineering and engineering technology are very, very difficult majors. Students that require lots of time on math do worse (much worse) than speedy students.

    As an analogy, if engineering is infinitely difficult, engineering technology is 3/4 infinitely difficult, which is still infinite.
  • BoondocksBoondocks Registered User Posts: 321 Member
    Thanks, engineer4life.
  • al6200al6200 Registered User Posts: 1,579 Senior Member
    At NASA, the people who get to do hands on work in the cleanroom largely have electrical engineering degrees. The engineering technology degree seems like a bad idea. I think that it's just better to go to college for 5 years and take it slow with 12 credits a semester (this is the minimum load that is considered full time).
  • MagnetronMagnetron Registered User Posts: 2,536 Senior Member
    Maybe he should consider a degree in Manufacturing Engineering. You end up with the BSE but the unofficial work title ends up something like "wave solder guru" or "god of the packaging line." Alternatively, a school like Wright State would have a more project based and hands-on curriculum than a typical theory only one that I went through.

    A school like RIT has both tracks available. Many courses overlap, but the EEs will be analyzing circuits on paper while the ETs will be in the labs building and measuring them. Some companies, especially manufacturing based, prefer ET degrees. My first job out of college I was the only BSEE out of 5 engineers. I was more likely to blow up capacitors and diodes; the other guys needed my help with programming and higher math.
  • BoondocksBoondocks Registered User Posts: 321 Member
    Thanks. RIT is a school on his list.
  • MagnetronMagnetron Registered User Posts: 2,536 Senior Member
    I would like to add that the workload will be much more dependent on the university than on the difference between the two tracks. Some universities require only 4 courses at a time as opposed to 5 or 6.
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