Engineering vs. Engineering Technology

Key Differences Between the Two Degrees

Engineering and engineering technology both lead to promising careers in the ever-evolving landscape of technology and innovation, but they also offer distinct approaches and opportunities. Let’s delve into engineering degrees and engineering technology degrees to uncover their differences and shared traits, and see which path is right for you.

Engineering vs. Engineering Technology Degrees

Engineering and engineering technology degrees are both excellent choices if you wish to enter the field of engineering and technology, and both degree programs offer different focuses and emphases, career roles, program durations, and professional licensure.

How Are They Similar?

If you take a close look, engineering and engineering technology degrees have the following in common:

  • A Foundation in Math and Science: Both engineering and engineering technology degrees have a solid foundation of math and science. These subjects provide the building blocks for understanding complex engineering principles and problem-solving techniques.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: Engineers and engineering technologists are good problem solvers. They apply critical thinking and analytical skills to address challenges, devising innovative solutions that drive technological advancement.
  • A Collaborative Spirit: Effective teamwork and communication skills are essential in both fields. Whether designing a new system or troubleshooting an existing one, professionals need to work harmoniously in teams and convey their ideas effectively to ensure project success.
  • Practical Experience: Both engineering and engineering technology programs integrate hands-on learning experiences. Labs, projects, and internships are integral components that allow students to apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations, fostering a deeper understanding of concepts.

How Are They Different?

Although they have many similarities, engineering and engineering technology degrees are also very different. Let’s take a look at how:

  • Focus of Study:
    Engineering: Engineering programs emphasize theoretical concepts and principles. Engineers imagine and create groundbreaking designs, systems, and solutions. Their education often dips into mathematical models and theories to drive innovation.
    Engineering Technology: Engineering technology programs emphasize the application of established engineering techniques. Engineering technologists are equipped to assist engineers in implementing, operating, and maintaining designs, focusing more on practical implementation.
  • Depth of Study:
    Engineering: Engineers engage in in-depth theoretical study and research. They explore advanced mathematics and intricate scientific theories to create new ideas and groundbreaking solutions.
    Engineering Technology: While rooted in math and science, engineering technologists might not explore these subjects at the same length as engineers. Their emphasis is on applying existing methods to problems.
  • Roles:
    Engineering: Graduates with engineering degrees hold titles such as engineer. They often pursue roles involving research, development, design, and high-level management.
    Engineering Technology: Graduates of engineering technology programs are known as engineering technologists. They work in positions related to implementation, operation, testing, and technical support.
  • Degree Levels:
    Engineering: Engineering programs are often longer due to their focus on theory and research. They are usually offered at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels.
    Engineering Technology: Engineering technology programs are generally shorter, leading to associate or bachelor’s degrees.
  • Professional Licensure:
    Engineering: Many engineering disciplines require a professional engineer (PE) license for public service roles. This includes passing a demanding exam and fulfilling specific experience criteria.
    Engineering Technology: Engineering technologists might not require a PE license, because their roles often involve supporting engineers’ designs rather than designing systems themselves.

How to Choose the Right Degree for You

The decision of pursuing an engineering degree or an engineering technology degree depends on your career aspirations, interests, and talent. Both paths contribute significantly to technological advancement and innovation, showcasing the diverse skill sets required to thrive in a dynamic and interconnected world. Whether you choose to create groundbreaking designs or implement those designs, both engineering and engineering technology professionals remain important to shaping the future of technology.