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Engineering Vs. Engineering Technology

Engineering and engineering technology are separate but closely related professional areas that differ in:

  • Curricular Focus – Engineering programs often focus on theory and conceptual design, while engineering technology programs usually focus on application and implementation. Engineering programs typically require additional, higher-level mathematics, including multiple semesters of calculus and calculus-based theoretical science courses, while engineering technology programs typically focus on algebra, trigonometry, applied calculus and other courses that are more practical than theoretical in nature.
  • Career Paths – Graduates from engineering programs often pursue entry-level work involving conceptual design or research and development. Many continue on to graduate-level work in engineering. Graduates from ABET-accredited bachelor level engineering degree programs are eligible to become registered professional engineers (P.E.) in all U.S states and territories by a process of two examinations (the FE and PE exams) and documentation of engineering work experience. This registration is commonly known as the PE License. Graduates of four-year engineering technology programs are most likely to enter positions in sectors such as construction, manufacturing, product design, testing, or technical services and sales. Those who pursue further study often consider engineering, facilities management or business administration. Graduates from ABET-accredited bachelor level engineering technology degree programs are also eligible to become registered professional engineers by the same process in many (but not all) states. Graduates of two-year engineering technology programs likely assume engineering technician positions in maintenance, production or product development. The requirements for graduates of two-year programs to be eligible for professional licensure vary by state.

In general, engineering programs offer more foundational analysis of problems while engineering technology programs stress current industrial design practices that allow students to start developing practical workplace skills.

For ABET accreditation, engineering and engineering technology programs are reviewed and accredited by two separate accreditation commissions, using two separate sets of accreditation criteria: the Engineering Accreditation Commission and the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission.

Reference: This information is available via the ABET website.

Electrical Engineering Technology
Stephen Frempong, Ph.D.
Department Chair