Bachelors in Engineering Degrees & Programs Guide

Bachelor's Degree in Engineering Career Options & Salary

Overview of a Bachelor’s in Engineering


A college of engineering and many universities offer a wide variety of undergraduate and master’s degrees in engineering. Focusing on the bachelor’s degrees, you’ll find that you have many choices on which to focus your engineering education. This includes chemical and biomolecular engineering, mechanical, aerospace, computer, civil, environmental, and electrical engineering.

Wherever your interests happen to lie, you’ll be able to find a field that will keep you striving to know more. As you consider each engineering field, you’ll also find that the various concentrations have different degree requirements you’ll have to satisfy before you graduate. If you think you’re interested in earning a degree in engineering, but you aren’t sure where to start, you’re in the right place.

Engineering Degrees & Career Paths


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PROS

  • While you will need to study hard to succeed in this field, you will be taking steps toward satisfying a goal. With a bachelor’s in engineering, you will be creating many possible doors for your future. You’ll have the choice, if you go on to earn a master’s degree, to choose one of many concentrations, allowing you to specialize or branch out, all depending on where you’re interested in heading.
  • If you have chosen a university that allows you to tailor your degree program, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about a second field, such as teaching or entrepreneurship.
  • A bachelor’s degree is usually the entry-level degree for this field, meaning you should be able to find a position much more easily than you would with just an associate degree.
  • Engineering is a specialized career, with a lot of technical know-how behind it. Because of this, compensation for workers in these fields is decent, meaning you could be making plenty of money with a regular 4-5 year degree.

CONS

  • The highest goal you may have set was to earn your bachelor’s degree in engineering. But, after you began to work in this field, you may begin to become aware of some limitations to only having a bachelor’s. There are some real differences between a bachelor’s in engineering and a master’s in engineering. And it may turn out you need the second one more than you originally thought you would.
  • If you want to transition into a different engineering field, you may need to earn another complete degree, whether that’s a master’s in that discipline or even a bachelor’s.
  • You’ll likely need to earn certification as you move forward in your career. The PE or professional engineering license is practically expected for anyone who actually wants to work as an engineer. After several years in your career, you’ll know if you want to move into a leadership position. Without a master’s degree in engineering, that will be difficult.

Certificate Vs. Bachelor’s


Should you go for a degree in engineering, or certificates? Both will give you access to a good job. If you can’t afford a full, four-year degree, then a certificate may help you to find a position as an engineer. However, most certificates are relatively high level, meaning you might need to have a bachelor’s before you can earn them. And some of them exist to help someone move into engineering, or a specific field of engineering, from a different field.

In a certificate program, you’ll realize that the courses don’t have a broad focus. Instead, they focus those skills you need for a particular engineering discipline, meaning to help you get into a position in that field specifically rather than teach you all about the technical aspects of engineering in general.

What Engineering Bachelor’s Degrees are Available?


In general, you usually expect to find either a bachelor of science (BS) or a bachelor of arts (BA) degree available from colleges and universities. However, because engineering is a technically complicated discipline, you’ll likely only find BS degrees available for engineering majors.

Below is a list of some of the engineering degrees available across the country:

  • Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Earth Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Energy Engineering

Admission Requirements to Enter a Program


At many universities, admission requirements are higher for college of engineering students than they are for general admissions criteria used for other students. In some universities, incoming freshmen must be within the top 25% of their graduating class. Their SAT scores should be 1270/630 or scores for their ACT composite and English should be 26 and 24. If their class rank falls between 25% and 50%, SAT and ACT scores may be expected to be higher.

In high school, applicants should have completed social studies, English, physics, chemistry, and some form of higher level math: algebra, geometry, elementary analysis, or analytical geometry. Mechanical engineering majors are also required to have completed a course in mechanical drafting/drawing in tenth, eleventh, or twelfth grades.

Other than these differences, freshmen looking to enter an engineering program will have to provide the same information as everyone else.

Admission requirements may include most or all of the following:

  • Transcripts:
    These include transcripts from your high school and any community college transcripts you may have
  • ACT/SAT scores:
    Each school will decide on minimum scores
  • Letters of recommendation:
    Colleges often require 1-3 of these, especially if you plan to enter a particularly difficult field of study
  • Statement of Purpose:
    More exclusive colleges, with lower rates of acceptance, sometimes ask for these in order to help them make the decision on who they will admit and who they will not.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering?


Normally, a bachelor’s degree can be completed in approximately four years. However, a bachelor’s degree in engineering may take you longer to complete, depending on a variety of factors. Many engineering students take longer than the usual four-year period to finish their degrees.

If you want to finish as quickly as possible, you might consider taking 12 credits per semester and six in the summer. Following this schedule, you’ll complete 30 credits each academic year, which will allow you to finish your degree in four years. Most bachelor’s degrees are around 120 credits, but engineering degrees can be 130-150 depending on what kind of engineering you’re going for.

Potential Careers in Engineering with a Bachelor’s Degree


  • Mechanical Engineer
    As a mechanical engineer, you will take part in the planning and manufacturing of the products your employer designs and makes. Your duties will include development, design, and testing of new designs. You’ll be required to have a bachelor’s or master’s in mechanical engineering or a related degree in order to hold this position.
    Average Annual Salary: $70,500
  • Electrical Engineer
    Your responsibilities in this position will include designing and implementing the components for all devices that use electricity to operate. Your main focus will be the generation of power to go through the device. You will be required to work in teams to get through the complex issues you face.
    Average Annual Salary: $75,300
  • Chemical Engineer
    You’ll use your knowledge of chemical properties to create new solutions (cleaning solvents, lubricants, fuels, etc.) You may also be asked to examine and smooth out industrial processes by suggesting chemical systems. You may work for a firm that develops products that relate closely to chemical compounds.
    Average Annual Salary: $74,200
  • Materials Engineer
    Your specialty in this position will be to conduct materials analysis. When you are given an assignment to study and analyze a material’s performance, you’ll help your team develop changes and corrections that achieve the desired result. You’ll also develop new products and fine tune the production and manufacturing processes.
    Average Annual Salary: $75,000
  • Civil Engineer
    As a civil engineer, you will be responsible for helping to design and plan infrastructure construction projects. You may also be chosen to manage these projects, which include bridge or building repairs. Or you may be in charge of building a large project. You can expect to have the opportunity to work in more than one sector: transportation, structural, and environmental.
    Average Annual Salary: $66,100

Options to Advance


Once you decide it’s time to advance in your engineering career, you’ll have several options for how to do so.

One of your first options is to enroll in certification classes. These help you to supplement what you learned during your undergraduate degree program. And, luckily, they aren’t too expensive. Even better, you won’t spend two or four years earning a certification—these classes tend to last less than a year. With a certification, you can branch out into another field of engineering, or gain the skills to move into management.

Another option is to return to school to earn your master’s in engineering. By earning a higher degree, your salary will jump even more than it would with a certification. Knowing that most students who come to earn a master’s degree will be engineers who are continuing to work, schools of engineering often offer programs that allow you to balance your work life with your class obligations.

You may also choose to find a position which will offer you a higher salary without earning a certificate or your master’s degree, based solely on your years of experience. However, this option is a bit more risky, as too many jumps from one position to another may look bad on your resume.

Colleges that Offer a Traditional Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering


  • Temple University
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Temple University’s College of Engineering offers an interdisciplinary program giving students the opportunity to blend their chosen engineering major with other disciplines (i.e., electrical and mechanical). Students are able to choose from one of five concentrations, which helps them add more professional skills./p>

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Civil Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Electrical and Electronics Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Engineering, General – Bachelors & Doctorate Degrees
    • Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Industrial Engineering – Bachelor’s Degree
    • Mechanical Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
  • Drexel University
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Drexel University offers an engineering technology program focusing on multidisciplinary approaches. You’ll be ready for an application-oriented position in one of several fields including systems engineering, automation, field-service, manufacturing, or as a technical member of a team.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Architectural Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Chemical Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Civil Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Computer Engineering – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
    • Computer Software Engineering – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
    • Electrical and Electronics Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Engineering, General – Bachelor’s Degree & Undergraduate Certificate
    • Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Materials Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Mechanical Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
  • Trinity College
    Hartford, Connecticut

    The Engineering Department at Trinity College works to offer a solid education in engineering. Trinity College offers a liberal arts environment so that students earn a well-rounded education, which allows them to make contributions to their community and society. Choose from one of four types of engineering degrees.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering – Bachelor’s Degree
    • Computer Engineering – Bachelor’s Degree
    • Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering – Bachelor’s Degree
    • Engineering, General – Bachelor’s Degree
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Troy, New York

    The Rensselaer School of Engineering educates and trains future engineers so that they are fully prepared to tackle the technical challenges facing today’s society. Their programs offer technological excellence along with a top education, which allows students to enter successful careers.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Chemical Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Civil Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Electrical and Electronics Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Engineering Physics/Applied Physics – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Engineering Science – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Industrial Engineering – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
    • Materials Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Mechanical Engineering - Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Nuclear Engineering - Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
  • University of Michigan
    Ann Arbor, Michigan

    The University of Michigan College of Engineering offers a mechanical engineering degree, which requires all students in the program to complete 128 credits in several areas. This degree is academically challenging because of its intellectual offerings and courses specific to mechanical engineering. These are also technical electives to round out the student’s degree program. And if you’re not interested in mechanical engineering, check out the 15 other engineering options below.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Chemical Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Civil Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Computer Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Electrical and Electronics Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Engineering Physics/Applied Physics – Bachelor’s Degree
    • Engineering Science – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Engineering, General – Bachelor’s Degree
    • Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Geological/Geophysical Engineering – Bachelor’s Degree
    • Industrial Engineering – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
    • Materials Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Mechanical Engineering - Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    • Nuclear Engineering – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees

Colleges that Offer Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Engineering


  • Indiana State University
    Terre Haute, Indiana

    The engineering technology management degree-completion program at Indiana State was created with transfer students in mind. These students should already hold an associate degree in either engineering technology or a closely related area. This degree gives students the tools they need to manage both technical and engineering professionals in the work world.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology Management
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
    Daytona Beach, Florida

    This university offers rigorous education and training so that, when they graduate, students have strong problem-solving skills that will aid them with problematic projects. They also learn design skills and good engineering judgment. Students graduate with solid research experience and the basics in industry knowledge.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology
  • The University of Alabama
    Gadsden, Alabama

    The University of Alabama engineering program provides an online bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering to students. Because the program is mostly online, students will experience a minimum of job disruption or travel. This program offers a well-rounded degree in all areas of product manufacturing and machine design.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
  • Arizona State University
    Tempe, Arizona

    Accredited by ABET, this online, engineering management degree program fits students who are interested in both engineering and business. On the engineering side, students gain a wide range of knowledge in engineering science and courses in engineering design, along with business analytics.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bachelor of Science in Engineering Management
  • Old Dominion University
    Norfolk, Virginia

    ODU has offered online learning for more than 30 years. Its programs are traditional, but also look to the future as they welcome and educate students in their engineering degree programs. With top-notch advising and education, graduates are well-prepared to move into their first professional roles in engineering.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology: with Specializations