Finding a Good Engineering Program

NJITOnce you decide to pursue an engineering or engineering technology education, preparation should begin as soon as possible. On the most basic level, college is designed to open doors. It teaches you how to think, solve ambiguous problems and use the tools of engineering such as design and simulation software – this gets you ready for employment.

There are several approaches to pursue an engineering or engineering technology career. You can attend a community or junior college, vocational school, technical college, state university or other public or private university. Programs range from one year or less for a certificate, two-three years for an associate’s degree and four-five years for a bachelor’s degree. Each path has its advantages and disadvantages. College classes are taught with the expectation that you are willing to do some research on your own and that you are motivated to do so.

Choosing the engineering or engineering technology school that is right for you is as important as wheels are to automobiles. Hundreds of schools offer engineering programs; some schools have engineering dorms, some offer engineering fraternities or sororities, some are inner-city and some are spread out over large distances. The advantages and disadvantages of each school will depend on your personal needs and wants. Important considerations for most college-bound students include location, cost, faculty, school size, and academics. To find a program in the United States, visit ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).

Where do College Graduates Work?

The U.S. Census released an interactive map of where college graduates work.

This interactive graphic allows you to explore the relationship between college majors and occupations. The length of each circle segment shows the proportion of people graduating in each college major and employed in each occupation group. The thickness of the lines between majors and occupations indicates the share of people in that major-occupation combination. Lines highlighted in color show the proportion of college graduates who work in STEM.
By hovering over a college major on the STEM Majors or Non-STEM Majors tab, you can see which occupations these graduates work in. You can also hover over an occupation to see which majors they hire from. These graphics show that only a minority of STEM majors are employed in STEM.

This visualization also lets you look at college major and employment patterns by sex, race, and Hispanic origin. It allows you to compare the relative size of each college major and occupation, as well as the proportion who are employed in STEM by these demographic characteristics. Comparing the graphics for men and women who are STEM majors, for example, we see that men are more likely to major in engineering and are more likely to be employed in STEM occupations.