What is a Structural Engineer?

You have probably heard of a civil engineer, but what is a structural engineer? A structural engineer is a civil engineer who has specialized in engineering structures that are weight bearing or must be able to resist weight loads. For example, if you worked in this field you might deal with designing buildings, oil rigs, or dams. You might become an expert in aircraft design or tunnels or any other type of structure.

This is an important job because the integrity of the design will determine the viability and safety of the structure.  The roles of a structural engineer include the following:

  • Analyze the needs that must be addressed including safety, aesthetics and environmental impact
  • Design the structure insuring it meets all load requirements and conforms to regulatory codes and requirements
  • Research the engineering specifications
  • Determine appropriate materials to be used that affect structural integrity
  • Prepare construction drawings
  • Complete cost estimates
  • Work with the construction personnel to insure engineering specifications are understood and properly incorporated
  • Make necessary changes as needed during construction

Reading the list you can see that, as a structural engineer, you are a blend of designer, accountant, construction supervisor and safety coordinator.

Excellent Pay Reflects Training and Responsibilities

To be a structural engineer it is necessary to earn a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.  The structural engineer degree is awarded as a specialty civil engineering degree. You can also pursue a master’s degree specifically in structural engineering. The classes you will take include math, physics, general and special engineering, and engineering computer software like AutoCad among others that include life sciences.

To work as a structural engineer, you must also be state licensed. To obtain a license it’s necessary to graduate from a school that has been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. You must also have 4 years of actual engineering work experience and pass a state administered exam.

During the course of your career, you can also earn a number of specialty certifications by attending professional workshops and completing additional courses offered by professional engineering organizations.

Entry level structural engineers, with less than 4 years of experience needed for licensing, earn $47,000 to $62,000 according to PayScale.  With a license your pay will increase significantly. Structural engineers with 5 to 9 years of experience are paid an average annual salary between $58,000 and $75,000.

How much does a structural engineer make a year with more than 10 years experience? Earnings increase to between $68,000 and $89,000.  An expert in structural engineering can make as much as $111,000 with 20 years or more of experience.

Great Employment Prospects Match Great Salary!

The employment prospects for civil engineers are excellent. The number of jobs is expected to grow by 24 percent by 2018 according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This is due to population growth leading to increasing need for buildings in general and supporting public structures like water facilities.

You can find employment with many different organizations and agencies. Structural engineers work for construction firms, universities, and state and federal agencies.  With a license and experience you can also work as a self-employed consultant.

The structural engineer salary you can expect to earn is partially dependent on the city where you work. For example, structural engineers in New York City are paid an average salary between $57,000 and $79,000.  San Francisco is another high paying city with the average salaries running between $60,000 and $85,000.

But if you work in Dallas, the average salary figures drop to $54,000 to $70,000.

The next question is: how much money does a structural engineer make a year by industry?  The highest paying industry is the aerospace and defense industry which pays an average of $63,000 to $91,000.  Structural engineers working in the construction industry are making an average salary of $51,000 to $68,000.

Other industries where you can look for employment include general and specialty engineering consulting firms.  Some engineering firms specialize solely in structural engineering consulting.

Project managers have the most responsibilities and the pay reflects that fact. Project managers are paid an average annual salary of $56,000 to $79,000.  You can compare this to structural engineers specializing in engineering design who are paid an average of $53,000 to $73,000.

Exciting Career

Structural engineering is an exciting career because the work you do becomes enduring structures the benefit people. You also get to work with many other professionals including architects, builders, government inspectors and other civil engineers. Many of your projects will require working as a member of a team so you need to work well with people from all walks of life.

If you are considering going into engineering and enjoy detailed work that relies on technology this is a great career choice.  You can earn excellent money while working on varied and interesting projects.

Materials Science Engineering Careers…Innovation at Work!

The field of materials science engineering offers incredible opportunity in terms of both a career and earnings.  In fact, this is one of the highest paying jobs you can hold with a Bachelor’s Degree. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, materials engineers earn an average starting salary of $57,349.

There are several different name versions used for this profession including materials engineer and  materials scientist.  Though the exact title may vary, the job duties may include the following.

  • Study material behavior at the cellular level
  • Develop new materials for use in manufacturing
  • Work with a variety of materials including metals, polymers and semiconductors to name a few
  • Conduct research on the development of new materials
  • Work with nanotechnology
  • Work in biotechnology field
  • Product design
  • Microelectronics

Researching and developing new materials is a rapidly expanding field. Biotechnology and nanotechnology are wide open interest areas with plenty of opportunity for employment in industry and research labs. This is a career that requires innovative thinking and maintenance of state-of-the-art knowledge.

It is not a surprise that the salary paid to those working in this field is so high considering the skill and knowledge needed that cross disciplines. A materials scientist is educated in subjects like biology, physics, chemistry, technology, and computer software as a minimum.

Growing Field That Will Only Keep Expanding

The current employment growth projection is 9 percent for 2008 to 2018 according to the U.S. Department of Labor. There is a good possibility that growth will exceed expectations though as technology continues to expand at a rapid rate in areas like nanotechnology and development of composite materials.

The average salary range for all materials science engineers is $51,420 to $124,470 according to the U.S. Department of Labor. If you decide this is a good career for you the industries with some of the highest employment levels include aerospace, engineering, biotechnology and semiconductor chip manufacturing.  As you can see there is a varied need for materials engineers.

A minimum of a bachelors degree is required to be a materials engineer because of the in-depth knowledge required to do the job. But a large number of people continue their education and get their masters or doctorate degrees.  You can also specialize in a particular area of study at the graduate level. The level of education impacts the amount you can earn. For example, here are some PayScale recent average salary figures for those with degrees in general material science:

  • Bachelor of Science | $52,000 to $71,000
  • Master of Science |$59,000 to $82,000
  • Doctorate | $78,000 to $110,000

One of the main things affecting salary is years of experience. The more experience you have the more you will earn. For example, a person with less than one year of experience is earning approximately $50,000 while someone with 10 years of experience is earning a minimum average annual salary of $74,000.  Once you have 10 years of experience, you become quite valuable to employers.

Where You Work Matters

Where you live and work does affect pay also. A materials scientist working in New York generally earns more than one working in Florida or Ohio. The pay difference can be fairly significant too.  In New York the materials engineer earns between $62,000 and $92,000. In Ohio the materials engineer earns an average salary of $52,000 to $71,000.

The city of employment matters too. The salary range in Orlando, Florida is $57,000 to $92,000.  The salary range in Cleveland is $46,000 to $60,000. That is quite a difference! Other high paying cities include Houston and Los Angeles. Before deciding where to seek employment, it’s beneficial to research the average salaries paid in the geographical locations of interest.

Career Options

Materials engineering is a big field of study and so many people choose to specialize.  For example, you may decide to concentrate  on:

  • Metallurgy
  • Materials production
  • Materials manufacturing
  • Materials research

You can earn a Professional Engineers license with a degree, four years of work experience and a passing grade on a state exam. Becoming a Certified Materials Engineer is an excellent credential that can boost your salary even higher. There are a number of professional organizations that offer nationally recognized certification programs.

The wide choice of materials science engineering careers appeals to people interested in this field of study. After gaining hands-on experience a number of engineers become consultants working by the hour or on a project basis.

Because this field works with the development of new materials, there are even job opportunities in the patent law industry.

Materials science is a discipline that is constantly expanding as science and technology advance. The excitement of creating new materials and putting them to use in products beneficial to people attracts some of the most intelligent and innovative people.  Does this sound like a description of you? If so, you can become a materials science engineer and enjoy a great career making an excellent salary.

Details on a Career in Forensic Engineering

Forensic engineering is a particular specialty within the forensic sciences.  The forensic engineer studies physical evidence using the theories, principles and knowledge of engineering. Forensic engineers are employed by governmental and private organizations. For example, this position is found in law firms and insurance companies in addition to prosecutor offices and police departments.

The forensic engineer may also work as an expert consultant doing investigative work on a project-by-project basis.  If you choose this career, you might also be asked to be an expert witness in court trials from time to time. Expert witnesses usually hold a graduate degree in their area of expertise in addition to having many years of experience.

When you are in forensic engineering your job will entail investigating any and all materials, physical structures like buildings or bridges, and products after an apparent failure. In many cases an injury has occurred or there has been property damage.  You will collect evidence, design and use testing models to recreate situations, conduct experiments and much more. The ultimate goal is to identity the cause of a failure and to document how to prevent future physical materials or structural failures leading to damages or injuries.

Forensic engineers may investigate traffic accidents, the cause of fires or bridge failures for example. You can work for law enforcement and work crime scenes but from the engineering perspective.

Preparing for a New Career in Investigative Work

What education does a forensic engineer need? A bachelor’s degree in engineering is usually the minimum education requirement. The engineering degree can be in any of a number of disciplines including electrical, mechanical or materials. The degree can then be supplemented with courses in civil law or criminology or other related subjects if you desire.

To earn the highest salaries you will need to get a masters degree or even a doctorate in engineering or an allied science.  In addition, obtaining professional certifications from a recognized authority or organization can lead to a higher salary.

You will need to be licensed by the state as an engineer as a minimum.

In some states you can obtain special licenses, in addition to the general license, indicating you are a specialist in a particular area. To obtain a specialty license you will complete additional study, work in the field, and take an exam proving your expertise.

The more credentials and experience you have, the more you will be able to command in the job market. Professional organizations include the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the International Institute of Forensic Engineering Sciences.

The education of a forensic engineer takes place in the classroom and in the field. Hands-on experience is important in order to successfully prepare for this career.

Excellent Pay for an Excellent Career

The salary a forensic engineer can expect to make depends on many factors including the location of the job and years of experience. So how much does a forensic engineer make a year?

In general, per PayScale, you can expect to make anywhere from $49,000 to $97,000 as an average annual salary.  The more experience you can claim, the more you can expect to get paid.

  • 1 to 4 years experience $40,000 to $64,000
  • 5 to 9 years $70,000 to $98,000
  • Over 10 years $82,000 to $103,000

Forensic science technicians, including forensic engineers, earn an average salary of $55,070 annually according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Within the industry classification of “architectural, engineering, and related services” the forensic scientists earned an average salary of $59,320 as of May 2009.

The city and state where you choose to work has an impact on the forensic engineer salary. Forensic scientists in Florida earn an average of $44,910 per year. In Washington, D.C. they are earning an average salary of $69,870.  In Massachusetts the average is $81,950.

One of the reasons for the disparity, of course, is the difference in the cost of living.

The state with the highest employment numbers for forensic science jobs is Florida with Illinois and Arizona also reporting significant numbers of positions.

Salaries are not quite so disparate when looking at various metropolitan areas. The top five employment cities for forensic scientists, including forensic engineers, pay between $70,000 and $78,000.  Washington D.C. pays the most which would be expected considering the number of government jobs in that area.

Researching various locations of employment can net you more pay in the long run.

The employment growth for forensic science technicians is projected to be approximately 20 percent for the 10 year period of 2008 to 2018. The rapid growth rate is due to an expanding population and the need for specialists trained to use complex technology.

To be a forensic engineer, you need to be methodical and task oriented.  With the right education and skills you can begin a fascinating career with excellent earning potential.

Details on a Career in Computer Engineering

Electrical engineering and computer science both fall under the more general term of computer engineering.

Careers in computer engineering are very hot right now and they look like they will only get hotter. While demand for the jobs is high, the supply (people with computer engineering degrees) is also rising. Still, it’s a good idea anybody to consider a career in computer engineering.

As you may guess, computer engineering careers deal with computers and software. Computer engineers are trained to work with computer software and hardware. They focus on the design, the development, and the integration of everything that is related to computer software or hardware.

Computer Engineering Career Information

To become a computer engineer a person must have a degree in computer engineering or a related field. All computer engineers have at least a bachelor’s degree. Many go on to earn a master’s degree too. Many institutions offer majors in computer engineering. Some even allow the students to choose a specific field. So instead of just majoring in the broad field of computer engineering, a student would major in a specific part of computer engineering.

In fact, if a student tries to study all the design and application associated with computer engineering then that student will not be an expert in any part of it. There is just too much to be learned in four years.

Some of the specialty areas include (but aren’t limited to) algorithms, circuits and signals, computer organization and architecture, database systems, digital logic and signal processing, electronics, operating systems, software engineering,  and computer networking.

The pay for careers in computer engineering is pretty good. It varies according to the state, the company, and the position that is held. Obviously those with bachelor’s degrees will make less than those with master’s degrees. However, all computer engineers can make a good living.

In general a computer engineer can expect to make somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000 in their first year. Those who have been working for 5 years or more can expect to make more than $60,000. So you can see that the pay is very good and very competitive with most other engineering careers.

The future of computer engineering looks very bright. Computers have really blown-up over the last decade or so and they are expected to continue to grow in popularity. So computer engineers are in demand and can expect to be in demand pretty much forever. The one problem is that there are many students who major in this field. But there is so much potential demand that it’s hared to imagine the supply keeping up.

Careers in computer science are great. They pay well and they are interesting jobs (for the most part). Since the popularity of computers continues to grow and will continue to grow, the need for computer engineers will exist for a very long time, if not forever. Computer engineers need to have a college education in computer engineering or a similar field. A bachelor’s degree is required but a master’s degree of PhD will help a computer engineer be in more demand and make better money.

What You Need to Know About an Online Computer Engineering Degree

An online computer engineering degree could be your ticket to a long career in a very in-demand industry. Computers aren’t just the future. They’re right now. Computers and the internet continue to change the way we live. And, as technology becomes more advanced, computers dictate almost every area of our lives.

People who know how to communicate with and manipulate computer technology are always in-demand. And this isn’t likely to change any time soon.

If you don’t already have the training and education necessary to work as a computer engineer, you’re going to need a computer engineering degree. However, our lives seem to get busier even though computers seem to make everything we do easier and faster. How do you find the time to get a computer engineering degree?

The answer is simple: get an online computer engineering degree.

An online computer engineering degree solves almost every obstacle when it comes to your education. Online computer engineering courses can be completed at times that are most convenient for you. They can be done during nights and weekends to accommodate your existing work and family schedule.

Also, they can be completed at your own pace. You won’t have to choose between your work, your family, and school. School fits into your life and not the other way around. This is ideal if you need a little more time to study and learn the material thoroughly.

Online computer engineering programs are often more affordable than traditional universities as well. When you’re looking at a new career, you want to make money not spend money. Online degrees in computer engineering can make it possible to change careers when money is an issue.

Also, the virtual world is the perfect environment in which to complete computer engineering technology classes. After all, you’re working with the very machine you’re studying. In this way, online degrees aren’t much different than a traditional degree.

Technology has made great strides when it comes to online learning. Computers and technology make it possible to create a virtual classroom experience. Many online degrees provide the same level of student and teacher interaction as the standard classroom. And, you can communicate with your professors and fellow students just as would at a regular university.

Computer engineering is a demanding field but it is also a competitive field. Lots of professionals pursue careers in this industry. With that said, the best-trained and most knowledgeable professionals will get the jobs. When choosing an online school for your computer engineering degree, be sure to do your research.

There are many options for online schools. And some are better than others. Choose the best-ranked online schools for computer engineering and make certain that the school you select is an accredited online college or university.

With a degree in computer engineering, you’re in for an exciting career in one of the most fast-paced industries out there.

Details on a Career in Architectural Engineering

Architectural engineering offers a great career to those who want to bring creative architectural ideas to life. The architect creates building ideas, concepts and drawings. The architectural engineer is responsible for assuring the actual structural systems are properly designed for actual use by the public.

There are different career paths you can take after earning your engineering degree. Because the architectural engineer can be involved in the planning and design of particular building components, it is not unusual to specialize either.

For example, you may choose to specialize in illumination which includes all the electrical systems. You could specialize in air conditioning and heating systems for large buildings.  Other specialties include plumbing, fire control systems, and total structural design.

There are a growing number of opportunities in areas like “smart buildings” and “green buildings.”

You can also specialize in particular topical areas like:

  • Urban planning
  • Interiors
  • Industrial design
  • Engineering technology
  • Energy conservation (green buildings)
  • Construction management

The amount of money you earn will be closely tied to the type of work you choose to do. This degree leads to some of the highest paying jobs for college graduates just starting their careers. According to PayScale a civil engineer, which is what this particular profession falls under, is paid an average salary of $62,425.

A building design architect, in comparison, is paid $53,658.  You can earn quite a bit more right out of college with an architectural engineering degree.

Choose the Industry

Architectural engineers work in a number of different areas. You have a choice of architectural engineering careers in the following industries:

  • State and federal government agencies
  • Universities or colleges
  • Architecture firms
  • Construction firms
  • Nonprofits like the Peace Corp
  • Self-employment
  • Computer assisted designs

In the category of architecture/engineering/construction federal government staff earns the highest average annual salary at almost $70,000 according to PayScale.

Also earning high salaries are state and local staffs at $68,000 and the self-employed earning the same amount as state and local professionals. Once you have your state license and some hands-on experience, you can become an independent consultant if you want to be self-employed.

Generally speaking, the more experience you have the more you will earn with average annual salaries topping off at $106,000 after 26 to 30 years of experience. This is according to the Engineering Workforce Commission of the American Association of Engineering Societies.

Professional Assistance Can Boost Your Career

You need a bachelor’s degree and a state license to pursue your architectural engineering degree. You can also take advantage of a number of professional organizations to network and stay on top of industry standards. Rapid technological changes make it imperative that you pursue continuing education opportunities for as long as you work.

Following is a short list of some of the many professional organizations offering certification workshops and ongoing education:

  • The Architectural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, Inc.
  • American Society for Engineering Education
  • National Association of Management Personnel in the Design Profession
  • Society of Fire Protection Engineers
  • Structural Engineering Institute

The demand for architectural engineers is expected to remain strong. During your career, you will work with many other professionals including mechanical and electrical engineers. This is a great career choice because it’s the type of job that is adaptable and offers new opportunities all the time.

One of the reasons is that technology is constantly improving. Building system innovations are leading to innovative career paths. For example, sophisticated computer software is frequently being introduced both for planning, design and building controls.

According to the University of Kansas, Architectural Engineers began their careers at an average annual salary of $51,411. The range was $39,500 to $60,000 which is a fairly wide spread. Many factors can impact starting pay including the city of employment and the industry in which the job is located.

Career Paths

Your career path will begin with a job working for a licensed senior engineer. During this time you will get hands-on experience with actual projects. As the project progresses, you will probably take on additional duties including higher level analysis work in the focus area such as HVAC or illumination.

Once you obtain your Professional Engineer license, you can then take responsibility as a project lead. Eventually you could become a project manager which includes building site monitoring and implementation of new technology.

In many states the licensing exam is given in 2 parts. The first part can be taken upon completion of your studies leading to a bachelor’s degree. The second part is taken after you have at least 4 years of work experience.

You can also pursue a graduate degree in Architectural Engineering if you want to fast track your career.

Get an Architectural Engineering Degree Online for a Lucrative Career!

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between an architect and an architectural engineer. They are not the same despite having the word architecture in the titles.

In fact these two careers are two entirely different disciplines. An architect gets a degree in architecture.  An architectural engineer gets a degree in engineering. When you complete an architectural engineering degree onlineyou are prepared to develop engineered plans for building systems. An architect is more concerned with aesthetic and functional designs of space and form.

But the architect and architectural engineer often work closely together. They may even have taken some of the same classes in college, but there the similarity ends. The architectural engineering programs are typically specialty engineering programs that may focus on one or more of the following systems associated with buildings.

  • Structural planning and design
  • Construction
  • Electrical systems
  • Ventilation and heating and cooling systems
  • Fire protection
  • Plumbing
  • Energy conservation across all systems

When taking classes at the architectural engineering schools you learn how to bring architectural designs to life through structural designs and materials choices.

Comprehensive Study Program

If this sounds like a great career then your first step is to enroll in one of the architectural engineering colleges. Your program of study will include classes in the various building systems previously mentioned plus many general engineering courses. In addition you will study architecture as it relates to the engineering field, surveying and computer software in addition to math and physical sciences classes.

The degree requirements are demanding. but that is because it is essential that only well trained and knowledge people work in this job.

You should only choose this career if you enjoy highly detailed work. Your work may be primarily in an office but you will be required to visit construction sites to. This is an advantage of working as an architectural engineer because you are not limited to only office work in many positions.

This is a job where the theoretical meets reality. Your primary job will be to plan and design structurally sound buildings meant to last.

This can be a very lucrative career. The more experience you have, the greater your earnings will be. For example, an entry level architectural engineer may earn between $37,000 to $51,000 according to surveys completed by the University of Kansas and the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

You can compare those starting numbers to the average pay for someone with 9 to 10 years of experience as reported by the Engineering Workforce Commission of the American Association of Engineering Societies. An architectural engineer with 10 years experience earned an average of $74,000 in 2009.

The annual earnings jump to $81,000 for 13 to 16 years of experience and $92,000 for 17 to 20 years of experience.  The highest paid earn over $100,000 annually.

A Great Career Starts with a Degree!

You can now get a BS degree in architectural engineering online.  To maximize your earnings you can also go on to earn a master’s degree if you want. Licensing requirements vary by state, but all engineers are required to be licensed in order to work without supervision. In most states you must first work a designated number of years under direct supervision at an engineering firm.  You must also pass a written test.

Once you get your engineering license you can expect to earn a higher annual salary because it means you can handle your own projects without working under another engineer.

Looking at the PayScale earnings numbers, you might be happy to know you can choose any of several large cities and not affect your earnings potential. For people working in architecture/engineering/construction, Houston pays an average annual salary of $68,115 while Los Angeles pays $66,175.  San Francisco pays $64,341 while Seattle pays $61,098.

You can also often increase your earnings by obtaining professional certifications.  Certifications can be earned in specialties such as HVAC, fire protection, illumination and structural engineering.

You have several career paths to choose from. You can work for building contractors, architectural businesses, engineering firms or as an independent consultant. Much of the work is done as a member of a team. The goal is to incorporate system designs into buildings without negatively impacting the aesthetics of the design.

Go Ahead…Pursue Your Dream!

If being an architectural engineer is your dream then the online programs are ideal. Not all local universities or colleges offer this degree, but anyone can access online education. You can work on your degree at home and at your convenience.

Distance learning is a growing industry and new degrees are being offered all the time. The online architectural engineering degree is just one of many engineering degrees available through distance education programs. You don’t need to put your dreams on hold any longer!

Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam


The Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam (PE Exam) is the last step on the road to becoming a licensed engineer. Before you qualify to take the PE exam, you must pass the FE Exam (or successfully waive the requirement) and gain at least 4 years of engineering experience under your belt. Your state licensing board will review your experience to determine if you qualify to sit for the PE exam.

You can choose to take one PE Exam based on your engineering specialty. The PE Exams you may choose from include:

  • PE Agricultural
  • PE Architectural
  • PE Chemical
  • PE Civil
  • PE Control Systems
  • PE Electrical and Computer
  • PE Environmental
  • PE Fire Protection
  • PE Industrial
  • PE Mechanical
  • PE Metallurgical
  • PE Mining and Mineral
  • PE Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering
  • PE Nuclear
  • PE Petroleum
  • PE Structural I
  • PE Structural II
  • PS (Principles and Practice of Surveying)

The exams vary from 6-8 hours. They are all divided up into morning and afternoon sessions regardless of the length. The exams contain between 80-100 multiple-choice questions. The exception to this is the PE Structural II exam, which instead consists of 8 essay questions – 4 of which must be answered.

All exams are open book. Only specific, approved calculator models may be used. You may not bring any pagers or cell phones into the exam room.

Once you pass the exam, you will be licensed in your jurisdiction. You can apply for a license in other jurisdictions by contacting each licensing board. The PE Exam was first administered in 1966. The uniform, national PE Exam that is used today was adopted in the U.S. by 1984.

What Counts as Acceptable Engineering Experience for the PE Exam?

In order to qualify for the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam (PE Exam), a candidate will need to work as an engineer for 4 years.

Some of this experience may have been accumulated during college (i.e. an internship). And in some states, an advanced degree (i.e. a Ph.D) may count for a portion of the experience. You will need to check the specific rules in your state.

There are several criteria that must be met for a specific position to count as acceptable engineering experience for the PE exam. Firstly, the work experience must be in a major recognized branch of engineering and it must also be in the specific branch of engineering the individual is claiming as his or her specialty. The experience must also have been conducted under the supervision of a more qualified engineer.

Further criteria include that the work experience should allow the individual to develop his or her technical skills. Lastly, the experience must progress from simpler tasks to more complex tasks with more responsibility and be considered “well-rounded”. It is important that the individual has performed independent decision making skills and accountability during the work experience.

You will have to communicate that your work experience meets these criteria to the state board when applying for your engineering license. Therefore, you should document your work experience as clearly and specifically as possible. Keep records of all the individuals who can verify your experiences. Take care when filling out the work experience portion of your licensing application as the board will review it carefully.

While gaining your engineering experience, it is wise to tell your employer that you plan to become a licensed engineer and they will usually be happy to ensure that your work experience meets the criteria for licensing.

What is the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE Exam)?


The Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (also known as the FE Exam or EIT Exam in some states) tests your basic understanding of engineering.

You may take it right after graduating from a 4-year college or university engineering program. You may also choose to take it while still completing your engineering program (usually during your last year in school).

The FE Exam is basically a measure of your competency to enter engineering as a profession. It assesses your college education. Many employers will not hire a recent graduate who has not yet taken the FE Exam.

Please note that if you are interested in becoming a surveying engineer, you would take the FS Exam rather than the FE Exam.

It is possible to waive the requirement to take the FE Exam if you are an engineer with an advanced degree (Ph.D.) or decades of work experience.

The FE Exam is 8 hours in length and is entirely multiple-choice. You will have two sessions of 4 hours each, one in the morning, and the other in the afternoon. The exam is closed book, but you will have access to limited reference material.

During the exam, you may not bring in cell phones or pagers. Only calculators specified by National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), the entity that governs the engineering licensure exams, may be used during the examination.

You must score a 70 or above to pass the FE Exam. After the successful completion of the FE Exam, you will need to gain at least 4 years of qualified engineering experience after which then you will take the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam (PE Exam).

The PE exam delves into engineering details you would gain from real-world experience and is the last major step for becoming a licensed engineer.

The In’s and Out’s of the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE Exam)

The exam is closed book, but you will be supplied a copy of the FE Supplied-Reference Handbook for your use.

The FE Exam contains 180 multiple-choice questions. The morning session contains 120 questions relevant to all engineering disciplines. The afternoon session contains 60 questions.

You will have a choice to make during the afternoon session. Your 60 questions may either consist of more general engineering questions or those pertaining to your area of interest. These may include questions related to chemical, civil, electrical, environmental, industrial, or mechanical engineering.

You must answer all the questions you are administered during the FE Exam. The 120 questions in the morning session are broken down into 12 different topic areas. These include the following…

  • Question Topic (Approximate % of Test)
  • Mathematics (15%)
  • Engineering Probability and Statistics (7%)
  • Chemistry (9%)
  • Computers (7%)
  • Ethics and Business Practices (7%)
  • Engineering Economics (8%)
  • Engineering Mechanics (10%)
  • Strength of Materials (7%)
  • Material Properties (7%)
  • Fluid Mechanics (7%)
  • Electricity and Magnetism (9%)
  • Thermodynamics (7%)

You can see a further breakdown of the topics in the NCEES publication. The afternoon session includes 60 questions in one of the 6 specialty areas (chemical, civil, electrical, environmental, industrial, or mechanical) or further general engineering questions.

The FE Exam was first administered in 1965. Since 1985, all licensing boards have used the same national exam. The specialty option was offered beginning in 1996.


Why Become a Licensed Engineer?


Often a degree alone is not enough for many engineering positions. As you can imagine, practicing as an engineer often requires strict adherence to safety and public health issues.

Therefore, licensing is a necessity to prove that a particular engineer understands all the concepts and the code of ethics involved with working as an engineer.

Licensing will help an engineer prove that they have the highese level of qualifications and professional competency.

For all these reasons, licensing will enhance your status and professionalism as an engineer. Getting licensed may also help you gain employment, demand a higher salary and qualify for more prestigious positions and projects.

A licensed engineer may use the initials P.E. after their name (Professional Engineer). As you probably recognize, with the uncertainties in this day and age, the more credentials you have, the better your chances of finding employment are. You need to position yourself properly for employment. You need to be prepared to adapt to changing workforce. Taking the extra steps to becoming a licensed engineer will only put you in a better position.

Many companies make it a requirement to become a licensed engineer and provide rewards for those that take the steps toward licensing. Some companies will help their employees with licensure by providing review courses and even reimbursement of the application and required fees.

A few advantages on becoming a licensed engineer…

  • Only licensed engineers may pursue careers as consultants or private practitioners.
  • Only licensed engineers may put in order, present, sign and seal engineering plans and drawings to a public authority for approval.
  • In some states, only licensed engineers may teach.
  • Some higher level government engineering jobs can only be filled by licensed engineers.
  • Only a licensed engineer may use the title “engineer” to the public.

Enhance your credibility and open up new doors for your career. Rise to the top of your company or department!

How to Get Your Engineering License?

When you are ready to begin securing your engineering license, you will need to review your states laws. Licensure is governed by individual state legislatures and may vary from state to state.

Fortunately, the laws governing professional engineers are similar. The basic steps include graduating from a college or university, gaining experience in the field of engineering (4 years) and passing the required written exams.

Once you graduate, make sure you start the licensing process (if you have not already begun) by gaining the pre-license certificate known as the Engineers in Training (EIT) certificate. This certificate is also called Engineer Intern (EI) in some states.

The EIT (or comparable certificate) signifies that you have completed the engineering degree requirements and have passed the Fundamental of Engineering Exam (FE Exam). In order to gain an EIT certification, the degree requirements must be met as well as a successful score on the FE exam. After that, the candidate will have to pay a small fee (between $10 and $100) depending on the state.

However, gaining the EIT certificate does not mean you are a licensed engineer; you still need to meet the engineering experience requirements (usually 4 years of experience are necessary) and pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam (PE Exam). In most states, you may not take the PE Exam until you have gained at least 4 years of qualifying engineering experience.

The EIT is usually good for ten years and in most cases, your state will transfer it to another if you move before you take the PE Exam. In addition, most states will transfer the PE Exam without further examination.

To summarize, most states require the completion of an engineering degree and the passing of an 8-hour Fundamentals of Engineering exam. Upon completion of the degree and the passing of the FE Exam, the candidate will qualify for the EIT certificate. Once the engineer completes the engineering experience requirements (usually 4 years of experience is required) and an 8-hour Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam in the engineer’s specialty, they qualify for official certification as a Professional Engineer and may use the initials P.E. after their name.

Who is in Charge of Licensing Engineers?

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) prepares all the FE and PE exams for engineering licensure. The NCEES is in charge of the licensure of all engineers, regardless of the state the engineer resides in.

The General Steps for Becoming a Licensed Professional Engineer…

  • Graduate from a college or university engineering program (must be ABET-accredited).
  • Take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam – usually right after graduation (or you may take it right before). The FE exam is offered every April and October and lasts 8 hours. The FE exam rules may vary due to the state you are in. Most states allow individuals to take the FE exam before they gain experience.
  • Get a job in engineering and gain 4 years of experience (again this can vary from state to state, but most require 4 years).
  • Take the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam in your specialty. This is the second and last exam in the licensure process. This exam is also offered every April and October and is an 8 hour exam.

Please recognize that these steps are only a general overview of the steps required to become a professional engineer. The rules can vary from state to state. Therefore, you will need to contact your state licensing board for details on licensing in your jurisdiction.


The Truth about Online Engineering Degree Programs



Online engineering degree programs make it possible for many engineering students to realize their dreams. Some engineer hopefuls might be discouraged about the long educational career ahead of them. After all, becoming an engineer is no small feat. Engineers are required to hold at least a bachelors degree in engineering and many acquire masters and even doctorate degrees. This requires a minimum four years of study and as many as seven years for graduate degrees.

Engineering requires the use of some very complex subjects. Engineers must be proficient in mathematics, design, project management, and physics, just to name a few. Many of these disciplines are overwhelming to even the most diligent student. And, the pace of a classroom setting full of other students can be intimidating.

However, a traditional engineering program is just one way to become an engineer. Believe it or not, there are many online engineering degree programs that allow you to get your degree from the comfort of your own home.

Online engineering colleges are ideal for students pursuing their degree later in life. When you have a family, a job, and an established home, going back to school can seem almost impossible. But distance engineering degrees might be just the answer you’re looking for. You can complete your course work in your free time. And, there’s no need to uproot your family as you can complete your degree from your home computer.

Online engineering colleges are often more affordable than traditional colleges as well. A college education can cost thousands every year, especially when you include books and living expenses. But online colleges are much more affordable and they allow you to continue with your current life.

Some engineering students are skeptical of online engineering degree programs because they think they aren’t’ as good as traditional colleges and universities. However, by choosing accredited engineering schools, you can receive the same engineering education at an online school as you would at a traditional college.

Online colleges are very creative in their use of technology to ensure you get the best education possible. You interact with you professors and fellow students. You complete projects and lessons. And, you’re graded on your work with the same level of expectation.

However, many online engineering colleges allow you to move at your own pace. You can take the time you need to become comfortable with the material, as opposed to the classroom setting your pace.

With all these benefits, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get your engineering education online. It’s affordable, convenient, and practical. But online colleges aren’t just for more established students. They’re also great for first-time students, right out of high school. Traditional colleges aren’t right for everyone. But with an online engineering school, you can still get a college education without the cost or commitment of a traditional school.

You can work and complete your college degree, which allows you to get a head start in life.

Online Engineering PhD Programs

The decision to begin looking at engineering Ph.D. programs is a big step. A doctorate degree is a big commitment and it shows your passion for your career. But for many professionals, the task of getting their Ph.D. is a dream in itself. Everyone wants to have those special initials after their name.

But for many people, this dream never happens. Why? Life happens instead. People acquire jobs, bills, houses, and families instead of graduate degrees. And as life fills up with other things, there’s no more room for a long Ph.D. program. It’s even more challenging for engineers, who usually have demanding jobs and can work long hours.

However, technology makes it possible for more people to get their Ph.D. in engineering. Online engineering Ph.D. programs are becoming more popular for obvious reasons. They’re more convenient, more affordable, and more practical for the busy, working adult.

First of all, engineering Ph.D. programs can take years. But online Ph.D. engineering programs allow you to complete your degree at your own pace. If you have a lot of other commitments and you don’t want your doctorate degree program to interfere with your life, you can take as long as you need, working on it when you can. If you want to complete your degree as soon as possible, you can work hard to get it done quickly.

This is perhaps the best thing about distance Ph.D. programs. You can work when it’s convenient for you, instead of rearranging your life and your schedule. You don’t have to relocate to attend classes on a college campus.

Instead, you can do your work right from you home computer. Also, you can plan your degree schedule around your work and family schedule. Many campus classes are during standard work hours, making it difficult to hold and job and complete a doctorate program. With online programs, you can do your work during nights and weekends.

Online engineering Ph.D. programs are also more affordable. When you have lots of other financial commitments, it’s hard to imagine paying for another degree. After all, education can be very expensive, especially at the graduate level. However, online programs are more budget friendly.

If you’re concerned that your online Ph.D. program isn’t as good as the traditional approach, think again. Earning your Ph.D. is hard work, whether it’s done online or on a college campus. Accredited Ph.D. programs can be completed online, some of which are affiliated with traditional university campuses. But researching online programs, you’re sure to find one that fits your budget, your disciplinary interests, and your needs.

When you know you’re ready to complete your Ph.D., it can seem like a million obstacles are standing in the way. The internet makes everything more affordable and convenient, even when it comes to your graduate education. With online engineering programs, you dreams of becoming a doctor of engineering can become a reality. Earn your doctorate degree with the help of online engineering Ph.D. programs.

What is Engineering?


Engineering is the field of applying science and mathematics to develop solutions that have a practical end. Engineers design and manufacture machines, processes, systems and even economical structures.

In a sense, engineers are inventors. They dream up ideas and make them a reality for the rest of us. By utilizing science and math, they improve the quality of life for society.

Engineering is a highly rewarding career for creative and innovative individuals around the world. And as you can imagine, there is a great deal of prestige involved with being an engineer.

Since engineers are often responsible for directly creating a new product or service, they are in high demand in the corporate world and command fairly high salaries.

This site is dedicated to providing you with current information related to a career in engineering. Please review our many resources and get on the path to a rewarding career as an engineer today!

Education Requirements for Engineers

The minimum requirements for becoming an engineer consist of a bachelor’s degree from a university accredited engineering program. A degree in engineering might go a long way, but it is also possible to become an engineer with a degree in math, physics, or even computer science.

Keep in mind that there is quite a bit of math involved with most engineering programs or similar degrees. You can expect to take the following courses; algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. You will also be expected to take a large variety of science coursework. Typical science courses for engineering majors include; biology, chemistry and physics. Depending on your area of emphasis, you may also need to take some computer programming or computer applications coursework.

With the heavy coursload involved in an engineering program, you should come prepared. Most university engineering programs require students to complete two years of high school algebra and one year of trigonometry for admissions. Engineering programs commonly require one year of both chemistry and physics for admissions as well.

After college, many engineering graduates choose to pursue a job. It is possible to graduate and start earning $40,000 a year right out of college. A smaller subset of engineering graduates pursue in advanced degree in engineering (i.e. a Master’s or Ph.D) in Engineering. If you are considering a graduate degree in engineering, you will need a high score on the GRE Test. The GRE test is the graduate level admissions exam required by most all graduate schools.

Who Makes a Good Engineer?

So what type of person really does make the best engineer? Well, the best engineers really like to solve complex problems (you’ll be doing that a lot at your engineering job). They are also typically true inventors.

Math and science is an engineer’s playground. So if you struggled through your algebra 101 course, this career may not be the right fit for you.

Most engineers work as a team, therefore you should be a team player and possess great skills communicating with others. This will be highly important when planning and creating new projects (which engineers often do).

Engineers are also often practical, innovative, creative and curious about how things work. So many innovative technologies created by engineers help make the world safer and healthier, therefore, the desire to help people and improve the environment is a plus.

If you can tackle math and science quite easily (or at least stick with it) and you graduate with a degree in engineering, you can expect to earn a fairly high salary. You will also enter into a very prestigious career and can expect to be right on the cutting edge of technology. You will turn ideas into reality and solve problems that better society.

Where Do Engineers Work?

Engineers work at any organization where innovation occurs. This means they commonly wind up working in the government, research, industry, military, teaching, management or consulting sectors (which is practically everywhere).

Since engineering is a highly diverse field, engineers are found in many different industries. These include the petroleum industry, electronics, construction, environmental, hospitals, research facilities, nuclear plants, transportation and public utility companies. Engineers may also be found working on energy and automotive solutions, aerospace and pharmaceutical technologies, piping, and architectural designs.

Education Requirements for Engineers

The minimum requirements for becoming an engineer consist of a bachelor’s degree from a university accredited engineering program.

A degree in engineering might go a long way, but it is also possible to become an engineer with a degree in math, physics, or even computer science.

Keep in mind that there is quite a bit of math involved with most engineering programs or similar degrees. You can expect to take the following courses; algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. You will also be expected to take a large variety of science coursework. Typical science courses for engineering majors include; biology, chemistry and physics. Depending on your area of emphasis, you may also need to take some computer programming or computer applications coursework.

With the heavy course load involved in an engineering program, you should come prepared. Most university engineering programs require students to complete two years of high school algebra and one year of trigonometry for admissions. Engineering programs commonly require one year of both chemistry and physics for admissions as well.

After college, many engineering graduates choose to pursue a job. It is possible to graduate and start earning $40,000 a year right out of college. A smaller subset of engineering graduates pursue in advanced degree in engineering (i.e. a Master’s or Ph.D) in Engineering. If you are considering a graduate degree in engineering, you will need a high score on the GRE Test. The GRE test is the graduate level admissions exam required by most all graduate schools.

Featured Engineering Careers: The field of engineering has a wide range of career specialties, many of which require their own degree. Here are a few engineering careers:

  • Aerospace Engineering Career
  • Architectural Engineering Career
  • Biomedical Engineering Career
  • Chemical Engineering Careers
  • Civil Engineering Career
  • Computer Engineering Career
  • Electrical Engineering Careers
  • Environmental Engineering Career
  • Forensic Engineering Career
  • Materials Science Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering Career
  • Structural Engineering Career