Which Engineering Degree Should You Choose?

July 9, 2017

Engineering as a profession is very diverse and it naturally branches out into many different industries. Each specialty of engineering cumulatively contributes to nearly every aspect of our physical world. For a high school student interested in STEM or even someone looking to go back to school, the choices for which engineering degree to get can be rather daunting. You can always change your mind after the first year or two, but sometimes it ends up costing you extra money and definitely extra stress. The key to success in engineering is figuring out which degree path suits you best and which one will eventually lead you into a sustainable career. Let’s take a look at all of the different choices that you have when determining which engineering degree to get.

Biomedical Engineering Degree

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Common Fields: electronics, mechanical connections, and biological devices

Biomedical engineering is possibly the most specialized and niche disciple in engineering. It doesn’t quite fit into any other category but it also incorporates a lot of skills from other areas. To work in the biomedical field, you will need to have a strong interest in anatomy and physiology while also having a good idea of mechanical design and engineering. You will likely be working closely with mechanical and electrical concepts and trying to incorporate your designs into the human body. Doctors and surgeons consistently rely on biomedical advances to help save the lives of their patients. Biomedical engineers are behind advances in anything from hip replacements to pacemakers.

Chemical Engineering Degree

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Common Fields: chemistry, mathematics, life sciences, and lab work

Chemical engineering has seen huge growth in recent years due to the increase in chemically engineered products implemented in daily life and in industry. Chemical engineering doesn’t quite require that much explanation, but you will likely be working inside of a lab designing new chemicals or synthesizing compounds. This degree path could involve a lot of furthering research for the future as well. You have the opportunity to develop new life-saving drugs or re-engineer common foods. Everything in the world is made up of some form of chemical, compound, or element, and chemical engineers can work with any of it. From working on the next clean biofuel to revolutionizing skincare, you can do it with chemical engineering.

Civil Engineering Degree

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Common Fields: mechanics of materials, hydraulics, geotechnics, and statics

Civil engineering is the oldest form of engineering, with a close second being mechanical. Civil engineers deal with urban planning, pipe networks, water treatment, structural design, and any combination therein. They can also deal with geotechnical work even delving into seismic research from there. Civil engineering has a close relation with the construction industry and often will involve a lot of opportunities for hands-on work in the civil engineering career you choose. As a civil engineer, you have the option of working with chemicals in water treatment or designing the next world famous bridge. If civil engineering is too broad for you, you can specialize in geotechnical, petroleum, and environmental engineering. All in all, if you don’t like designing machines and want to focus on more solid designs, then civil engineering might be the way to go.

Electrical Engineering Degree

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Common Fields: circuits, electronics and computers

Commonly referred to as double E’s, electrical engineers work with electronics, circuits, and computers. Given modern advances and trends, you can likely see how electrical engineering is an in-demand carreer path. If you decide to choose electrical engineering as a degree path, you need to be prepared for working primarily with electronics and the technology within that industry. Given current advances in technology, electrical engineering is fast paced and is constantly innovating. If you want to lean further from electrical and more into computers, you can always choose a more specialized degree in computer science or computer engineering. The main difference here is that computer science focuses more on programming and computer engineering focuses on computer design. No matter what happens in the future, electrical engineering is forecasted to be one of the most desired engineering professions.

Manufacturing Engineering Degree

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Common Fields: manufacturing, production, equipment, processes

Manufacturing is one of the most important tasks in the growing consumer world. Practically everything around us is manufactured in some form or fashion, and a manufacturing engineer likely had something to do with it. To state it simply, the job of a manufacturing engineer is to take raw materials and turn them into a product in the most economical and efficient ways possible. Choosing this degree path will inevitably land you in the manufacturing field, but you could work with 3D printers or coordinate assembly robots. The job is all about optimization and efficiency, and if that is what you can do best, manufacturing engineering is for you. While the manufacturing industry in many places has hurt in recent years, engineers who know how to manufacture and design will almost always be desired.

Mechanical Engineering Degree

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Common Fields: stress analysis, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, mechanical design

Mechanical engineering is by far the most popular of all of the engineering disciplines. This is mostly because the degree is so broad. With a mechanical engineering degree, you could end up working in any field, from aerospace to air conditioner design. This also lends itself to some mechanical engineering students feeling like they haven’t focused in on anything in particular. Mechanical engineering focuses on the design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. Mechanical engineers are constantly tasked with improving the function of machines or running analysis on complex components. While your options with a degree in mechanical engineering can be diverse, you can also choose aerospace, robotics, or industrial engineering depending upon the specialty you want to work in. However, if you haven’t made it that far in your life planning yet, a degree in mechanical engineering will set you down the right path.

When making your final decision on what degree to choose, consider what your interests are and where you can see yourself working for the rest of your life. With any degree in engineering, you have options to work in virtually any industry, so you won’t be held back.

SEE ALSO: Best Engineering Websites Every Engineer Should Know About


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