What Can I Do With an Engineering Degree

Any Engineering Discipline

Areas

  • Production
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Management
  • Consulting
  • Research and Development
  • Teaching
  • Law

Employers

  • Industry
  • Business
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Colleges and universities

Strategies

Obtain related experience through co-op or internships for business/industry-related career. MBA degree provides best opportunities in technical management. Obtain Ph.D. for optimal teaching and research careers. Develop strong verbal and written communication skills. Learn federal, state, and local government job application procedures.

Aerospace

Areas

  • Propulsion
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Structures
  • Celestial Mechanics
  • Acoustics
  • Guidance and Control

Employers

  • Aircraft, guided missile, and space vehicle industries
  • Communications equipment manufacturers
  • Commercial airlines
  • Federal government departments: Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • Business and engineering firms

Strategies

Discipline uses cutting edge technology to deal with challenges of aeronautics, space, mass transportation, environmental pollution, and medical science.

Keep abreast of status of federal funding for defense and space programs.
Seek co-op opportunities. Develop effective verbal and written communication skills. Learn to work well within a team.

Biosystems Engineering

Areas

  • Natural Resources: Soil and Water Conservation
  • International Consulting
  • Environmental Control
  • Agricultural Structures
  • Power and Machinery
  • Electronic Systems
  • Food Engineering
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Engineering Technology

Employers

  • Technological agricultural industries
  • Land grant universities: Experimental farm stations, Research laboratories
  • Consulting firms
  • Equipment design, testing, and manufacturing firms
  • Equipment and food industries including processing, packaging, and storing
  • Quality control for food, feed, fiber, etc.
  • Biotechnology research firms
  • Foreign Service

Strategies

A broad, basic engineering discipline with a close relationship to the environment, food production, and agricultural productivity.

Participate in internship or co-op programs. Acquire strong computer skills.
Learn a foreign language for work in foreign service. Develop strong math and problem solving skills.

Biomedical

Areas

  • Bioengineering: Design, Development, Manufacturing
  • Medical Engineering: Instrumentation, Materials, Diagnostic/Therapeutic Devices, Artificial Organs, Medical Equipment
  • Rehabilitation Engineering
  • Bio-environmental Engineering

Employers

  • Manufacturers of medical and surgical devices
  • Hospitals and healthcare facilities
  • Federal government: Regulatory agencies, Veteran's Administration, National Institutes of Health, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • Industry
  • Research facilities of educational and medical institutions

Strategies

Discipline combines engineering and human anatomy to develop and maintain medical and healthcare systems and equipment. Develop strong team work skills. Many positions require a graduate or professional degree. Serves as a good background for medical school.

Chemical

Areas

  • Administration
  • Design and Construction: Project Engineering, Control Systems, Field Engineering, Process Engineering, Operations/Production
  • Environmental and Waste Management: Development, Design

Employers

  • Independent research institutes
  • Consulting organizations
  • Chemical industry including: Agricultural chemicals, Plastics, Industrial chemicals, Petroleum, Pharmaceutical, Cosmetic, Food processing, Atomic energy development, Environmental
  • Federal government including: Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency
  • Manufacturing plants including automotive, airplane, paper, microelectronics, textiles, metals, rubber, food, and beverage

Strategies

Combines science of chemistry with discipline of engineering to solve problems
and develop efficiency.

Develop exceptional interpersonal skills. Acquire technical work experience during college years.

Civil

Areas

  • Structural
  • Urban and Community Planning
  • Construction
  • Environmental
  • Water Resources
  • Transportation and Pipeline
  • Geotechnical
  • Photogrammetry, Surveying and Mapping
  • Materials

Employers

  • Construction industry
  • Engineering or architectural firms
  • Utility companies
  • Oil companies
  • Telecommunications businesses
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Consulting firms
  • Railroads
  • State and federal government agencies

Strategies

Broad discipline of "doers" providing service to the community through development and improvement. Works extensively with other professionals involved with the community. Provides opportunity to work outdoors.

Learn to work well within a team. Develop strong communication and interpersonal skills. Develop physical stamina for outdoor work. Get experience in organizing and directing workers and materials. Ability to visualize objects in three dimensions is helpful. Demand has remained steady due to broad nature of discipline. States may require licensing or registration.

Electrical/Computer

Areas

  • Power Electronics
  • Power Systems
  • Communications
  • Electronics
  • Control Systems
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Microelectronics
  • Image Processing & Robotics
  • Computer Engineering
  • Plasma Engineering
  • Computer Vision

Employers

  • Manufacturing firms and industry including: Aeronautical/Aerospace, Automotive, Business machines, Professional and scientific equipment, Consumer products, Chemical and petrochemical, Computers, Construction, Defense, Electric utilities, Electronics, Environmental, Food and beverage, Glass, ceramics, and metals, Machine tools, Mining and metallurgy, Nuclear, Oceanography, Pulp and paper, Textiles, Transportation, Water and wastewater
  • Public utilities
  • Federal government including: Armed forces, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Institutes of Health, Bureau of Standards, Department of Defense, Various commissions
  • Consulting firms
  • Free-lance consulting

Strategies

A field in touch with a wide and growing range of applications such as high speed and wireless communication, exploration of outer space, and a revolution in medical diagnosis and treatment.

Develop effective verbal and written communication skills. Gain experience in team work. Acquire capacity for details. Develop interpersonal skills. Obtain research experience.

Industrial

Areas

  • Operations Research
  • Applied Behavioral Science Systems
  • Manufacturing Management
  • Information Engineering
  • Computer Systems Design and Development

Employers

  • Manufacturing industries
  • Accounting firms
  • Retail distribution organizations
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Hospitals and healthcare organizations
  • Educational and public service agencies
  • Transportation industries
  • Construction industries
  • Public utilities
  • Electrical and electronics machinery industries
  • Consulting firms

Strategies

Discipline links management and operations by improving productivity through a "big picture" approach; serves human needs and works with people.

Take courses in psychology, sociology and anthropology to learn more about people and how they behave. Earn an MBA for advancement in management or administration.

Materials Science and Engineering

Areas

  • Metallurgy
  • Ceramics
  • Plastics/Polymers
  • Composites
  • Research
  • Extractive
  • Process
  • Applications
  • Management
  • Sales
  • Service
  • Consulting

Employers

  • Materials producing companies
  • Manufacturing companies including automobiles, appliances, electronics, aerospace equipment, machinery, medicine
  • Service companies including airlines, railroads, and utilities
  • Consulting firms
  • Government agencies: Department of Defense, National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA)
  • Research institutes
  • Publishers

Strategies

Studies properties of various types of materials and how they are made and behave under different conditions. Many positions require a graduate degree.
Some areas benefited by additional study in business administration, medicine, management and/or law. Develop good communication skills. Gain laboratory and research experience as an undergraduate.

Mechanical

Areas

  • Mechanical Power Generation: Internal Combustion Engines, Jet Engines, Steam Power Plants, Rockets, Energy Utilization and Conservation
  • Thermal/Fluids: Thermodynamics, Environmental Control, Refrigeration, Instrumentation and Control
  • Machine Sciences: Mechanical Design, Manufacturing and Production, Robotics, Operation and Maintenance

Employers

  • Transportation: Automotive industry, aerospace industry, military laboratories
  • Utilities: Steam driven electric power stations
  • Equipment Design: Plants, Nuclear power stations
  • Electronics industry
  • Petro-Chemical: Drilling & production, plant operations
  • Manufacturing: Consumer products, chemical products, farm equipment, industrial equipment, paper and wood products, textile equipment
  • Consulting engineering firms

Strategies

Takes broad outlook on solving complex problems. Involves design, development and production. Keeps pace with technology. Acts as an interface between society and technology. Obtain related experience through internships or co-op. Take additional courses in area(s) of interest. Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills.

Areas

  • Design
  • Planning
  • Operations
  • Administration
  • Regulations

Employers

  • Private industry and businesses involved with air pollution control, industrial hygiene, radiation protection, hazardous waste management, toxic materials control, water supply, storm water and wastewater management, solid waste disposal, public health, and land management
  • Private engineering consulting firms
  • Construction firms
  • Research firms
  • Testing laboratories
  • International organizations

Strategies

Discipline plays vital role in reducing toxicity and pollution of water, ground and air for a better quality of life for all living things. Consider a master's degree for advancement. Foreign language ability beneficial for international work.

Nuclear

Areas

  • Environment and Pollution
  • Health
  • Space Exploration
  • Consumer and Industrial Power
  • Food Supply
  • Transportation
  • Water Supply

Employers

  • Electric and gas utility companies
  • Guided missile and space vehicle companies
  • Engineering consulting firms
  • Business services including medical industry
  • Manufacturers of nuclear power equipment
  • Research facilities
  • Military services
  • Defense manufacturers

Strategies

Discipline studies basic components of neutrons, protons, electrons and all matter; deals with inanimate substances.

Engineering Science and Mechanics

Areas

  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Engineering Materials

Employers

  • Industry
  • Manufacturing
  • Research organizations

Strategies

Interdisciplinary program with broad training in engineering science, mathematics, and physical or biological science.

General Information

  • Bachelor's degree provides wide range of career opportunities in industry, business, and government.
  • Graduate degrees offer more opportunities for career advancement.
  • Bachelor's degree is good background for pursuing technical graduate degrees as well as professional degrees in Business Administration, Medicine or Law.
  • Related work experience obtained through co-op, internships, part-time or summer jobs, or regular employment is extremely beneficial.
  • Develop computer expertise within field.
  • Engineers need to think in scientific and mathematical terms, have ability to study data, sort out important facts, solve problems, and be logical thinkers. Creativity is useful.
    Other helpful traits include intellectual curiosity, technical aptitude, perseverance, ability to communicate and work well with others, a commitment to teamwork, and a basic understanding of the economic and environmental context in which engineering is practiced.
  • Develop excellent verbal and written communications skills including presentation and technical report writing.
  • All states and the District of Columbia require registration of engineers whose work may affect the life, health, or safety of the public.
  • Professional or technical societies confer certification in some areas.
  • Join related professional organizations.
  • Most fields offer overseas opportunities with businesses or government agencies.
  • Because of rapid changes in most engineering fields, both continued education and keeping abreast of new developments are very important.
  • Most states require an EIT (Engineer-In-Training) test before taking a state examination to become a Professional Engineer (PE).
  • Search the Internet for additional information about individual disciplines.

Prepared by the Career Planning staff at Career Services of The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA /ADEA Employer