The best engineering colleges are not necessarily what someone else says are the best. Rather, seek out the schools that are going to be the best fit for you. College is a challenging time in any young person’s life as you begin to juggle rigorous study and new responsibilities. Finding a list of campuses that meet your support and resource needs will make the challenges much more achievable! From this foundation, you can secure the fulfilling engineering career you envision.
Engineering Jobs Are Hot
According to Money, the number of undergraduate degrees in engineering has increased by 50% since 2014.
Not only that, but the National Association of Colleges and Employers also reports that half of the top-paid bachelor’s degrees in 2021 were engineering jobs.
In other words, this industry is expanding at a healthy rate! Engineering graduates can feel good about their employment market.
Underrepresented Groups Are in High Demand
While the engineering field has historically been dominated by white male students, this is beginning to change. In fact, many colleges want to make amends for previously excluding women and people of color from accessing their resources. Female engineers only represent about 15% of the U.S. engineer workforce and are in high demand. Blacks and Hispanics represent roughly 15% of engineers in the U.S., despite representing over 1/3 of the population. If you have a dream to pursue engineering, don’t let anyone stope you!
The Georgia Institute of Technology awards the highest number of degrees to women and minorities each year. Consider adding GIT to your college list!
Limitations of “Top Engineering Colleges” Lists
You’ve surely already done a Google search for “best engineering colleges”, and you may have been surprised by the fact that every list looks completely different!
Let’s peel back the layers a bit and look at why these lists should be taken with a grain of salt.
Standard College Considerations
First off, you have so many standard college considerations that will vary by student, like cost, size, location, etc.
Second, you have program-specific considerations. (Agricultural engineering is definitely not the same as aerospace engineering!) Some programs have mentoring tracks, while others foster R&D incubators. Every undergraduate engineering program has unique competencies.
Physical proximity to key employers is another factor worth considering. Many engineering programs will have ties with nearby employers, including internships. These internships are the best way to secure a good job after graduation.
For instance, if you want to work in Silicon Valley, you might look at CompSci programs at Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, and other nearby schools.
Alternatively, if you’re interested in agricultural engineering, Texas A&M may be worth looking at. Or if mining interests you, you might consider the Colorado School of Mines. There are options to research in regions across the country.
Engineering is a Broad Industry
While engineers all share a common skill set, there is a diverse range of industry specializations, including:
Engineering Careers are Well-Paid
Engineering jobs tend to be stable and well-paid compared to many fields.
There are many online resources for browsing median salaries for different types of engineers, such as this list. You can browse titles of engineers and corresponding median salaries.
Payscale offers an ROI Calculator (return on investment) for undergraduate engineering programs. (As a future engineer, you’ll quickly spot the methodological limitations to this tool – but it can be fun to play with.)
Engineering is an International Field
Unlike lawyers and other English-intensive professions, engineers speak the international language of numbers.
This can have many implications. For example, engineers may find work in multinational engineering firms, and work abroad. At the same time, engineering programs at U.S. universities attract the best and the brightest from overseas, which makes them more competitive.
Becoming a U.S. Physical Engineer
If you decide to work as an engineer in the U.S., you will want to pursue your Professional Engineer (PE) certification.
To become a licensed PE, you must complete a four-year college degree, work under a Professional Engineer, and take two competency exams.
Picking the Right Engineering Program
For now, try to narrow down your focus in terms of what type of engineering most interests you, and begin to research individual programs.
Empowerly’s team of experienced college counselors can help you consider different engineering programs. Not only that, we can support you in creating a winning applciation strategy. Schedule a free, 30-minute video consultation with us today.