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Engineering and Engineering Technology

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UW Oshkosh
Department of Engineering & Engineering Technology

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Engineering technology and engineering are separate but closely related professional areas that differ in:

Curricular Focus

Engineering technology programs usually focus on application and implementation, while engineering programs often focus on theory and conceptual design. Engineering technology programs typically focus on algebra, trigonometry, applied calculus, and other courses that are more practical than theoretical in nature, while engineering programs typically require additional, higher-level mathematics, including multiple semesters of calculus and calculus-based theoretical science courses.


Career Paths

Graduates of four-year engineering technology programs are sometimes called technologists, but usually have more descriptive job titles. These professionals are most likely to enter positions in sectors such as construction, manufacturing, product design, testing, or technical services and sales. Those who pursue further study beyond engineering technology often consider engineering, facilities management, or business administration. Graduates from engineering programs are called engineers and often pursue entry-level work involving conceptual design or research and development. Many continue on to graduate-level work in engineering.


There is much overlap between the fields. Graduates of four-year engineering technology and engineering programs may pursue MBAs and open their own consulting firms, or they may spend their entire careers in process operations, implementation of new products, or design capacities. During their careers both engineering technologists and engineers will work closely and may often overlap in job duties.

In Wisconsin, both Engineering Technology and Engineering graduates can pursue licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE).  Registration as a professional engineer is required for engineers making final decisions that can have an impact on the health and welfare of the general public.

So which is correct for you as a student? Generally, those most suited for Engineering Technology are people that characterize themselves as “hands-on”. If you would rather work on your computer and excel at mathematics you may want to pursue engineering. However, if you are a good student, but would rather build things and work with tools in the garage you may find an appropriate fit in an engineering technology degree program.


Source: Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology

Department of Engineering and Engineering Technology