What is the difference between an Engineering Technology degree and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering?

An Engineering Technology degree and Bachelor of Science in Engineering are closely related fields of study with noticeable differences in learning curriculum. Most notably, a Bachelor of Science in Engineering emphasizes theories and advanced concepts, while an Engineering Technology degree emphasizes hands-on application and implementation. At Florida Polytechnic University, the Bachelor of Science degree integrates applied and hands-on learning with theoretical and conceptual curriculum.

A Bachelor of Science in Engineering, like the degree programs offered by Florida Polytechnic University, focuses on the cross-disciplinary application of science and mathematics on structures, machines, systems and processes. This type of engineering degree prepares students to enter the workforce as professional engineers with skills that are applicable to a wide variety of industries. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Engineering typically focus on disciplines like computer, electrical, mechanical or industrial engineering.

A Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree program often includes more advanced levels of applied science and mathematics than are taught in an Engineering Technology degree program. Some examples of real-world challenges graduates with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering may explore include:

  • Apply analysis and modeling to design engineering based solutions
  • Identify emerging techniques, skills, methods and theories to solve engineering problems
  • Design infrastructure such as buildings, highways and bridges

An Engineering Technology degree emphasizes the application of specific engineering techniques. Graduates with an Engineering Technology degree often seek employment in fields such as production, design, manufacturing and operations. Some examples of real-world challenges graduates with an Engineering Technology degree may explore include:

  • Consulting development for electronic designs for commercial purposes
  • Research capabilities and implementation for current technologies
  • Exploring tracking technology in space exploration, consumer electronics and defense

The degrees of Engineering Technology and Bachelor of Science in Engineering contain some overlap, but they also have important characteristics that make them unique.

What is the career path for an Engineering Technology degree holder versus a Bachelor of Science in Engineering?

Students who obtain a Bachelor of Science in Engineering begin their careers as entry-level engineers. They typically do not have extensive experience in the field, but are very knowledgeable about cross-disciplinary applications and processes. In addition, entry-level engineers usually report to a supervisor or manager while developing, testing and designing products that incorporate the use of a system, machine or structure. Bachelor of Science in Engineering degrees can be highly specialized, and students may graduate with concentrations like nanotechnology, electrodynamics, semiconductors or digital logic design.

Graduates with an Engineering Technology degree are often called “technologists,” while students who complete two-year engineering technology programs are called “technicians.” These individuals begin their careers in entry-level positions that may involve the design and application of engineering concepts or techniques. Projects may include designing an automated system or a programming language to optimize a process system.

What should you be doing in high school if you are interested in an Engineering Technology or Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree?

It’s never too early to start preparing for your college career. While in high school, students should pay close attention to required coursework, as these classes will likely be integrated into college. For example, math concepts taught in classes such as algebra and pre-calculus will carry over into more advanced courses at the collegiate level.

Universities across the nation recommend that students take the following courses during their high school career if they are interested in an Engineering Technology or Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree:

  • Algebra I and II
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Pre-Calculus, Calculus AB (if offered)
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

Universities seek students who are well rounded and can offer a wide range of experiences and knowledge. Involvement in extracurricular activities, sports or clubs can showcase your interaction beyond the classroom, and colleges often prefer these candidates.

Before applying to any college, students should consult their high school counselors and mentors for guidance during the application process. Students should also research the universities they plan to attend and determine if those schools are a good academic, social and cultural fit.

What courses will you likely take in college if you pursue an Engineering Technology degree?

Florida’s top engineering schools have specific required and elective courses needed for graduation as an engineering technologist. These courses are typically STEM based and can include subjects such as:

  • Calculus
  • General Physics
  • Introduction to Technology
  • Computer Applications
  • Computer Programming
  • Applied Math
  • Innovation & Emerging Technologies

What courses will you likely take in college if you pursue a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree?

A Bachelor of Science in Engineering typically includes a well-rounded engineering curriculum with an opportunity to specialize in concentrations. Some of the classes offered at a top STEM University such as Florida Polytechnic University, include:

  • Calculus II and III
  • Advanced Physics
  • Computer Programming
  • Digital Logic Design
  • Differential Equations
  • Circuits and Analog Electronics
  • Hybrid Devices and Systems
  • Magnetics
  • Unique Nanoscale Phenomena and Interfaces

Students should take full advantage of their educational opportunities because they can be critical to their future success. Many universities offer the chance to work in lab environments. During a student’s undergraduate career, they should use all of the resources provided by the university including: advanced tools, textbooks, internships and labs. Students who engage with employers through internship opportunities are well ahead of the curve compared to other graduates when seeking employment.

Beyond the advanced and rigorous curriculum in the college classroom, students are encouraged to engage with their peers, faculty and other influencers outside of the classroom. Experiences outside the classroom can help build a portfolio or open the door for further opportunities.

Thought Leaders: Professional Societies and Boards

Engineering technology graduates are in high demand to fill the jobs that require an advanced skill set or knowledge of specific technologies. The following links are available for students to access if they are interested in an engineering technology degree. These links may help students while in school and in their career search.

Interests Common to Engineering Degree and Bachelor of Science in Engineering Pursuers

To pursue a degree in Engineering Technology or a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, it helps to understand the required coursework and projected career path. To determine whether a career in engineering or technology is right for you, ask yourself if you have an aptitude for math, science, technology and problem-solving.

In addition, it helps to have interests in:

  • Using scientific principles and methods to solve real-world problems
  • Forming conclusions from lab experiments, data or reports
  • Improving processes and systems that are in place
  • Conducting testing methods to maintain quality

Finally, gain direct exposure into the field. Attend career days, shadow a professional or engage in Q&A sessions with industry experts. During college, students will have the opportunity to gain internship experience and meet industry partners who are leaders in their fields.

To gain employment with a degree in engineering technology or a bachelor of science in engineering, graduates should possess several skills, which include:

  • Creativity – think outside the box incorporating new, innovative ideas
  • Strong mechanical skills – understand mechanical concepts and tools
  • Problem-solving skills – develop new solutions to problems. Identify the source and offer solutions
  • Communications – communicate plans even to other members on the team such as project managers
  • Teamwork – collaborate and work effectively with others

If you are interested in learning more about the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Degrees offered at Florida Polytechnic University, please visit our academics page.