Engineering as a Profession: How an MEM Can Prepare You

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Engineering applies a variety of skills and competencies to a situation to find a solution to an existing or potential problem. Being able to interpret mathematical equations and understand scientific concepts are just some of the skills engineers use to develop a concept or product.

There are engineers in practically every field, from biomedical and chemical, to mechanical, nuclear, and many other industries. Engineers use problem-solving skills, combined with practical application, to develop innovations that present resolutions to everyday quandaries.

From finding more efficient ways to grow food or extend lives, to creating innovative aircraft or designing new infrastructure, there are hundreds of ways for those in the engineering profession to improve day-to-day life.

If you’re looking for a way to show your creativity and versatility as an engineering manager in any of these disciplines, an online Master of Engineering Management (MEM) can be a great complement to your technical background and an excellent way to set you apart from your peers.

This degree program gives you the tools to develop your managerial background while you use your engineering experience. Additionally, with an online program format, you’re able to immediately integrate the competencies you’re gaining from class into your workplace.

How to Get Into the Engineering Profession

Regardless of the type of engineering, there is a distinct series of steps most people take to enter the field. These steps are designed to cultivate the knowledge and skills to succeed as an engineer, and some steps can help demonstrate engineering talents to prospective employers.

Education Requirements

Aspiring engineers must complete at least a bachelor’s degree. The degree should be obtained from a university accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

While not strictly required, an advanced degree, such as a Master’s of Engineering Management (MEM) degree, offers distinct advantages. An advanced degree can open up new job opportunities and can lead to higher salaries. Also, some senior and managerial engineering positions require advanced education.

Pass the FE Exam

After obtaining a degree, aspiring engineers must then pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. This exam is offered by organizations such as the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).

Gain Experience

Those who pass the FE exam are classified as engineer interns (EIs) or engineers-in-training (EITs). Either status grants eligibility to work in engineering. Most aspiring engineers complete four years of on-the-job experience, usually under the supervision of a professional engineer.

Pass the PE Exam

After gaining the necessary experience, aspiring engineers take the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. Having the right to work as a professional engineer is contingent on a candidate passing the PE exam and meeting other licensing requirements and regulations that vary by state.

Types of Engineers

When considering engineering as a profession, the field offers a wide range of categories to explore. Each of these typically has professional organizations or associations that can provide further insight into how engineering concepts are applied to achieve a field’s singular goals.

Aerospace Engineers

Engineers in the field of aerospace develop aircraft made to travel within and outside the Earth’s atmosphere. This includes developing designs, constructing the aircraft, and testing its functionality. An aerospace engineer deals with sound control, flight-testing, and software development. Other areas may include electronic functioning, dynamics simulations, and risk assessments. An aerospace engineer possesses knowledge and skills in many realms of engineering.

Here are some sources for further information.

Agricultural Engineers

Agriculture involves a complex relationship between plants, animals, chemicals, and mechanicals. Agricultural engineers look at the entire situation and provide a solution to a dilemma. This can include, for example, implementing a system for efficient crop production. There are opportunities for agricultural engineers to work in management, sales, or production. They may also be more involved in the research aspect of projects. This occupation demands attention to detail and a broad array of knowledge.

Sources for further information include the following:

Biomedical Engineers

Engineering is executed in the field of medicine to solve problems. Design techniques are implemented to bring about new and life-saving machinery. Diagnostic equipment is also studied and improved upon. Engineering in this field even extends to the study of microscopic systems and cell structure to develop innovations such as artificial DNA. Professionals working within this sector may face philosophical controversy from others and they must be prepared for this aspect.

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Chemical Engineers

Chemical engineers develop products that are used in many industries. A product, or a combination of products, is transformed until it meets the right specifications. Adhesives, fuels made from vegetation, synthetic textiles, and much more are all the result of chemical engineering. Products are also designed to assist with manufacturing needs. This profession requires excellent math and science skills.

Sources for more information include:

Civil Engineers

The responsibilities of a civil engineer are far-ranging. They can include making sure a structure will be sound, assessing water pathways, laying out roadways, and beyond. In any of these circumstances, every detail must be overseen to ensure the finished project is safe. Civil engineers may work for private corporations or in public positions, such as that of a city planners.

Information sources include:

Computer Hardware Engineers

This combined knowledge of electronics and design is what creates the instruments used to control today’s computers. As the industry advances, you can count on technology to continue to grow and evolve. Computer hardware engineers work in robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and digital electronics. They may also pursue careers in circuit analysis or programming.

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Electrical Engineers

Lighting and power generation supplies are just some of the areas that involve electrical engineers. Engineers in this field also work with wiring, power control, and even automobiles. They usually focus on power supply itself, though often in relation to power grids or other large-scale electrical supplies.

Information sources include:

Electronics Engineers

Somewhat different from electrical engineers, electronics engineers focus on smaller-scale items. They design and develop everything from digital phones to global positioning systems, and other handheld or portable electronics. Engineers also work with televisions, microprocessors and occasionally, computers. Processing signals and working with control systems are two typical responsibilities. Circuit testing is regularly performed as well.

Here is a source for more information:

Environmental Engineers

Environmental engineers strive to make our world better by using scientific processes to improve the state of natural resources. Engineering combined with science provides a medium through which natural elements are transformed into cleaner air, healthier water, and less pollution. These principles are carried out in various forms, with the focus remaining on responsible environmental stewardship. Environmental engineers work in the areas of water treatment, land/pollution mitigation, and the management of air quality.

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Health and Safety Engineers

Health and safety engineers organize various aspects of safety policies. This is accomplished in an industrial setting, in most cases. At times, they may work with other agencies to implement these strategies. They identify a potential problem and then analyze the various outcomes. Once this is completed, they find a way to circumvent any potential issues. Finally, their plan must be tested and implemented.

These sources can provide more information:

Industrial Engineers

An industrial engineer is responsible for making sure things are running as smoothly as possible. They go over production schedules, assess output levels, and strategize means to make improvements. They watch operations with a close eye and then convey their findings to decision-makers. This job requires focus and the ability to look at the overall picture. Industrial engineers are also referred to as manufacturing specialists, engineering managers, and production engineers.

Information sources include:

Marine Engineers

The job of a marine engineer focuses on ships, boats, submarines, and other water vessels, and also includes offshore and coastal structures. Knowledge of mathematics, design, and computing is essential. Time management and critical thinking are important skills in this position.

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Materials Engineers

Materials engineers have many titles. They are also called test engineers, process engineers, research engineers, and materials branch chiefs. Job responsibilities include brainstorming ideas for materials uses and then implementing those ideas. Strategic development is one of the first steps, followed by testing.

Here are some sources to augment your knowledge of the field:

Mechanical Engineers

Responsible for designing and testing mechanical equipment, these engineers read blueprints, fix equipment malfunctions, and coordinate production methods. Mechanical engineers work with machinery such as laser Doppler anemometers, cold forming presses, and wafer dicing saws. Teamwork is important for engineers in these positions.

Information sources include:

Nuclear Engineers

This job carries with it the weight of handling nuclear elements to create, distribute, and apply energy. Element development is one of the key facets of this position. Researching, preparing, and testing are some of a nuclear engineer’s main tasks. Other positions include resident inspector, critical safety engineer, and generation engineer.

Information sources in this field include:

Petroleum Engineers

These engineers work with hydrocarbons such as natural gas and crude oil, including resource extraction, spill recovery, and equipment modification. Knowledge of chemistry, physics, and economics is equally important. Petroleum engineers must also possess complex problem-solving abilities.

Here are some sources for further information:

Explore a Future in Engineering

While engineering has many branches, it is rooted in a singular foundation: to improve daily life through structures, machines, and engines. These efforts might involve an innovative new electronic device, a dynamic means of transportation, protecting the planet, or keeping people safe. This makes engineering as a profession a challenging and rewarding career path.

The Ohio University online Master of Engineering Management degree can help you develop the foundation for an advanced career in the field. Our program focuses on leadership and management skills and their direct relationship to engineering process improvement, project management, effective communication, and innovative solutions.

Learn how we can help prepare you to be a leader in the engineering field.

Recommended Reading

Engineering Management Career: What to Expect

Engineering Trends for Managers

Leadership in Engineering: Why Is It So Important?


Indeed, How to Become an Engineer

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, Licensure

National Society of Professional Engineers, How to Get Licensed

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Aerospace Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Agricultural Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Chemical Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Civil Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer Hardware Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Electrical and Electronics Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Environmental Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Health and Safety Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Industrial Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Marine Engineers and Naval Architects

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Materials Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Mechanical Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nuclear Engineers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Petroleum Engineers