For prospective students looking ahead to the career of their dreams, it’s exciting to be able to project how long it will take you to reach that goal. Students who are pursuing engineering will see that it’s also helpful to plan your schedule and your future, as you analyze how long it will take you to complete your education, obtain any necessary licensing, and become a full fledged member of the class of working engineers, over 1.5 million strong and growing in the USA.
The first step towards becoming an engineer is of course obtaining your degree in an engineering field. As we all know, bachelor’s degrees traditionally take four years to complete. Today’s online programs though offer a quicker solution, cutting down that time by half. With an online program taken on an accelerated schedule, you can obtain a bachelor’s degree in as little as two years. This can help you reach your goal that much faster, and before you know it you’ll be embarking on your new, exciting career.
After obtaining your bachelor’s degree, many fields will require you to become a PE, which is the licensure for professional engineers. This is obtained through work experience, so you’ll already be an engineer, although you won’t have achieved full status yet. Up to four years of work experience is required, along with an examination at the beginning and end of that period of time, in order for you to achieve that licensure.
Some fields of engineering may require additional studies besides a bachelors. Depending on your specialty, or your intended job, a masters or even doctorate level degree may either be required or recommended. For example, many individuals in fields such as petroleum engineering or nuclear engineering, just to name two of over a dozen specialties, obtain a masters degree before even entering the workforce, although it’s not necessary to do so.
This can obviously add a substantial amount of time to your education. Therefore, many engineers end up obtaining their bachelors and finding a job immediately. Then, the individual may go back to school while holding down that job, enabling them to advance farther and really land the exact job and career that they have been envisioning.
So how long does it take to become an engineer? It all depends on the options you pursue or utilize along the way. Your bachelors degree can take four years, or as little as two years for online programs. Certain fields may require additional studies from there, which would add more time. Many engineers will need to obtain licensing, which can take as long as four additional years, however during this time you’re already in the workforce and practicing. Therefore, you’ll need to figure out where you want to end up, and how you want to get there, and work backwards from there in determining the total amount of time it will take.