Volume 3 No.4, Spring 2000
(Adopted by the Engineering Liaison Committee, March 24, 1995, State of California)
In today's modern industry, a number of
players are involved in developing new products, forming what is commonly known
as the "engineering team." These team players are engineering
scientists, engineers, engineering technologists, engineering technicians, and
Since engineering technologists and engineering technicians are relatively new on the team, some discussion regarding the field of "engineering technology" is needed.
Engineering technology (ET) education emphasizes problem solving, laboratories, and technical skills; it prepares individuals for application-oriented careers in industry, typically in manufacturing, field-service, marketing, technical sales, or as technical members of the engineering team.
According to a national accrediting agency (TAC/ABET), graduates of baccalaureate-level engineering technology (BET) programs are called "engineering technologists," and graduates of associate degree (AS) programs in engineering technology are called "engineering technicians."
The upper-division coursework of BET programs is designed to provide additional analytical and problem solving beyond those learned at the two-year level. Most BET programs are accredited by TAC/ABET, and are designed to accept appropriate coursework in math, science, and a technical specialization completed at approved associate-degree programs. With careful planning students may transfer with maximum efficiency.
The definitions described herein are intended to conform with ABET criteria for engineering and engineering technology.
are the most theoretical of the team members.
They typically seek ways to apply new discoveries to advance technology for mankind.
Most engineering scientists have an earned doctorate in engineering.
use the knowledge of mathematics and natural sciences gained by study, experience, and practice, applied with judgment, to develop ways to economically utilize the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind.
Engineering involves a wide spectrum of activities extending from the conception, design, development and formulation of new systems and products through the implementation, production and operation of engineering systems.
Engineers often work closely with engineering scientists in developing new technology via research projects.
A minimum of four years of study is required to become an engineer. Mathematics and science are emphasized.
Most baccalaureate-level engineering programs are accredited by EAC/ABET.
are graduates of bachelor-level programs in engineering technology.
They apply engineering and scientific knowledge combined with technical skills to support engineering activities.
Their areas of interest and education are typically application oriented, while being somewhat less theoretical and mathematically oriented than their engineering counterparts.
They typically concentrate their activities on applied design, using current engineering practice.
Technologists play key roles on the engineering team; they are typically involved in product development, manufacturing, product assurance, sales, and program management.
TAC/ABET specifies that faculty who teach in these programs have a minimum of a master's degree in engineering or engineering technology or equivalent, or a PE license and a master's degree.*
work with equipment, primarily assembling and testing component parts of devices or systems that have been designed by others; usually under direct supervision of an engineer or engineering technologist
Their preferences are given to assembly, repair, or to making improvements to technical equipment by learning its characteristics, rather than by studying the scientific or engineering basis for its original design.
They may carry out standard calculations, serve as technical sales people, make estimates of cost, assist in preparing service manuals, or perform design-drafting activities. As a group, they are important problem solving individuals whose interests are directed more to the practical than to the theoretical aspect of a project.
They are frequently employed in laboratories and/or manufacturing facilities where they may set up experiments, accumulate scientific or engineering data, and/or service or repair engineering or production equipment.
Two years of college-level work leading to an associate degree, typically taken at community colleges or certain technical institutes, is required to become an engineering technician.
TAC/ABET specifies that faculty who teach in these programs have a minimum of a master's degree in engineering or engineering technology or equivalent, or a PE license.*
Programs of study are also available for individuals who wish to obtain skill-training in a field of specialization with less emphasis on scientific or mathematical principles.
An individual completing such a program is typically called a "vocational" technician, e.g., air-conditioning technician, draftsman, surveyor aide, etc.
Faculty who teach these programs are usually craftsmen or specialists in their field, and/or graduates of professional education programs.
Graduates of vocational technician training programs may be accepted into a two-year or four-year degree program after considerable math, science, and other requirements are satisfied.
*Note: Technical support skill courses, such as drafting, machine shop or electronic assembly, may be taught by faculty having at least a bachelor's degree in an appropriate science or engineering-related field. They are expected to be artisans or masters of their crafts.
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