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What is Engineering Technology?
Engineering technology can be defined as “….a part of the technological field that requires the application of scientific and engineering knowledge and methods combined with technical skills in support of engineering activities. It lies in the occupational spectrum between the craftsman and the engineer at the end of the spectrum closest to the engineer.”

At first glance, engineering technology is similar to engineering. Basic courses in mathematics and science are the same for both. While engineering programs provide the theoretical and abstract training necessary for planning, designing, and creating new products, engineering technology programs focus on application and practice.  They combine classroom studies with hands-on, high-tech laboratory experiences. Generally, engineering technology programs offer a 50/50 mix of theory and laboratory experience.  Students take specialized technical courses that emphasize rational thinking and the application of scientific principles to find practical solutions to technical problems.

In the field of Engineering Technology, knowledge of the applied mathematical and natural sciences is devoted to the application of engineering principles and the implementation of technological advances for the benefit of humanity.  Engineering Technology programs focus primarily on analyzing, applying, implementing and improving existing technologies and are aimed at preparing graduates for the practice of engineering closest to the product improvement, manufacturing, and engineering operational functions.  It is this practical application of theory that sets the engineering technologist apart from the other disciplines of the engineering enterprise.

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What is Industrial Technology?

The National Association of Industrial Technology defines Industrial Technology as “…a field of study designed to prepare technical and/or management oriented professionals for employment in business, industry, education, and government.  Industrial Technology is primarily involved with the management, operation, and maintenance of complex technological systems….”

At Tarleton, the Industrial Technology program heavily emphasizes “hands-on” activities as well as classroom instruction to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to fill a wide range of positions in industry.  While our program explores a wide variety of manufacturing issues, the course content can also be applied to the construction, cabinet-making, and fabrication industries.

What is Engineering?

As defined by the Engineers Council for Professional Development, “Engineering is that profession in which knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by study, experience and practice, is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind.”  In other words, Engineering is the art of applying scientific and mathematical principles, experience, judgment, and common sense to make things that benefit people. It includes the process of producing a technical product or system to meet a specific need.

Engineering focuses primarily on the conceptual and theoretical aspects of science and engineering aimed at research, development, and conceptual design functions whereas Engineering Technology focuses more on the application of scientific and engineering principles.

Engineering work is organized into traditional academic fields of study. The five largest of these are chemical, civil, electrical, industrial, and mechanical engineering. There are also more specialized engineering fields, including aerospace, manufacturing, nuclear, biomedical, and environmental engineering. 

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What is Manufacturing Engineering Technology

Manufacturing Engineering Technology is a field of study that prepares students for careers in modern manufacturing and related industries. Manufacturing engineering technologists help create and supervise the processes for manufacturing products. They translate the concepts and specifications of design engineers into the actual production of manufactured goods at the lowest possible cost. Manufacturing technologists direct and coordinate manufacturing processes and complex systems of machines in industrial plants and work in areas such as automated testing and product improvement. Technical areas of work include planning, production methods, fabrication, assembly, materials handling, scheduling, and quality assurance.

A broad array of talents and experiences is required along with inquisitiveness and intuitive skills. Manufacturing Engineering Technology requires vision, creativity, and the ambition to not just solve today’s problem, but to refine yesterday’s answers with continuous improvement. 

At Tarleton, Manufacturing Engineering Technology students can expect to be educated in a wide range of manufacturing related courses such as Quality, Ergonomics, Production Planning, Management, Materials, Control Systems, and Computer Modeling. The courses will be very applications oriented and will provide the graduates with the tools, techniques, and knowledge required to solve a wide range of manufacturing problems and provide the knowledge of how to continuously improve every aspect of the manufacturing facility. 

What is the difference between Industrial Technology and Manufacturing Engineering Technology?

The differences between educational programs in engineering technology and industrial technology include type of faculty, use of facilities, mathematics and science sequence content, and degree of specialization. 

Manufacturing Engineering Technology programs tend to emphasize processes more than the product being manufactured.  They tend to be narrower in scope and do not normally attempt to develop manual skills.  The nature of the engineering technology field requires that these programs include a fairly high level of math and science.  Engineering technology courses are traditionally taught by professional engineers.

Industrial Technology programs tend to be even more “hands-on” than Engineering Technology programs and are more slanted toward products than processes.  They typically include some manual skill development in many broad areas and are usually less rigorous in the math and science requirements than Engineering Technology programs.  Because of the broadness of the field, Industrial Technology programs may provide opportunities to specialize in areas such as computer-aided design and manufacturing, operations management, and educational certification.  Industrial Technology courses are traditionally taught by those who have degrees in the field of Industrial Technology. 

What is Manufacturing?

Manufacturing has many definitions and means different things to different people.  One of the most commonly accepted definitions is as follows:  “Manufacturing is converting raw materials into products by various processes, machinery, and operations, following a well-organized plan for each activity required.”

Most of the things we use from airplanes to paper clips are manufactured.  Even the slicing and packaging of bacon and the packaging of potato chips are considered manufacturing operations along with the making of bricks, sandpaper, soft drink bottles, automobiles, etc.  Manufacturing basically means making things that are essentially the same in quantities of two or more.  If you create a “one of a kind” piece of jewelry, that’s art.  If you reproduce that piece of jewelry in large quantities and sell it through a discount store or at a mall, that’s manufacturing.

Why should I pursue a major in the Department of Engineering Technology?

If you like knowing why and how things work and applying that knowledge to solve real-life problems, one of the degrees in the department of Engineering Technology may lead to the perfect career for you. 

Are you a tinkerer? Do you like to take things apart and wonder how they are made? That helps, because Engineering Technology is not all mental; it draws on manual skills and an appreciation for things well made. Manufacturers are looking for those individuals who can bring the most technology tools to the task and evaluate many possible solutions.

The fields of Engineering, Engineering Technology, and Industrial Technology offer rewarding and lucrative careers—those in which you can use your mind to find creative solutions to the challenges facing our society. In his book Studying Engineering (Discovery Press, 1995), Raymond Landis, Dean of Engineering and Technology at California State University–Los Angeles, lists the following "top 10" rewards and opportunities that an engineering career offers.

  1. Job Satisfaction--Studies show that, by far, the number-one cause of unhappiness among people in the United States is job dissatisfaction. Thus, it is important to find a career that provides you with enjoyment and satisfaction. For numerous reasons, some of which are listed below, engineering provides a satisfying field of work.

  2. Variety of Career Opportunities--An engineering degree offers a wide range of career possibilities. Within the practice of engineering, there are an enormous variety of job functions.  The analytical skills and technological expertise you develop as an engineering student can also be put to use in many other fields.

  3. Challenging Work--If you like challenges, an engineering-related career could be for you. In the engineering work world, there is no shortage of challenging problems. You will be required to devise a solution and persuade others that your solution is the best one.

  4. Intellectual Development--An engineering education will "exercise" your brain, developing your ability to think logically and to solve problems. These are skills that will be valuable throughout your life—and not only when you are solving engineering problems.

  5. Benefit Society--Just about everything that engineers and engineering technologists do benefits society. They design the buildings that we live and work in, the systems that deliver our water and electricity, the machinery that produces our food, and the medical equipment that keeps us healthy. With an engineering related career, you can choose to work on projects that clearly benefit society.

  6. Financial Security--Engineering graduates receive among the highest starting salaries.

  7. Prestige--Engineers and engineering technologists play a primary role in sustaining our nation's international competitiveness, maintaining our standard of living, ensuring a strong national security, and protecting public safety. As a member of such a respected profession, you will receive a high amount of prestige.

  8. Professional Environment--Engineers and engineering technologists work in a professional environment in which they are treated with respect and often have a certain amount of freedom in choosing their work.

  9. Technological and Scientific Discovery--An engineering education can help you understand how many things work and an understanding of technology will provide you with a better understanding of many issues facing our society.

  10. Creative Thinking--Engineering is by its very nature a creative profession. When practicing engineers develop solutions to problems, they must employ conscious and subconscious mental processing as well as divergent and convergent thinking.

If you like to question, explore, invent, discover, and create, then engineering could be the ideal profession for you.

What types of jobs are available with a degree from the Engineering Technology department?

Positions requiring the knowledge and skills of Engineering Technology department graduates are plentiful and varied.  Recent graduates have accepted positions at Ratheon, Northrup Grumman, Fibergrate-Composite Structures International, Ram Incorporated, Plastipack, Huck Manufacturing, Lockheed Aerospace, Vought Aerospace, Norton Abrasives, Trane, Head Golf, U. S. Brick, TAC Americas, Dell Computers, E-Systems and many other companies too numerous to mention. 

Not only has our placement record been outstanding, but our graduates also command some of the highest starting salaries of all Tarleton graduates.  The starting salary for recent graduates ranged from $45,000 to $60,000 with an average of $50,000.  Jobs such as manufacturing engineers, numerical control (NC) programmers, quality control specialists, computer-aided drafters, production supervisors, project managers, and a multitude of other careers are available to E. T. graduates. Many graduates choose self-employment as building contractors, welders, machinists, etc.  For those students who wish to teach, a large number of secondary school teaching positions are available.

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What is the career outlook for graduates in engineering and engineering-related fields?

More than 1.2 million engineers work in the U.S. today, making engineering the nation's second largest profession. According to Graduating Engineer magazine, job opportunities for new engineers should be 3.9 percent greater than they were last year. Starting pay averages in the low-$40,000s.

How open are engineering-related fields to women?

Today, women comprise 19 percent of first-year engineering students. Women are attracted to engineering in growing numbers for the same reasons the field draws men: It promises challenging, interesting work, and high pay. In recent years, universities and industries have increased their efforts to welcome women into engineering.

For more information on women in engineering, contact the Society of Women Engineers.

For historical information on women in engineering, see

Women in Science home page

How open is the engineering field to minorities?

Ever since a 1970s study by the National Science Foundation showed that minorities (with the exception of Asian Americans) were vastly underrepresented in engineering, the profession has made efforts to recruit minorities. Various programs now exist to acquaint minority students and their families and teachers with the field as well as to mentor and support minority engineering students. Though the rates of enrollment have shot up, actual numbers of minority engineers are still low.

For more information on programs for minority engineering students contact:

National Association of Precollege Directors

ABET 's Minority Introduction to Engineering Program

National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering

For historical information on minorities in engineering, see The Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences

What is professional registration? Will I need to get it after college?

Registration as a professional engineer, though mandatory in only a few cases, is considered by many in industry to be an impressive credential. For most engineers, professional registration is optional. However, in certain fields of work that involve public safety, professional registration may be mandatory. Approximately 30 percent of all practicing engineers are registered. The percentage is much higher for civil engineers because of the nature of their work.

Professional registration is handled by the individual states, each of which has a registration board. Although the requirements and procedures differ somewhat from state to state, they are generally fairly uniform due to the efforts of the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (NCEES). For details about the process of becoming a registered Professional Engineer, visit the NCEES web page: http://www.ncees.org/

State boards are responsible for evaluating the education and experience of applicants for registration, administering an examination to those applicants who meet the minimum requirements, and granting registration to those who pass the examination.  

Can you get a teaching certificate with the Industrial Technology degree?

Yes, the Technology Education option in the BS in Industrial Technology leads to certification to teach Technology Education at the public school level.  There are a large number of openings in Texas as well as other states for dedicated individuals who are looking for an exciting and rewarding career in the public schools. 

What is the difference between a BS degree and a BAAS degree?

The primary difference in the two degrees lies in how and when a person starts their college career.  The BS (Bachelor of Science) degree is designed for those who enter a university or “academic-track” program at a community college as a freshman.  Students will take the academic core of courses required of all students (English, math, history, government, etc.) plus those courses required for a BS degree in a specific area such as Math, English, Biology, Industrial Technology, Manufacturing Engineering Technology, etc.

The BAAS (Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences) degree is designed for those students who entered a technical or community college and took a large number of technical courses in a specific area such as drafting and design, semi-conductor manufacturing, welding, laser technology, diesel mechanics, etc.  If, after completing a two-year technical program, someone decides to continue their education and work toward a bachelor’s degree, most of the technology courses can be applied to the “occupational specialization” section of a BAAS degree.  The BAAS degree is available only to those who have completed at least thirty-three semester credit hours of technology or training courses that can be applied to the occupational specialization. 

Do people in engineering-related careers use computers?

Definitely! Computers are used for everything from office work such as e-mail and reports to computer-aided manufacturing.  Typical activities include computer-aided design, solid modeling, computer simulation of factory layouts and operations, statistical analysis, and writing programs to control a computer controlled (NC) machining center.  Computers are vital in today’s manufacturing plants.  They control everything from inventory of raw materials to the air-conditioning on the factory floor. 

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