- Curricular Focus – Engineering programs often focus on theory and conceptual design, while engineering technology programs usually focus on application and implementation. Engineering programs typically require additional, higher-level mathematics, including multiple semesters of calculus and calculus-based theoretical science courses, while engineering technology programs typically focus on algebra, trigonometry, applied calculus, and other courses that are more practical than theoretical in nature.
- Career Paths – Graduates from engineering programs often pursue entry-level work involving conceptual design or research and development. Many continue on to graduate-level work in engineering. Graduates from ABET-accredited bachelor level engineering degree programs are eligible to become registered professional engineers (P.E.) in all U.S states and territories by a process of two examinations (the FE and PE exams) and documentation of engineering work experience. This registration is commonly known as the PE License.
Graduates of four-year engineering technology programs are most likely to enter positions in sectors such as construction, manufacturing, product design, testing, or technical services and sales. Those who pursue further study often consider engineering, facilities management, or business administration. Graduates from ABET-accredited bachelor level engineering technology degree programs are also eligible to become registered professional engineers by the same process in many (but not all) states.
Graduates of two-year engineering technology programs likely assume engineering technician positions in maintenance, production, or product development. Graduates of two-year programs are not eligible for professional licensure.
In general, engineering programs offer more foundational analysis of problems while engineering technology programs stress current industrial design practices that allow students to start developing practical workplace skills.