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Whats the deal with an Engineering Technology degree?

  1. Nov 16, 2011 #1
    So I have plans to transfer to Cal Poly Pomona in Southern California next year. They offer a bachelors of science in engineering technology. I thought this sounded like a trade school degree until I spoke to one of the professors in that department. He made it seem that this degree was equivalent to an Engineering degree but with a focus on real world application of engineering concepts rather than derivation of them.

    Problem is....everyone I have asked in 'the real world' has never heard of such a degree and everyone relates it to a technician trade school degree.

    Does anyone here have this degree? It sounds really interesting and right up my alley, unless of course its isn't respected by employers.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2011 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Typically - but not always - they are not accredited.

    If you do a search, we've had this discussion before. Bottom line: if you want to be an engineer, get an engineering degree.
  4. Nov 16, 2011 #3
    I get that. But Cal Poly Pomona is the ranked 12th in the nation for engineering. They are accredited with ABET for Engineering Technology specifically. I am not talking about Devry or ITT tech.

    They are calling their graduates "Applied Engineers" and say that one can even be a Professional Registered Engineer. This is from the PELSG website http://www.pels.ca.gov/applicants/faq_eng.pdf
    [PLAIN]http://tempneff.com/3.PNG [Broken]

    If its a bologna degree then how are these things possible and how did this guy get to be a chief engineer at Boeing. http://www.csupomona.edu/~ecet/alumni.htm [Broken]
    [PLAIN]http://tempneff.com/2.PNG [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  5. Nov 17, 2011 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    I didn't say it is a bologna degree, and it is possible to do a lot of things, but that doesn't make the paths equivalent. A few points:

    1. I know for a fact that many engineering companies require their engineers to have engineering degrees. Particularly in the age of internet job applications, you'll get rejected for many jobs by a computer program, without a person ever looking at your other qualifications. You may want to search Monster.com for a sampling.

    2. As you showed, the PE path is a little harder with the ET degree. In some states it may not be possible to get a PE with an ET degree, but I'm not certain.

    3. Maybe you should turn this around and ask what is different about the ET degree. If they were equivalent, it would be redundant to have both. So what are you getting in one that you aren't getting in the other? Or perhaps more to the point, why are they not considered equivalent by the state boards? What is missing from the ET degree that makes it a lesser qualification (according to the pdf you linked)?
  6. Nov 17, 2011 #5


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    You can't generalize from one example.

    I used to work for a guy who ran a methods development group in an aerospace company with a comparable international status to Boeing. He had a string of published papers in journals like the International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering. He even had one of his discoveries named after him: http://www.nafems.org/resources/analysis_terms/terms/BARLOW-POINTS/

    He didn't have ANY degree. He left at school age 16 and started by riveting aircraft wings together. After a few years he got bored with doing that and went to evening classes at a local college to start learning some math...

    But I wouldn't recommend you to try following the same career plan.
  7. Nov 17, 2011 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    Yes. I often harp on the purpose of college being to prepare for a career. So then you should try to set yourself up for the easiest/smoothest career path possible. An engineering degree sets you up for an easier/smoother career path than an ET degree.
  8. Nov 17, 2011 #7


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    This statement from russ is probably the most important thing you need to consider. Regardless of your actual coursework, it WILL be more difficult to sell that degree across the board. Only a select few (like your example) may really be sold on it. That means that IN GENERAL, for all potential employers, it will be more difficult.

    If you have a specific "in" with that degree, or if you want to gamble on being more successful on that coursework to get hired, that's on you. You can bet on most employers simply not accepting it and the rest of them being wary of it. That means you'll most likely have to settle for a non-engineering position (a normal technician).

    I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the degree itself, or that somebody shouldn't be trying to blaze the trail for it, but do you want to gamble on being that person?
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