Considering a major in engineering? This one’s for you
Are you curious about what an engineering major involves, what to consider in choosing a college for engineering and entry-level salaries? Read on.
If you excel in math and the sciences, are innovative, and love figuring out how things work, you may want to be an engineer.
Engineering is the art of putting science to good, practical use. You’ll get to design things that matter and offer solutions to tough problems. It’s ideal for imaginative, independent thinkers.
If opportunities to question, explore, discover, invent and create excite you, then engineering could be a good fit.
Plus, engineering also can lead to jobs in business, design, law and government. To employers and graduate schools, an engineering degree reflects a well-educated individual who has learned ways of analyzing and solving problems that can lead to satisfaction and success in all kinds of fields.
How do I choose a school for engineering?
No matter what major you're pursuing, it’s a good idea to research a variety of schools — from large regional universities to smaller colleges. The more you research and visit, the more likely you’ll find what matters the most to you and your future.
Your professors and advisors should be as committed to your success as you are. While looking at a school, schedule a meeting with a professor from the engineering department and ask to visit a class. They should be willing to share with you more details about the major itself, as well as average class size in the department, their teaching style, course/major expectations, and advising and internships opportunities.
Liberal arts approach
With engineering, some might think a large university and its research facilities are the way to go. But many smaller-sized colleges can offer undergraduates more access to labs and facilities, plus more hands-on learning opportunities, professional connections and individual attention. Because engineers benefit from a broad background of knowledge and experiences, a liberal arts college offers the best preparation for employment or graduate school.
Career and internship support
Don't underestimate the importance of guidance opportunities. Ideally, any school you consider will offer help finding and landing all-important internships, preparing for job interviews, preparing graduate school applications, and/or providing career advice.
Augustana’s engineering program
• Our faculty advisors can help you decide which career path is best for you. We offer a B.A. in engineering physics, physics, and teaching physics, and a B.S. in engineering. How do you know which engineering degree is right for you? Read about the differences.
• Our engineering/physics faculty are experts in a variety of disciplines, including civil and mechanical engineering, environmental engineering, pulsed laser systems, astronomy, nuclear physics, quantum mechanics and teaching physics. Our classes and labs are taught by professors, not teaching assistants. They take the time to get to know students and help them identify their own passions.
• During the past five years, nearly 80% of students seeking graduate school were successfully enrolled in top schools such as the University of Iowa, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Dartmouth, and the University of Colorado-Boulder in engineering or physics programs.
• The Augustana Physics and Engineering Society (APES) has won the Outstanding Chapter Award 11 times, as well as the Blake Lilly Prize and Marsh W. White award from the national honor society of the Society of Physics Students. It’s a fun and engaging group focused on developing a sense of community through presentations, outreach to area schools, discussions on modern science and club get-togethers.
• Our student-led mentoring program (APS-IDEA) pairs first- and second-year students with junior and senior majors. Seniors are paired with an alumni mentor so they are ready to take the next step, whether that’s a job or graduate school.
• Augustana’s CORE career coaches help students with résumés, interview practice and internships. Our engineering majors have interned at John Deere, Exelon, Bergstrom, Solar Plastics and Crawford Company, which have led to permanent positions.
How much do engineering majors make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, engineers have a median annual wage of $91,010, and the engineering field is projected to grow by 140,00 new jobs during the next decade.
The following are mean entry-level annual salaries for specific engineering areas:
An engineering major can lead to a lifetime of interesting opportunities, challenges and successes.
If you’re a current high school student who is still looking for the right college, consider adding Augustana to your list — even if you're not sure you want to major in engineering. Augustana students benefit from small classes that allow for strong faculty relationships, excellent advising and endless opportunities outside of class.