Engineering Technology v/s Engineering

Engineering Technology v/s Engineering


The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) describes the difference between engineering and engineering technology:

“The distinction between engineering and engineering technology emanates primarily from differences in their educational programs. Engineering programs are geared toward development of conceptual skills, and consist of a sequence of engineering fundamentals and design courses, built on a foundation of complex mathematics and science courses. Engineering technology programs are oriented toward application, and provide their students introductory mathematics and science courses, and only a qualitative introduction to engineering fundamentals. Thus, engineering programs provide their graduates a breadth and depth of knowledge that allows them to function as designers. Engineering technology programs prepare their graduates to apply others’ designs.”

An Engineering Technology professional is a specialist dedicated to the development and implementation of existing technology within a field of engineering. Engineering technology education is more applied than the more theoretical science-based engineering degree education. Engineering Technologists often work with engineers on a wide variety of projects by applying basic engineering principles and technical skills. Engineering technologists also may assume senior management positions in industry or become entrepreneurs.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) describes the difference between engineering and engineering technology: “Engineering and technology are separate, but intimately related professions.” Here are some of the ways they differ:

  • Engineering undergraduate programs include more mathematics work and higher-level mathematics than technology programs.
  • Engineering undergraduate programs often focus on theory, while technology programs usually focus on application.
  • Once they enter the workforce, engineering graduates typically spend their time planning, while engineering technology graduates spend their time making plans work.

Engineering Technology deals with the same topics as engineering, but the knowledge is more applied, as opposed to purely theoretical knowledge. The mathematics and basic sciences, as well as the technical courses, in engineering technology programs are taught with more applications and less theory than related engineering courses. Engineering courses also typically require a higher level of knowledge of mathematics, as well as natural and engineering sciences, and prepare a student to continue studies and perform research at the graduate level. Engineering technology courses generally have labs associated with the courses that require applied or hands-on applications of the topics being studied.

In summary, the work of engineering technologists focuses on the applied and practical application of engineering principles, whereas the work of engineer emphasizes the theoretical aspects of mathematical, scientific and engineering principles.

Hopefully summary of some of the differences between engineering and engineering technology will help you choose what best fits your academic and career goal. If you have any questions about Engineering Technology program offered here at ECSU, feel free to contact me or anyone of my colleagues.