Engineering and engineering technology are separate but closely related professional areas that differ in:
- 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 are called engineers and often pursue entry-level work involving conceptual design or research and development. Many continue on to graduate-level work in engineering. Graduates of four-year engineering technology programs are called technologists, while graduates of two-year engineering technology programs are called technicians. These professionals 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.
There is much overlap between the fields. Engineers may pursue MBAs and open their own consulting firms, while technologists may spend their entire careers in design capacities.
For ABET accreditation, engineering and engineering technology programs are reviewed and accredited by two separate accreditation commissions, using two separate sets of accreditation criteria: the Engineering Accreditation Commission and the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission.