Across the world, countless millions attend colleges and universities to better themselves and pursue professional careers in a wide variety of industries. Depending on the exact area of study, a typical college or facility for higher learning may be sufficient to obtain the skills necessary to compete, but for some careers, achieving the very best instruction possible absolutely matters.
For those who can afford it, pursuing post-secondary education in the United States is an absolute must. Consistently ranked as having the best higher learning facilities in the world, people from all over come to the USA to pursue careers in education, finance, technology and science. One very notable example – engineering – draws in a large percentage of global industry graduates.
Before you decide to study engineering in the United States, you should be aware of a few things. Today, we’ll talk about 7 important things to know about studying engineering in the USA.
You’ll Need a Student Visa
Before anybody can begin attending and studying engineering at a college or university in the USA, they must first obtain a student visa. This is a multi-step process that can take months, so preparation ahead of time is key.
Ultimately, the first step involves filling out a student visa application, which can be found online. In order to apply for a student visa, you must also pay a fee of $160 (this may be required either before or after your initial interview).
An interview may be required to obtain your visa, which is usually conducted at the US embassy or consulate in your home country. If this process feels complicated, it’s worth noting that some schools will assist in applying for student visas if you have already been accepted as a student.
Not All Universities Are Created Equal
While the USA has the best university system on balance in the world, there is considerable variance in quality and prestige to consider. From affordable community colleges to Ivy League institutions, the more than 5,000 colleges and universities in the USA offer a wide variety of experiences and outcomes.
A large number of these colleges and universities offer engineering programs, but most students seek to enroll at various technically-oriented or engineering-specific universities. Some of the most commonly mentioned universities that focus on engineering include Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Stanford University.
An Engineering Degree Can Be Costly
While many nations offer university education at a substantially reduced rate, the USA has the most expensive college costs in the world. Particularly for students coming from countries and/or families with modest means, affording an education can be daunting. Thankfully, there are a wide variety of scholarships, grants and assistance programs available through the universities themselves, independent organizations and even through home countries’ governments.
Without any assistance, an engineering degree pursued via a top-notch school can easily cost upwards of $40,000 per year. While tuition is the single-biggest cost, there are an array of other factors such as room and board, books, and general living expenses.
Engineering Offers Many Pathways
A degree in engineering can open the door to a variety of profitable careers, but there are many types of engineering to consider for these pathways. Some of the highest paid engineering specialties currently are petroleum engineering, chemical engineering and aerospace engineering. Each involves specific knowledge sets and additional study – but most forms of engineering can be pursued via an initial four-year degree as a baseline.
Regardless, everyone – from local governments to Fortune 500 companies – are in need of engineers in a variety of capacities. It is never difficult to find new career opportunities with an engineering degree, but having an idea of what specialty you’d like to pursue beforehand is ideal.
Cutting Edge Technology at US Universities
Given the advances being made in engineering every single year, and the dominance of the US university system on a global scale, engineering students who pursue a degree from a reputable and/or specialized university will have access to a variety of state-of-the-art equipment and methods.
There are numerous engineering applications in high demand at present, with innovations being drummed up by university engineering programs on a consistent basis. The particular college or university you choose to attend may have government grants to explore environmental engineering advances or corporate funding to unlock the secrets of nano-engineering. You can rest assured that highly advanced equipment and technology will be available to students who choose to study at these universities.
Studying is a Must
Those who wish to earn their engineering degrees with flying colors must commit to hundreds of hours of study and exam prep every single year. Engineering is complex and requires a mastery of both mathematics and sciences in a variety of situations: a lack of understanding can spell doom for earning various degrees and certifications.
Virtually every engineering student will want or need to take the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination after earning their degrees; this allows for licensing as a professional engineer in the USA. As one example, an FE exam study guide will get you started in mastering the core curriculum of this exam and others.
Networking is Essential
Whether you intend to stay in the US for your engineering career or venture to another country, the process of networking among fellow engineering students is vital. Given the insane demand for engineers, many find themselves working or relying on each other later in their careers. By building bonds with these individuals now, you will be able to call on them later for assistance in finding better engineering opportunities.
Additionally, and due to the fact that many large corporations hire a variety of engineers to handle select operations, you might even inadvertently find yourself working with fellow engineering students in the future! As such, building bonds now makes sense for those studying engineering in the US.
Studying to be an engineer in the USA is a potentially costly and complex process, but highly rewarding for those who pursue it. By keeping these 7 tips in mind, you’ll be able to make it from day one of your venture all the way to a professional career in engineering without unexpected challenges or setbacks.
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