How to become an engineer without a degree |A complete Guide 2022

How to become an engineer without a degree
Engineer working with circuits. A woman engineer solders circuits sitting at a table. Microchip production factory. Assembling the PCB board. Girl repairing electronic device on the circuit board.

Can you be an engineer without a degree? Typically, you need an engineering degree as a prerequisite to becoming an engineer. But, is it possible to become an engineer without an engineering degree? If yes, then how can one become an engineer without a degree?

Learning how to become an engineer without a degree can help you advance in your profession. Regardless of your experience, your past talents may be useful in your pursuit of a career as an engineer. Securing a job as an engineer without a degree requires hard work.

Engineers lay the physical groundwork for our society. The profession is meaningful, thrilling, and financially rewarding. However, the field of engineering can be scary.

Engineers must be professionals in the application of mathematical and scientific areas such as computer science and physics. Going to university and gaining a degree was the traditional route to learning the skills and concepts required for an engineering job.

However, there is no single path to becoming an engineer nowadays. Engineers come from a variety of backgrounds and years of experience. And being an engineer without a degree is totally doable.

In this post, we will explore what an engineer is, the various types of engineers, the talents required to be an engineer, and the processes required to become an engineer without a degree.

Thus, you will find the answers to these questions to help you make that big decision about becoming an engineer.

But just before we go into the details of this topic, let’s begin from the very top…

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What is engineering?

Engineering is the branch of science and technology that uses scientific and mathematical principles to build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings.

The aim of developing all of these machines and structures is for the benefit of people.

Also, those who practice engineering do so to solve technical problems and achieve practical goals.

These people are called engineers and there are several different types of engineers.

They include civil, mechanical, electrical, chemical, environmental, software, and aerospace engineers among many others.

But becoming an engineer is not child’s play.

So, this brings us to another important question… 

Can you become an engineer without a degree?

Anyone can become an engineer, but becoming an engineer can be very tough let alone without a degree. The field is challenging, and it’s important to dedicate enough time, focus on the right areas of study, and stay disciplined in your learning process. 

If you enjoy solving problems and want to learn practical ways to apply math and science, engineering might be the field for you.

What does it take to become an engineer?

The first question to answer if you want to know what takes to become an engineer is “what to study to become a engineer? “

Generally, the requirements to become an engineer will vary depending on engineering vertical, role, and organization.

However all, all engineers must possess certain skills and traits. 

To succeed as an engineer, you must be 

  • Proficient in mathematics and science
  • Highly analytical and detail-oriented
  • Imaginative and creative
  • Have Good communication skills
  • Enjoy working in teams
  • Enjoy building or improving the way things work

If you are to go through school, then a few core courses you will see in an undergraduate engineering program will include:

  • Calculus I, II, and III
  • Circuits and instrumentation
  • Differential equations
  • Physics
  • Principles of chemistry for engineers

Then, for more specific engineering disciplines, you will require extensive knowledge in that area, which you can learn both in college courses and on the job.

Nonetheless, to apply for any engineering job, there is a test almost every employer uses to assess their employees’ potential. “The Hogan Assessment”.

Hogan assessments come in two forms: those that test your thinking or cognitive abilities, and those that are used to study your core personality. Employers use these tests to help them predict your potential work performance. 

Given this, Hogan’s assessment tests can often be challenging. However, it is possible to ace them. This is where the Prepterminal’s personality and cognitive ability tests come in.

What soft skills do engineers require?

Becoming an engineer does not stop at going through school alone.

In addition to extensive technical mastery, engineers also need a fair share of soft skills. 

To solve the world’s problems to the best of their ability, successful engineers boast the following traits in addition to technical knowledge:

  • A need to know how products and processes work and a desire to fix them or make them better
  • The ability to apply theory to real-world projects in potentially ground-breaking ways
  • Being able to do whatever it takes—and for however long—to solve a tricky problem
  • Most engineers work in teams, so listening, communication and teamwork skills are crucial
  • The ability to not only execute tasks but guide and lead a team

If you possess some or all of these qualities, you may thrive as an engineer.

Note that these soft skills are irrespective of whether you are an engineering degree holder or not.

Is studying engineering and becoming an engineer worth it?

Becoming an engineer is one of the most challenging academic pursuits available. 

By completing it you will have greatly advanced your knowledge, work ethic, and ability to conquer challenges. 

One of its biggest benefits, that many other degrees don’t provide, is rigor. 

Becoming an engineer is hard!

Because of the difficulty in achieving this academic pursuit, learning other areas seems easier in comparison.

Also, engineering is one of the most rewarding and fun professions in the world. 

A degree in any engineering field can take you all over the world and help you make a nice salary. 

An engineering degree doesn’t just teach you how to be a great engineer, but rather a great manager, businessman, and entrepreneur.

So, does that mean that becoming an engineer is worth it?

Most definitely!! 

Becoming an engineer is worth it if you have a passion for building stuff that solves human problems.

How to become an engineer without a degree

Although becoming an engineer without a college degree is indeed possible, you still need to graduate high school to be on your way to an engineering career.

Thus, there are actually three quick ways you can take to become an engineer without a degree; learning online, getting vocational training from an expert, and focusing on engineering jobs that don’t require a degree.

Professionally, for anyone to be called an engineer, he/she must have an engineering degree or relative degrees. 

Otherwise, engineers are just people who have developed their critical thinking and problem-solving skills with a huge amount of knowledge.

can you work as an engineer without a degree
can you work as an engineer without a degree

So, here are a few things that you can do to become an engineer without a degree.

#1. Learn engineering on YouTube

if you are always asking can you be an engineer without a degree? This may sound ridiculous, but trust me when I say you can become a proficient engineer by watching just YouTube videos or taking a video-based online course.

Remember that engineering is all about creating stuff that solves problems.

There are several engineers on YouTube today who share how they create new solutions to existing problems.

You can follow their steps, practicalize and become an engineer, though without a degree.

If you follow YouTubers like Mark Rober and M4 Tech, you will be blown by their extreme engineering techniques.

What you just need is someone to guide you step by step as you practice.

Although, this may take much time as there is not a specific curriculum to follow.

However, if you discipline yourself to learn, you can become an engineer in a shorter time.

#2. Get vocational training from an expert

Even though an engineering degree is very important, it is the practice that matters.

Therefore, learning the practice is a good way to become an engineer.

There are experts in different fields of engineering who are already taking interns with no experience at all.

The only requirement is a passion to learn the craft.

There are some vocational training centers that may issue you a certificate at the end of your training.

If you are lucky to find such, then that will be a plus.

This brings us to the third way to become an engineer without an engineering degree.

#3. Pursue an engineering job that doesn’t require an engineering degree

While most engineering jobs require a bachelor’s degree or higher in engineering, certain fields are easier to break into than others without an engineering degree.

According to Interesting Engineering, electrical engineering is the easiest field to enter without a formal degree.

That’s because you can gain proficiency in the field through self-study, experimentation, and hard work.

In 2018, electrical engineering technician jobs paid an average of $64,330.

Guess what?

This technician job typically does not require a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

However, they do require some formal training – either an associate’s degree or vocational training.

What are the branches of engineering I can practice without having a college degree?

We’ve talked about the electrical engineering technician above. If you are looking for engineering jobs without degree, you can easily pick the following branches of engineering that you can practice with no degree.

Other engineering disciplines that you can practice without a degree include:

  • Software Engineer: Software engineers use engineering concepts to design, develop, test, and maintain computer software as well as solve issues. Software engineers also strive to enhance application quality, engage with other experts to create new and relevant software designs, explore and apply new technologies, and generate reports.

A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a similar subject is usually required. However, thanks to the availability of bootcamps, you may work as a software engineer without a degree. You may attend a bootcamp to obtain the skills required to become a professional in the area, or you can enroll in a software engineering apprenticeship program to learn on the job.

  • Sales Engineer: By presenting the goods in the best possible light, sales engineers make engineering services and products appealing to clients. They want to attract new and existing consumers while also profiting the company or organization. They must also respond to client inquiries about the product.

A bachelor’s degree in a related discipline is often required to pursue a career as a sales engineer. Anyone with sales experience and technical abilities, on the other hand, may work as a sales engineer, which means you can develop your skills and knowledge to the level required of a sales engineer and apply for entry-level positions.

  • Chemical engineering – ideal for those with a background in chemistry, biology, or other life sciences
  • Mechanical engineering – ideal for those with a bachelor’s degree in a technical field
  • Civil engineering – is one of the more difficult fields to break into without an engineering degree, though it is possible to work up the ranks at a company (i.e. construction worker to foreman to drafter to engineer)

With the right connections and work ethic, you can plausibly find an engineering job without an engineering degree.

#4. Apply for Entry-Level Engineering Roles

The next stage involves applying for full-time jobs as an engineer. However, you may want to stick to entry-level roles that require fewer skills and experience to increase your chances of success and build a fulfilling career as an engineer

#5. Go back to school to earn your bachelor’s or master’s in an engineering discipline

Okay, this article is supposed to be about ways to become an engineer without an engineering degree.

However, there are situations where the only thing that can save you is a recognized engineering degree.

For instance, if you wish to join a professional body or get your engineering license, you may need to show your degree certificate.

Also, some employers may not be willing to hire you as an engineer without an engineering degree.

So, whatever the reason you don’t have an engineering degree, you can always sort it out.

For instance, if you have a problem with funding your degree program, you can apply for a scholarship. 

There are tons of fully-paid scholarship programs available for different engineering disciplines.

Also, if you have a day job that you cannot forfeit for school, then you can choose an only program instead.

There are many online engineering degree programs as well that you can apply for and gain a recognized engineering degree certificate. 

So, do well to identify what your challenges are because there may be a solution for you out there.

Can I call myself an engineer without having a degree certificate?

This question is a question of legality, more than anything else.

In many jurisdictions, the term “engineer” denotes a “professional.” 

This is the same thing as someone who has been certified to practice, as a lawyer or doctor would be. 

Although there are some occasional legal ramifications for people who describe themselves as engineers without possessing such certification.

So, if we are to rephrase the question to be “can a person be called an engineer?”

Then, I’d guess there’s nowhere where there would be any legal consequence for someone else calling you an engineer, so long as you didn’t lead anyone to rely upon that assertion.

Also, the certification of engineers typically applies only in fields where human safety is at stake.

So certification and licensing of the structural, airframe, and civil engineers are taken very seriously.

Whereas, software engineers, for instance, would be a non-issue.

how to become an engineer
how to become an engineer

Can I get an engineering license without a degree?

The requirements for getting a license as a Professional Engineer (PE) vary from one location to another.

While one location may require a certain number of years of experience plus a Bachelor’s degree in engineering, another may have something different altogether. 

So, the bottom line is that getting a license as an engineer without an engineering degree will depend on your location.

And for places where licensing is a must, they do so to ensure that only professionals undertake the risk involved in being an engineer.

For instance, most civil engineers need to be licensed as Professional Engineers (PEs) in order to be allowed to stamp official plans. 

This is because civil engineering jobs are usually bogus and may cost the lives of users if the plan fails.

Although a bachelor’s in engineering is required to get an engineering license, it is still plausible that you could become a subset of an engineering body without a degree.

Can I be an engineer if I hate math?

Absolutely. Thomas Edison went through school and did poorly in his math classes. He went on to patent 1,093 inventions.

The most important engineering skill is your ability to problem-solve. You do not have to like math to solve interesting problems or build cool things; what matters most is your ability to take what you know to think critically, structurally, and logically about whatever engineering challenges you are faced with.

Can you work as an engineer without a degree?

Yes, you can get an engineering job without a degree if you take the proper steps to develop your skills by taking online courses and workshops. If possible, apply for an apprenticeship program to gain vocational training.

Nonetheless, Consider a Degree in Engineering Later in Your Career. With dedication and hard effort, it is feasible to obtain an engineering position without a degree. With the correct experience, you may begin a job and make as much as a college degree. To do this, you will need to follow the appropriate procedures and be patient as you begin.

However, you should not ignore the possibility of acquiring a degree later in your work since it might make a significant impact in your professional progress. A college degree in engineering may result in increased compensation, better work opportunities, and professional promotion. While you can still acquire this without a degree, going to college will help.

High-Paying Engineering Jobs Without a College Degree

According to the US Bureau of labor statistics, these are the highest-paid engineering jobs without a degree;

JobAverage SalaryOutlook
Software Engineer$110,14022%
Sales Engineer$108,8308%
Electrical Engineer$100,8307%
Network Engineer$90,9265%
Mechanical Engineer$90,1607%
Civil Engineer$88,5708%
Electrical Designer$77,5727%
Electrical Technician$67,5502%
CAD Technician$57,960-2%
Machinist$45,8407%
High-Paying Engineering Jobs Without a College Degree

Companies that Offer Entry-Level Engineering Jobs

  • IBM: IBM, which stands for International Business Machines Corporation, is a well-known computer firm that supplies clients with computer systems and machines for business and scientific purposes. IBM, being a computer firm, need engineers to create its designs.
  • General Motors: General Motors is a car manufacturer based in the United States. Engineers must assist in the design, development, and testing procedures as part of a vehicle manufacturing organization. You can work as a mechanical or sales engineer for this organization.
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation: Lockheed Martin is a company that specializes in aerospace, armaments, military, technology, and information security research, design, development, and manufacture. Engineers are required in a variety of industries due to the company’s specialty.
  • Lucid Motors: Lucid Motors is an American electric automobile manufacturer. Engineers are unquestionably an important element of Lucid Motors as a car production firm. This organization is certain to have a suitable non-degree engineering career for you.
  • Valdes Engineering Company is a minority-owned engineering, architectural, and project management consulting business in the United States. You might work as a civil engineer or a chemical engineer with this firm.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming an Engineer without a Degree

can you be an electrical engineer without a degree?

yes! While the majority of electrical engineers have a bachelor’s degree, electrical engineering is one of the easiest engineering areas to enter without a college degree. You may become an electrical engineer on your own with the right training and practice. You are likely to get off to a better start if you participate in an apprenticeship program.
An electrical engineer works on projects of various sizes to study, create, install, and test electronic systems and products. They enhance electrical goods and systems, develop production methods, and assess quality and performance. They also oversee the production of these systems.

can you become a civil engineer without a degree?

yes, you can be a civil engineer without a degree but there is a catch. Most civil engineers obtain a degree as well as a license to practice. If you lack any of these qualifications, you can still pursue a career in the area by beginning an apprenticeship program in which you study under an experienced expert for a set period of time. To advance in the industry, you may need to get a degree and a license.

A civil engineer is a professional who is in charge of designing, building, and maintaining infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges. They investigate and evaluate projects to verify that they do not breach any codes and are safe for usage. They are also in control of the project’s finances, timeframes, dangers, and materials.

can you be called an engineer without a degree

yes, you can be called an engineer without a degree, all you need to do is follow the advice given in this article. but,to get an engineering license without degree is not possible, you will still need to study and get a degree to be a certified engineer by the governing body.

What Engineers Don’t Need Degrees?

All advanced engineers require degrees, however some engineering careers, such as software engineering, network engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering, can be started without a degree.

Can You be an Engineer Without a PE?

Yes, you can get started as an engineer without a PE, but you might have to earn one down the line in your career path for career advancement

Conclusion

So yes, you can become an engineer without a degree, but it is far easier to go and get a degree than to wait for and gain years of experience for a position. Engineers often need to be licensed to work in the field, so it is technically not possible to be an engineer without a degree due to high-risk job responsibilities.

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