Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between engineering and engineering technology?

Engineers use advanced mathematics and theory to solve problems. Engineering technicians and technologists use a more practical, hands-on approach to problem solving. For more information on the difference between engineering and engineering technology. 

What is the difference between an associate and bachelor's degree?

The most obvious difference is the amount of time it takes to complete the degree. Most associate degrees can be completed in two years of full-time study, while most bachelor's degrees take four years to complete. 

Associate degrees focus on the specific field of study. General education courses are kept to a minimum. However, associate degree programs may not offer as many advanced courses as a bachelor's degree. Associate degrees are best for people interested in an intermediate level of knowledge in one field. Associate degree holders may return to pursue a bachelor's degree. 

Bachelor's degrees take more time because they offer a more in-depth education, both in in-major and general education courses. Bachelor's programs are a good fit for those who are interested in a variety of fields, and would like to explore them in an academic setting. Graduates holding a bachelor's degree often have more advanced duties in the workforce, such as supervisory positions. 

What is ABET accreditation? Why is it important?

The Accrediatation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) is the recognized U.S. accreditor of college and university programs in applied sciences, computing, engineering, and technology. Accreditation ensures the quality of the postsecondary education that students receive. 

Many employers, graduate programs, and professional licensing boards require graduation from an ABET-accredited program as a minimum qualification. The Penn State system offers more ABET-accredited programs than the rest of the state combined. 

Can I seek a higher-level degree if I hold an associate or bachelor's degree in engineering technology?

Yes - engineering technology graduates may go on to pursue a master's or Ph.D. in a related engineering field. 

Can I pursue an engineering technology degree and work full-time?

Yes - many of our students are adult learners who work full-time. We offer engineering technology courses during the workday and in the evening, so students can tailor their classes to their work schedule. 

Do I have to relocate to pursue a degree in engineering technology or in a commonwealth engineering program?

Probably not. Penn State has engineering technology programs at the following campuses: Altoona, Berks, DuBois, Erie (Behrend), Fayette, Harrisburg, New Kensington, Wilkes-Barre, and York. 

What are classes like for engineering technology?

All engineering technology faculty have at least three years of industry experience. Classes are small and focus on practical application. 

What are the job prospects for engineering and engineering technology-related careers?

The current job market for engineers and engineering technicians and technologists is very good. Nearly 100 percent of our graduates seeking employment in engineering and engineering technology-related fields have found employment with six months of graduation. 

While many of our graduates choose to stay in Pennsylvania, engineers and engineering technologists and technicians are in demand across the country. 

What is the salary range I can expect to make with an engineering technology degree?

Compensation various with the degree, previous job experience, and location. Graduates of Penn State's ABET-accredited programs may be eligible for professional licensure, which can increase your salary. 

How can I learn more about engineering technology and commonwealth engineering programs?

Contact your local College of Engineering representatives or call the School of Engineering Design and Innovation at 814-865-7589. 



The School of Engineering Design and Innovation delivers effective engineering education and unrivaled research opportunities through active, collaborative, project-based, and professionally oriented classroom experiences. The school offers a variety of programs that partner faculty, students, and industry in the study of real-life engineering problems. Our programs teach students to solve real-life problems with innovative solutions. 

School of Engineering Design and Innovation

304 Engineering Design and Innovation Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2952