Engineer or Technician?

What's the Difference?

Definitions of:

An Engineer is...the team leader of an engineering team. Engineers plan, design and supervise engineering projects from concept to completion. Engineers solve problems by relying on their creative and academic skills. You should enjoy problem solving and be challenged by the effort it requires. Engineering is one of the few professional fields in which a bachelor's degree is sufficient career preparation. Many engineers, however, do go on for a master's degree in order to move into high level management positions. An engineering degree can also open doors to other professions such as medicine, business administration, law, computer development, etc.

A Technician is...a doer and implementer, who focuses on the practical elements of a job. He or she provides technical assistance in a specialized area, and performs the day-to-day tasks required in carrying out a project. Usually technicians work as part of a team that is engaged in a particular project or operation. Technology majors prepare for practical design and production work, rather than for jobs that require theoretical, scientific and mathematical knowledge of engineering.

What Should I Study?

To be an Engineer - Associate in Science (A.S.) Degree. Engineering Science Program with baccalaureate transfer options in:

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Optical Engineering
  • Software Engineering
  • (all other Engineering disciplines)

Entrance requirements for the Engineering Science Program: Algebra, geometry, intermediate algebra, trigonometry, and pre-calculus or the completion of MTH 175 at MCC, 3 years of science including chemistry and physics. Number of credit hours to complete degree requirements: 73-74

To be a Technician - Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.)

  • Applied Technology
  • Automotive Technology
  • Biology/Biological Technology
  • Chemical Technology
  • Civil and Construction Technology
  • Computer Related Technology
  • Electrical/Instrumentation Technology
  • Mechanical/Quality Control Technology
  • Optical Technology

Entrance requirements for technology programs: Algebra and intermediate algebra. Physics recommended (but not required). Number of credit hours to complete degree requirements at MCC: Varies with program -66 to 70 credit hours.

How Do I Choose?

Your answers to the following questions may help you choose between engineer or technician in selecting a course of study and ultimately a career.



  • Do you want to prepare to transfer to a four-year college? (A baccalaureate degree is required for engineer positions.)
  • Do you want to enter the workforce with a starting salary of $35,000?
  • Do you have a genuine interest in science and mathematics?
  • Do you like to solve abstract problems?
  • Do you have a scientific curiosity and wonder why and what makes things happen?
  • Are you an organizer and an innovator/leader?

If you answered "yes" to most of these questions, consider the Engineering Science Degree Program at MCC.


  • Do you want to be prepared for immediate employment after completing an A.A.S. degree? (Some students transfer to bachelor's programs in Engineering Technology and become engineering technologists.)
  • Do you want to enter the workforce with a starting salary of $18,700?
  • Do you like to work with your hands?
  • Do you like to repair things?
  • Do you like using data tables?
  • Do you like performing scientific measurements?
  • Are you able to accept and follow instructions from supervisors?

If you answered "yes" to most of these questions, consider a technician's degree at MCC.