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What is Engineering Technology?

Many high school students looking to pursue a future in engineering have asked the common question:

"What is the difference between engineering and engineering technology?"

Engineering technology emphasizes the application of existing scientific and engineering techniques to a variety of real-world problems. “Application” is the key word in this definition, in that engineering technology differs from engineering in its emphasis on practical applications rather than on theory and design. Engineering technicians and technologists work in the job spectrum between the engineer and the skilled craftsman, with responsibilities closest to those of the engineer.

Sometimes the distinction between a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology (like the ones we offer here at Kansas State Polytechnic) and the traditional bachelor’s degree in engineering (like the ones offered on the Manhattan campus) is not very obvious. Similar math, science, and communications courses appear in both types of degree programs. Engineering technology courses usually emphasize application of the technical concepts rather than theoretical development of those concepts. Although the technical courses in engineering technology are often less math-intensive, they also include a much higher concentration of laboratory work.