You are here

engineering career image


Engineering can be divided into a number of major sectors such as electrical, electronic, mechanical, civil & structural, chemical, manufacturing and software engineering. People working in each of those sectors have formed professional engineering societies and these organisations are one of the main sources of information if you want to find out more about engineering. Overseeing all the professional engineering bodies is the Engineering Council which ensures that all institutions work to the same high standard.


There are three grades of professional qualifications common to all disciplines: Engineering Technician (EngTech), Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and Chartered Engineer (CEng).



Anyone of any age working in an engineering field, with knowledge and understanding of technical matters to around NVQ/SVQ Level 3 standard, can apply. You do not need an approved qualification however, if you have an approved qualification, the application process may be slightly different.



  • Accredited Bachelors degree
  • HNC/HND/Foundation degree plus approved further learning to Bachelors level
  • The current standards allow more flexibility for engineers with differing levels of qualifications to meet the academic requirements.


  • Accredited BEng (Hons) degree plus appropriate Masters degree
  • Accredited BEng (Hons) degree plus approved further learning to Masters level
  • Accredited MEng



Electrical Engineering

The title is a bit misleading because members of the IEE work in a number of fields including power engineering, communications, electronics, computing, software, control and manufacturing, domestic products, the media and computer systems.

Entry Requirements

Entry is possible through a number of different routes. Engineering can be taken as a subject in school or college such as the Diploma in Engineering. This can provide the first step towards college/university entrance or lead to an engineering or manufacturing apprenticeship. Maths and science are also important subjects, especially for those wanting to train to become technicians or professional engineers. Apprenticeships can lead to craft and technician jobs.


Salaries range from around £20,000 to £50,000 a year or more.


Mechanical Engineering

Engineering affects every aspect of human activity – work, leisure, health and education. Engineers are involved in the design and manufacture of almost everything, from cars to computers, from web pages to wings, from microchips to motorways.

Training as a mechanical engineer will lead you into one of the broadest areas of engineering. Mechanical engineers are expected to constantly improve, re-design and invent equipment, not just maintain and process. As a mechanical engineer, you could be employed in a design, manufacture, research, development, management or marketing role.

Entry Requirements

Engineering today is closely linked with technology and many roles rely on the most recent technological advances. Most jobs require people who like maths and science, enjoy finding solutions to challenging problems, are practical, team workers and good communicators.

Many engineers begin by studying full time at university or college for a BEng or Meng but there is a wide choice of courses and qualifications available. It is possible to begin training for craft or technician-level jobs straight from school with GCSEs (A*-C) in English, maths and science followed by full-time study at college, or a work-based Apprenticeship. The Diploma in engineering is another alternative.

A BTEC Higher National Diploma/Certificate or a foundation degree in engineering or technology provide alternative routes.


Range of typical starting salaries: £19,000 - £28,000, with the average around £22,000


Chemical Engineering

Do you use a mobile phone? Do you wear trainers?  Do you ’funk up’ your hair with wax or gel?
Did you know that the above products are reliant on chemical engineering? Here is something else that may surprise you – Chemical Engineers also save lives.
Usually we think of doctors, paramedics and nurses as the people who save lives – but just one chemical, or bio-chemical engineer has the potential to save more lives than a whole ward of healthcare professionals. Chemical Engineers develop pharmaceuticals, drugs and treatments that modern medicine depends upon.

Entry Requirements

Most chemical engineers are graduates who have followed an accredited chemical engineering degree course leading to a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) or a Master of Engineering (MEng) degree. Some new entrants have postgraduate qualifications.


Salaries range from around £26,000 a year to £60,000 or more.


Civil Engineering

Is all about creating, improving and protecting the environment in which we live. In fact, our society would not function without civil engineers and civil engineering.

You could be involved in seeing through a project from design stage to construction and completion. These projects might include the development and construction of bridges, tunnels, roads, railways, dams, pipelines and major buildings.

One reason that young engineers give for choosing civil engineering is 'variety'. You might be in the office, working on designs at a computer or ensuring the client is kept up to date. You could be on site, leading teams, solving problems and literally being 'hands-on'.

Entry Requirements

Physics and Mathematics should be taken as your core subjects for  A-levels. By taking Mathematics and Physics, you can gain entry to a civil engineering degree at university.

Another route into civil engineering is through the Advanced Diploma in Engineering or the Advanced Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment. Most universities accept the Engineering Diploma provided students take Mathematics A-level or the OCR Level 3 Certificate in Mathematics for Engineering as their Additional Specialist Learning (ASL) BTEC Nationals in Civil Engineering or Construction are a tried and tested basis for becoming a civil engineer. This can be taken either as part of an apprenticeship scheme, or as a full time college course leading to a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Diploma (HND) or a Foundation Degree in civil engineering.

Students can also go on from a BTEC National Diploma to a BSc, or BEng degree but you must check with universities as some may require additional qualifications and entry requirements may vary.

Salaries range from around £24,000 to £70,000 or more a year.


Useful websites


Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)




Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE)


Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE)


Women into Science and Engineering (WISE)


Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Career and Course Articles: 

online magazines