March 11, 2015
Piedmont Technical College offers a number of programs that connect graduates with careers after completing a two-year degree. For students who are fascinated by the big impact technology has on our lives, and enjoy a hands-on approach to problem-solving, that career could likely be engineering technology.
Sandy Warner, department head of PTC’s Engineering Technology program, explains that engineering is at the heart of every facet of modern life. Engineers develop the concepts for solving problems and work to improve existing technology.
“And all of those concepts have to be put on paper and designed to come to fruition,” Warner says. “That’s what engineering technicians do—they take an engineer’s concepts and make them a reality.”
Piedmont Tech’s Engineering Technology program offers real-world training that teaches the practicalities of engineering rather than pure concepts or theories. Engineering technology students acquire hands-on technical skills that enable them to solve production and system implementation problems and help them explain solutions.
“The program has produced graduates whose skills and abilities have helped them obtain excellent jobs and pursue advanced degrees for decades. Careers that require a high degree of technical expertise tend to be well-paying,” Warner says, “and that’s true for engineering technology.”
She says that although most engineering technology graduates go to work in advanced manufacturing, they’re qualified to work in a wide variety of fields, including civil and architectural engineering, construction and more.
“Our graduates are really in demand in any field that requires an engineering support function, and every aspect of modern life involves engineering to one degree or another,” says Warner. “So there’s a lot of opportunity out there.”
Each of the four majors in the program—Electronic Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Engineering Graphics Technology and General Engineering Technology—is focused on the needs of employers, so graduates can be sure they’ll be well prepared to enter the job market in their chosen fields.
Warner and her fellow instructors work diligently to make sure students in the program are getting instruction in the latest technology so that the transition into the workplace will be a smooth one.
Although careers in the world of engineering can be extremely rewarding, the cost of a degree at a four-year institution and the time commitment involved in pursuing a bachelor’s degree are major obstacles for some.
A student attending PTC can expect to pay about half the tuition they’d owe at a four-year university. The college offers day and evening classes to help students schedule their coursework around existing responsibilities. To further offset the cost of attendance, PTC offers exemption credits toward an associate degree to high school students who’ve completed Project Lead the Way credits.
For many students, the wide variety of options designed to increase the program’s accessibility make PTC a perfect fit.
As with any career, higher levels of education open up additional options for graduates. According to Warner, the program now makes several seamless transfer options available to students who wish to pursue bachelor’s degrees in engineering after graduation. Transfer agreements are in place with USC Columbia, USC Upstate and South Carolina State University.
“We’re always working to make additional opportunities available to our students,” said Warner. “If you start here, you can get into the workforce and earn a good salary after just two years in college. Or you can save a lot of money on your bachelor’s degree by taking advantage of one of our transfer options. Either way, Piedmont Tech is a great option for anyone interested in engineering.”
For more information on any of the Engineering Technology programs, visit www.ptc.edu/engineering.