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The qualifications needed to be an engineer

Engineering is a hugely varied industry, but there are similarities at the heart of all the different types of engineering jobs.  Find out what the qualifications needed to be an engineer are.

Maths and Science lie at the heart of all engineering jobs and courses, whether it is agricultural, civil, mechanical or structural engineering. To find out about the variety of specialist engineering fields visit our main engineering page.

Anyone interested in a future career as an engineer should include maths and science as part of their optional studies and build other studies around these subjects. You can research average earnings, working hours and predicted job openings using our careerometer tool.

There are a great many routes into engineering jobs and there’s a good chart of these on the website for tomorrow’s engineers.

Here’s an indication of the route that you could take to become an engineer

engineering routes


From here you could go on to study for an HNC/HND, a Foundation Degree, a Higher Apprenticeship, a university degree and beyond, depending on what job role you are planning to go for.  You can also become professionally registered as Engtech (engineering technician), IEng (incorporated engineer) or CEng (chartered engineer).

If you are thinking of studying for a university degree, you should check to see if the degree course is accredited and whether through your studies you can gain professional status.

A-levels for engineering

Learners taking the A-level route should make sure that they study for maths and physics. You could add chemistry, geography, design technology, further maths or a modern foreign language to the mix (for possibly working abroad as an engineer).  You should also check the universities course page and entry requirements to make sure that you set yourself up well for your application.

Vocational route into engineering

Learners opting for the vocational route, with a Btec qualification could study for an advanced national diploma in engineering or for an advanced diploma in construction (you should again check what qualifications the university that you are interested in will accept if you are planning in taking a university degree afterwards). Whichever Btec you choose, universities may want you to have studied Maths for Engineering as the additional specialist learning component of your course.

Engineering Apprenticeships

There are 53 different engineering and manufacturing apprenticeship frameworks, so plenty to choose from.  These frameworks are available at a variety of levels, from intermediate to higher (all the way up to level 6)

To find out about engineering apprenticeships and much more, visit the Institute of Engineering and Technologies website.

About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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