Can You Become An Engineer Without A Degree?

Are you wondering if you can become an engineer without a college or university degree? Well, this article is for you. You’ll gain clarity as to whether you can actualize your dream of becoming an engineer with or without a degree.

Engineering is a promising career with many opportunities for money-making. Typically, the foundational qualification for engineers includes a four-year bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline.

Yes, it is possible to become an engineer without a degree. But the truth is you will need to work really hard to educate yourself. You will also need a lot of experience to complement your lack of a university degree.

Read on to find out how you can become an engineer without a degree and more in this article.

Who is an engineer?

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Engineers are professionals who use their scientific knowledge and skills to design, build and test machines, structures, gadgets, materials, and complex systems to meet a need.

They basically proffer solutions to problems through engineering design processes. They do this by identifying problems, critically examining the problems to know their source, finding solutions, and executing them.

Engineers can work in diverse fields. For instance, automobile engineers focus on building and maintaining automobiles and other related technologies. Aeronautic engineers work on developing aircraft.

On the other hand, mechanical engineers operate energy systems, transport systems, manufacturing systems, machines, and control systems. Software engineers build software applications and civil engineers work on structures and buildings.

Can you become an engineer without a degree?

Yes. You can become an engineer without a college or university degree. Although, it is not the best move. The basic required qualification for engineers is a bachelor’s degree.

Certain fields of engineering like aeronautics and chemical engineering require that you go through extensive training and study which you cannot find outside the school walls.

Moreso, to be licensed as a professional engineer, you need a degree in any engineering field. Another thing is earning a degree can help you land jobs faster, get better pay, more work opportunities, and professional promotions.

However, if you wish to become an engineer without a degree, there are many avenues to learn and develop your skills. You could take online courses, attend workshops, or even take on an apprenticeship to learn an engineer vocation.

If you work hard to gain a high level of proficiency in software engineering, and electrical engineering, among others then you can succeed even without a degree. Nonetheless, don’t ignore earning a bachelor’s degree because of the many advantages it brings.

SEE: What Does Graduate Degree Mean

How to become an engineer without a degree

Although you don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree to become an engineer, you need to graduate from high school at least.

Then other ways you could learn to become an engineer include:

  • Taking an online course
  • Enrolling as an apprentice with an expert engineer
  • Learning from YouTube
  • Applying for engineering roles that do not require a degree

SEE: Can You Get A Bachelor’s Degree Online

What engineering jobs can you do without a degree?

Here are some of the engineering fields that you practice without a degree:

1. Software Engineer

These are engineers that apply engineering concepts in designing, developing, testing, and maintaining computer software. Thanks to the Internet and technology, you can learn software engineering skills online.

Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and Udacity have courses lined up for you to take advantage of. YouTube is also a great place to hone your skills.

Another way is to look out for boot camps designed for software engineers and techies or even pay an expert to teach you all you need to know.

SEE: Do You Need A Degree To Be A Software Engineer

2. Electrical Engineer

Electrical engineers use their knowledge to design, manufacture, and maintain equipment that uses electricity.

They design and repair all sorts of equipment including power generation equipment, telecommunication systems, and household appliances.

Without a degree, you could work as an electrical technician and make money by helping people with the lighting and wiring of their houses.

3. Sales Engineer

A sales engineer is someone who pitches tech products and services to prospects in an appealing way. They are skilled in communication and marketing and help organizations close more deals through that.

With a diploma in sales and marketing and knowledge of tech, you can apply for entry-level roles in organizations. Once you get lots of experience on your belt you can land better sales engineering jobs.

SEE: What Is A Solutions Engineer?

Can you be called an engineer without a degree?

Just like doctors or lawyers, professional engineers have to earn their title through training and necessary certifications.

In every engineering field where human life is at stake, you need some form of certification to practice as an engineer. For instance, civil engineering can be risky because of the type of structures and buildings they work on.

However, if you work as a software engineer or sales engineer you do not need certification for the title of an engineer.

Can you get a PE license without a degree?

In countries like the US and UK, a bachelor’s degree is one of the prerequisites for getting a PE license. This is because many fields of engineering can be risky as such require safety measures.

For them, getting trained in college or university would help you get proper knowledge of how to operate as an engineer. However, the rules differ by location.

So, you may be lucky to be in a location where a bachelor’s degree isn’t paramount for getting certified as a professional engineer.

SEE: Differences and Similarities Between Mechanical Engineering And Computer Science

What does it take to become an engineer?

First to become an engineer you need to identify what field of engineering you’d love to focus on. This way you can know what course to apply for in a college or the university.

Secondly, there are certain things you need to be successful in engineering. One of such is proficiency in mathematics and sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, and other related sciences.

These subjects are used within the engineering design process to address problems, find solutions, and develop products that solve a need.

Furthermore, you need a highly analytical and creative mind as you may have to work in a fast-paced environment. Good communication skills are also required especially if you’re working in a team.

But, if you lack most of these qualities or if you do not love to build or find solutions to problems, then engineering may not be the best career for you to venture into.

Keep in mind that most employers conduct assessments and interviews to select the right candidate for their organization. That said, The Hogan Assessment is a popular test during the hiring process.

It’s an assessment that tests your thinking and cognitive abilities as well as your personality. It is a test that predicts your performance on the job. And passing it may qualify you for the job.

SEE: What to Do with a Degree in Computer Science

What soft skills do engineers require?

Engineers do not need only technical or hard skills to thrive. You need soft skills in the same measure also. Some soft skills you’d find very helpful as an engineer include:

  • Strong communication skills for meetings and solid presentations
  • Problem-solving skills such as creativity, critical thinking, and innovativeness to tackle problems
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and under pressure
  • Teamwork ability for working with others on big projects
  • Time management for meeting deadlines and increasing productivity

Whether you’re a degree holder or not, there are a lot of soft skills that would help you thrive as an engineer. So, you should always be intentional about improving yourself always.

SEE: Crucial Soft Skills Every Professional Needs


What is the hardest engineering major?

Some of the hardest engineering majors include chemical, aeronautical, and petroleum engineering.

What is the difference between an engineer and a professional engineer?

A professional engineer has a bachelor’s degree and legal license while an engineer may not.

How much can you earn as an engineer?

You can make between $87,620 as an environmental engineer to $137,300 as a petroleum engineer annually.

Is becoming an engineer worth it?

Certainly. Although becoming an engineer can be hard, it is a career that brings many benefits.

By studying to become an engineer you build tenacity and acquire knowledge to solve problems. Also, the pay benefits for engineers compensate for the rigor you face while studying to become one.

You can even go ahead to become a computer engineer like Larry Page to build a global product like Google and make so much money. On the other hand, Bill Gates was a Harvard dropout but he owns Microsoft today.

Finally, if you feel like engineering is too difficult for you, you can learn to become a personal trainer without a degree or see what you can do with a business degree.

I hope this article helped you.

Thanks for reading.