Types of Programs
Students who are interested in science, technology, engineering and math should understand the differences among these types of STEM-oriented programs:
Technician programs are vocational in nature and focus heavily on the development of hands-on skills. Technician-type programs usually are completed in two years and lead to an associate degree.
Engineering programs focus more on theory and conceptual design for the purpose of solving problems. They require multiple semesters of calculus and calculus-based science courses. The number of hands-on activities or lab-based courses is minimal in comparison to the other two types of programs. Engineering programs usually are completed in four (or more) years and lead to a bachelor’s degree.
- Engineering technology
Engineering technology programs, like the mechatronics engineering technology[LINK to MECH1.0] program at California University, strike a balance between theory and hands-on learning. These programs meet industry’s need for individuals who not only understand complex systems, but also know how to apply, modify and implement these systems. Students who complete Cal U’s four-year mechatronics engineering technology program earn a bachelor’s degree.