What is the future of engineering technology?

Patricia Fox, Brandon Sorge, Martin E. Gordon, Scott Danielson, Ronald Land, I. Richmond Nettey, Thomas J. Perry, Kim W. Gaines, John Irwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In the United States, engineering technology (ET) education is offered via two-and four-year degree programs at both public and private institutions. Many ET programs, principally at the four-year level, are accredited by ABET, the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE), or other accrediting bodies while some are not. Both two-and four-year ET programs educate students in a hands-on manner for careers in the engineering profession. Generally speaking, two-year ET programs in multiple engineering fields prepare engineering technology students to work as technicians and engineering assistants. Four-year ET programs, especially accredited programs, educate students to work as engineers in a variety of engineering positions. While engineering technology enrollment is about one-third the size of the related engineering program enrollment in the U.S., ET provides an important pathway for filling the spectrum of engineering positions in businesses, industry, and government. An important aspect of engineering technology education is that it at-tracts students who prefer to learn from an experiential approach rather than a theoretical one. Engineering technology education pedagogy heavily relies on hands-on laboratories and application approach work as a large component of a student’s ET education. New and old engineering technology education leaders have a significant influence on how ET education continues to evolve and provide graduates with the contemporary and industry-valued, knowledge, skills and abilities that are needed to be successful in today’s engineering professions. Engineering technology leaders are defined for the purpose of this paper as program directors, chairs, and deans, or academic program heads who hold similar titles with engineering technology as part of their portfolio of academic programs. To assist with the preparation of a 2019 Engineering Technology Leaders Institute (ETLI), a panel session featuring six ET leaders was organized to focus on the question of what is, or should be, the future of ET over the next 10 years and beyond. The session committee surveyed ET leaders via several ET listservs. Data from the ET leaders survey provided background information to help initiate the discussion questions and who should rep-resent ET leaders on the ETLI panel session. The background data in the survey included opinions on top issues and concerns as well as ET leaders perceived opportunities and threats to engineering technology programs. Summaries of the panelists’ comments from the ETLI session and the ET leaders survey data are presented in the body of this paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-59
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Engineering Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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