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Frequently Asked Questions

(revised June 10, 2011)

Does Metropolitan State University of Denver offer Engineering? – Yes, MSU Denver offers a form of engineering called Engineering Technology.  Four-year Bachelor of Science Engineering Technology degrees are available in Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical.

What is the difference between Engineering Technology and Engineering? – The engineering technology degree is a hands-on, applications oriented method of applied engineering that is primarily aimed at the work force to fit between an Engineer and a Technician, whereas the engineering degree is more of a theory and research oriented degree.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (1998) wrote the following about the difference:

Engineer vs. Engineering Technology

"In addition to the standard engineering degree, many colleges offer degrees in engineering technology, which are offered as either 2- or 4-year programs. These programs prepare students for practical design and production work rather than for jobs that require more theoretical, scientific and mathematical knowledge. Graduates of 4-year technology programs may get jobs similar to those obtained by graduates with a bachelor's degree in engineering. Some employers regard them as having skills between those of a technician and an engineer."

"Many 4-year colleges offer bachelor's degrees in engineering technology, but graduates of these programs are often hired to work as technologists or applied engineers, not technicians."

We would recommend this article to read "Engineering Technologist Are Engineers" by Ronald E Lund published in the Journal of Engineering Technology.

How do I decide which degree is right for me, Engineering or Engineering Technology?

  1. Research the various degree options that are available.
  2. Ask questions of different schools.
  3. Ask if they have any alumni or industry contacts that you can talk to.
  4. Some students find out that they want to switch degrees after they have started the program. The later you switch the harder it becomes.

I am interested in computers, what forms of degrees are available? – The college has several degree programs in Computers, some of which are: Computer Information Systems (CIS) from the School of Business, Computer Science (CS) from the School of Arts and Letters, Electrical Engineering Technology with a Computer Engineering Technology Concentration which is part of the School of Professional Studies. Available through MSU Denver’s Individualized Degree Program (IDP) is a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering Technology which is not ABET accredited.

I am interested in a second degree. Do I have to take all the classes listed as required? – No, in fact many first four-year degrees satisfy the general studies requirements of the college.  Exceptions tend to occur in the general college requirements areas of: a three-credit multicultural requirement (many four-year degrees do not require a multicultural course) and the senior experience requirement (which must be taken in residency at MSU Denver).  If the student in their first degree meets the Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and other requirements, a second degree can be met in a minimum amount of time.  An advisor can work out with the student which classes they will need for a second degree.  The student must keep in mind we still must maintain standards that are set by our ETAC of ABET accreditation and the college.

What is ABET accreditation? – To quote ABET, Inc.:

"In the United States, accreditation is a non-governmental, peer review process that ensures educational quality. Educational institutions or programs volunteer to periodically undergo this review to determine if minimum criteria are being met. Accreditation verifies that an institution or program meets the criteria, ensuring a quality educational experience."

There are two types of accreditation: institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditation evaluates overall institutional quality. Regional accreditation of institutions is one form of this. Specialized accreditation, however, examines specific programs of study to determine if graduates are prepared to enter the profession. This type of accreditation is granted to specific programs at specific levels. Programs of architecture, nursing, law, medicine and engineering are often evaluated through this type of accreditation. In the United States, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is responsible for the specialized accreditation of educational programs in engineering, engineering technology and engineering-related fields. Programs either receive accreditation or are denied, but they are not ranked.

ABET began in 1932 as the Engineers' Council for Professional Development (ECPD) and was formed to promote the status of the engineering profession and enhance the quality of engineering education. In 1980, the ECPD became the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, focusing its efforts on the accreditation of educational programs.

ABET now accredits some 2,300 engineering, engineering technology and engineering-related educational programs at over 500 colleges and universities in the U.S. ABET is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) for its responsibility in these areas. In 1997, ABET expanded its mission to include the accreditation of applied science programs.

ABET is a federation of 31 professional engineering and technical societies. Representatives from these societies, who are practicing professionals from industry and academe, form the body of ABET through its Board of Directors and four working Commissions:

  • Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)
  • Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC)
  • Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC)
  • Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC)

The ABET Board of Directors sets policy and approves accreditation criteria while the Commissions implement accreditation procedures and decisions. The active participation of practicing professionals allows accreditation to reflect standards set by the profession itself. This approach provides a better-prepared graduate, which ultimately translates into a valuable employee.

Why is accreditation important?

Accreditation helps many people make important decisions about education including:

  • Students choosing an educational program
  • Parents seeking assurance of a quality education
  • Institutions seeking to improve the education provided by their programs
  • Employers recruiting well-prepared graduates
  • State registration, licensure and certification boards screening applicants for entry into professional practice
  • Industry seeking to voice educational needs to institutions"

What degrees are ABET accredited at MSU Denver? – Only Five: Civil Engineering Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, and Mechanical Engineering Technology programs are accredited by the ABET Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC).Computer Information Systems, and Computer Science Program are accredited by the ABET Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC). ABET, Inc., 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202, Telephone: (410) 347-7700. ABET, Inc. was formally known as Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

What are the pay differences between Engineering and Engineering Technology? – In the early 1990’s the pay differences started to disappear as the demand for engineers grew.  Our Engineering Technology grads now make about the same as Engineers.  While in the 1980’s the pay difference was about $5,000.00 less to start and any pay difference disappearing after five years experience.

What is the demand for engineers? – According to the Occupational Employment Statistics from Bureau of Labor Statistics over the period 2008-2018:

  • Civil Engineering a 24.3% growth
  • Mechanical Engineering a 6% growth
  • Computer Hardware Engineering a 3.8% growth
  • Electrical Engineering a 1.7% growth
  • Electronics Engineers, Except Computer a 0.3% growth

What are the salaries (pay) like? – From the Wage Occupational Employment Statistics Survey Data for 2010 in Colorado, Source CO LMI, OES.  National data Source BLS.

Occupational Title

Colo. Entry Level

Colo. Mean

Colo. Median

Colo. Experienced

National Hourly Mean

Civil Engineers






Computer Hardware Engineers






Electrical Engineers






Electronics Engineers, Except Computer






Mechanical Engineers









Occupational Title

Colo. Entry Level

Colo. Mean

Colo. Median

Colo. Experienced

National Annual Mean

Civil Engineers






Computer Hardware Engineers






Electrical Engineers






Electronics Engineers, Except Computer






Mechanical Engineers






Can I become a licensed Professional Engineer with an engineering technology degree? – Yes, Colorado law and the Colorado State Board of Licensure for Architects, Professional Engineers, and Professional Land Surveyors rules allows graduates of an Engineering Technology program that is ABET accredited to sit for the EI and PE exams.  When PE or EI is the goal of the student we might recommend an engineering degree program based on that students needs.  Certainly the Engineering Technology student should select all electives courses taken with regard to suitability as possible courses that might help passage of the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam.

Note: We used to display the State of Colorado Revised Statues and Board of Licensure rules as part of this answer on professional licensure.  Several changes have occurred in the Colorado Revised Statues and instead of maintaining our own listing we have decided that it is best to refer the student or perspective student to THE COLORADO STATE BOARD OF LICENSURE FOR ARCHITECTS, PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS, AND PROFESSIONAL LAND SURVEYORS.

For more information on professional licensure please check these sites: and

For professional licensure exam format:

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