Become a Military Engineer: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Military engineers are responsible for building, maintaining, controlling and sometimes destroying structures and vehicles used for military operations. There are many different kinds of military engineers based with different branches of the armed forces. Often, an engineer conducts specific types of combat operations such as demolitions, road construction or power generation. Depending on the military branch and type of engineering, certification and higher education may be necessary.

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Four Steps to Become a Military Engineer

Step One: Earn a Bachelor's Degree in an Area of Engineering from a ABET Accredited School

The Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology (ABET) recognizes many engineering programs that meet the requirements for a military engineer in all branches of the armed forces. Mechanical, electrical, civil or industrial engineering are all possible choices for a military engineer. Frequently, ABET accredited engineering degrees consist of four-year intensive programs centered on mathematics, physics and technical writing.

Step Two: Get Appropriately Licensed

While not all military positions require licensing, professional engineering designations may improve employment in higher ranking positions. Frequently, graduates become professional engineers (PEs). The first step to becoming a PE involves passing the Fundamentals of Engineering test via the NCEES (National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying) agency. Aspiring engineers must then develop at least four years of work experience before they are eligible for taking the PE test.

Step Three: Gain Experience Working As an Engineer and Finish the PE Licensing

There are many different work opportunities for future military engineers. Engineering organizations and educational institutions may offer work for entry-level engineers. Organizations like the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) offer internship programs for students in certain areas of engineering. Educational institutions may offer internships and jobs for engineers that focus on working for a private company as an employee.

With at least four years of experience, military engineers may take the PE exam. The test involves using and relating skills gained from work in solving problems. Engineers who pass the PE exam are fully certified professional engineers and can work for the public and make bids on certain government contracts.

Step Four: Become an Engineering Officer in the Armed Forces.

Aspiring military engineers often need some qualifications beyond general engineering education and work experience. For instance, engineering officers going into the US Army Corps of Engineers need to pass physical examinations and pass the Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC). Tests like the BOLC are required because in some instances officers oversee many enlisted engineers in completing tasks and combat operations. Many tasks military engineers complete are for combat operations, but a significant percentage are civilian projects such as dam building, power allocation and bridge building.

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