• Question: How long did it take you to be an engineer?

    Asked by nancy on 4 May 2020.
    • Photo: Heather Lamming

      Heather Lamming answered on 4 May 2020:


      I went to University to do an undergraduate degree so that I could become an engineer and that took me 4 years to complete the degree but before that I needed A-levels so I could do a degree and they took 2 years to do so I guess that means in total it took me 6 years to become an engineer.

    • Photo: Sean Creed

      Sean Creed answered on 4 May 2020: last edited 4 May 2020 8:28 am


      I studied Mechanical Engineering at University. Personally I did a Masters course (4 Years) with a extra year out working In Industry added after year 2. So 5 years total at university. Some of my friends did a Bachelors course (3 Years). So with the option of a year out or not it ranges from 3-5 years at University typically. Following this there are always options for more University study (PhD typically 3-4 years extra). Personal preference as most non research based jobs do not require this.

    • Photo: Rob Husband

      Rob Husband answered on 4 May 2020: last edited 4 May 2020 1:43 pm


      If we start from A-Levels which was when i choose relevant subjects to Engineering, that would be 2 years. Then i studied Electronic Engineering at University for 4 years with a year as an intern at Siemens (where i now work). So in all 6 years.

      If you take the apprenticeship route from A-levels, it would be much quicker. 2 years of A-Levels and then straight into work as an Engineering apprentice.

    • Photo: Garrick Simpson

      Garrick Simpson answered on 4 May 2020:


      I started off as an apprentice and then slowly progressed over a few years to an engineer level. I think it was around 7 years from starting an apprenticeship to becoming an engineer

    • Photo: Nicholas Smith

      Nicholas Smith answered on 4 May 2020: last edited 4 May 2020 8:53 am


      There are different pathways to become an engineer and I have many colleagues who have unique journeys. I studied in Scotland and applied to University after taking Highers & Advanced Highers at High School in Maths, Physics, Technological Studies and Chemistry. This was two years of study. I then attended the University of Edinburgh to study for a Masters degree is Mechanical Engineering. This took 5 years and included a mix of working in industry, studying engineering principals and learning practically.

    • Photo: Amira Tamam

      Amira Tamam answered on 4 May 2020: last edited 4 May 2020 8:52 am


      I started by enrolling into a technical and vocational college, which took two years, and then I did my university degree which took 5 years.

    • Photo: Leah Edwards

      Leah Edwards answered on 4 May 2020:


      When I was 18 I did a ‘Year in Industry’ (working gap year) as a junior design engineer at a company. So in some ways, no time at all!

      Then I went to university to study engineering. Some of my friends graduated as engineers in 3 years, but I chose to take a 5 year course, because I loved it so much! During this time I got to study in Singapore for 5 months, and try out a job for a year while studying.

      Apprenticeships are another great option, be sure to check those out too!

    • Photo: Frances Askill-Kirk

      Frances Askill-Kirk answered on 4 May 2020:


      4 year higher apprenticeship (Finished with a HNC)
      3 year BEng degree (still in process to finish in 2022)

      From a more philosophical perspective – an engineer by definition is someone who has solved a problem or developed a new solution. I have been in an engineering role for over 4 years now, but I wouldn’t consider myself a fully fledged engineer until the parts I have designed have been;
      1. tested
      2. validated
      3. proven to work as intended.

      But that is my personal goal!!

    • Photo: Tom Stewart-Brackenridge

      Tom Stewart-Brackenridge answered on 4 May 2020:


      It took me 6 years from GCSE to degree qualified to get to where I am today. I started at sixth form/college at 16 doing a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Engineering, then I went to study 1 year for an HNC in Engineering, then another year for an HND in Engineering. Finally, a top-up on my HND to a BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering at 22.

    • Photo: Katie Sparks

      Katie Sparks answered on 4 May 2020:


      It took me quite a long time, but mainly because I didn’t know that engineering was something I was interested in.
      I did all science and maths for my A levels, then Physics for my degree.
      After that, I did lots of different jobs whilst I worked out what I did want to do (for around 4 years). Once I worked out that engineering was for me, I decided to do a Masters (a one year university course) in engineering, to help me translate my physics and also as it’d been a while since I’d been doing anything technical.
      From there, I applied to a graduate scheme in an engineering company – so I guess I was an engineer officially from then, but there are all sorts of levels of engineers.
      If I’d known more beforehand, I could’ve got to engineering within 3-4 years of school. Or even straight from school if I had chosen an apprenticeship!
      There are no fixed routes and I think it is important to find a route that works for you, allowing you to explore the different things you’re interested in, what you enjoy and what you’re good at.

    • Photo: George McIntyre

      George McIntyre answered on 4 May 2020:


      I guess I started at A-levels when I figured out i wanted to become an engineer. From there I completed a Year In Industry to confirm i wanted to be an engineer. Then I went to university for 4 years to study engineering. So from A-levels it took 5 years. It can be as little as 3 years if you go to university and study a bachelors degree.

    • Photo: Rohin Titmarsh

      Rohin Titmarsh answered on 4 May 2020:


      I was at University for 3 years doing my undergraduate, and I did a placement year at a company in between my second and third year to get experience. After these 4 years I went to do a graduate scheme at the same company I did my placement year. I then moved to work in research at the University of Warwick. While I’ve been working I’ve been doing a masters degree which took me 3 years. So to become an entry level engineer its taken me 4 years, to become a more experienced engineer it’s taken me 6.

    • Photo: Nicola Grahamslaw

      Nicola Grahamslaw answered on 4 May 2020:


      I think it varies depending on what training you do! You could do an apprenticeship and be an engineer right from day 1! That’s what my cousin is doing. Or you could do A-levels, go to uni for either 3-5 years or even longer if you did a PhD. I did a 4 year uni course but I did summer internships in between each year and I was doing real engineering work, so I was sort-of an engineer at age 19, but then a “real” engineer at age 22.

    • Photo: Emma Bould

      Emma Bould answered on 4 May 2020: last edited 4 May 2020 10:13 am


      Hi Nancy

      My study took me 4 years at university. We have apprentices here, who also take 4 years to train, so that’s probably a good amount of time to do the learning part. Actually becoming an engineer is about applying that learning to real life, so you could say it’s a life long thing. I became a Chartered Engineer about 5 years after graduating, which is an assessment of the projects and work you have applied your knowledge to and also about showing you understand the important responsibilities that engineers have for Safety and the Environment.

      It’s been more than 15 years now since I finished university, and I was recently recognised as an Engineering Fellow….. so you never stop learning and Engineering has plenty of scope to keep you interested and busy!

    • Photo: Sophie Louth

      Sophie Louth answered on 4 May 2020:


      I studied engineering at University which took me four years. But I worked a summer at an engineering firm after my second year which showed me I was already thinking like an engineer even before I finished my degree.

    • Photo: David Linsell

      David Linsell answered on 4 May 2020:


      My initial engineering training after A-Levels included a 3 Year Degree Course and 12 months post degree ‘apprenticeship’ graduate training. But that was merely the start. After my first two years as a sea going engineer I returned to college for an MSc course.
      But one is learning continuously. I am now dealing with systems, particularly electronic controls, that were not even imagined when I was doing my first degree.

    • Photo: Ed Chester

      Ed Chester answered on 4 May 2020:


      I have 2 answers to this. One is that I was always an engineer, even as a child.
      The other is that I became a Chartered Engineer only in 2014, after almost 2 decades of being a professional engineer. I suppose I have a third answer, which is that I properly chose to change myself into an engineer after I graduated from Physics and knew that I was not a physicist!

    • Photo: Helen Taylor

      Helen Taylor answered on 4 May 2020:


      I studied for four years to do a Master’s degree. I also did a year’s placement.

    • Photo: Chris Dobson

      Chris Dobson answered on 4 May 2020:


      So after I left school I stayed on for 2 years of A-Levels, then I went to university and did a 4 year Masters (MEng) course in Aerospace Engineering. That said it was possible to come away with a Bachelors degree (BEng) in 3 years.

    • Photo: Owen Jeffreys

      Owen Jeffreys answered on 4 May 2020:


      There are many different ways to become an engineer, so this is just my story:
      I started being interested in engineering way before college and university, building kits and inventing things in my evenings and weekends. After school I went to college for 2 years and studied general engineering. Then I studied Electronic and Software Engineering at University part-time for 5 years whilst working for an engineering company. Now I have my degree, but that is not the end of my training. Engineering is evolving all the time, new things are being invented, technology is getting better, and there are always so many more things to learn. Everyday I learn new and better ways to do my job and there are always more training courses to complete to become a specialist in an area.

    • Photo: Rhys Edwards

      Rhys Edwards answered on 5 May 2020:


      It was around seven years from finishing A-levels to becoming a Chartered Engineer. 4 years for my first degree, 1 for my second with the rest of the time spent as a trainee with my current employer.

    • Photo: Juan Carlos Fallas-Chinchilla

      Juan Carlos Fallas-Chinchilla answered on 5 May 2020: last edited 5 May 2020 9:10 am


      Hi there,

      Different programs and countries have different approaches.

      My undergrad BEng + Lic. phil. was 5 years, this can be compared with the length of an MEng degree here in the UK. I did a year in industry and worked for a couple of years after my undergrad degree, then I did a Master of Science degree which took me nearly 2 years. After that I worked for a couple of years and got Chartered in the UK.

      Then I decided to do a PhD degree which took 4 years. As already mentioned, this was a personal choice as people can start working as engineers after completing an undergraduate degree.

    • Photo: Martin McKie

      Martin McKie answered on 5 May 2020:


      From 16:

      I did a 2 years BTEC National Diploma in Engineering

      I then went to University to do a BEng (Hons) in Engineering – 4 years
      I did an additional year to do MSc in Advanced Manufacturing Systems

      I then started working as an Engineer at 22 in a cast metal company.

      Since then I have worked in different companies, in different roles and achieved a PhD which took 7 years part time.

      Basically if you want to become an engineer it is very diverse and they’re lots of different industries to work in, lots of job prospects and you never stop learning new things.

    • Photo: Charles Sparey

      Charles Sparey answered on 5 May 2020:


      After leaving school, I took a year out as a student engineer learning some of the practical technician skills useful in both the workshop and design centre. I then spent four years at University studying engineering, specializing in electronics and communications, before starting my career as a radio design engineer. That said, that was not the end of studying and learning. Throughout life there are always new things to learn, experience and ultimately use, and engineering practice is no exception.

    • Photo: K-Jo O'Flynn

      K-Jo O'Flynn answered on 5 May 2020:


      I am no win my third year of my apprenticeship. I will have one more year until I am fully qualified and then I can keep going if I want further education. I started being an engineer when I was 16:D

    • Photo: Conrad Manning

      Conrad Manning answered on 6 May 2020:


      Depends on what you call an engineer? I’ve been mucking around with building/designing things since I was at primary school (and if you ask my parents dismantling things from an earlier age)… Officially though following secondary school then college I spent 4 years studying at University to get a Masters in Engineering and now working to become a chartered engineer

    • Photo: Matthew Burgess

      Matthew Burgess answered on 7 May 2020:


      After 2 years of A-levels, I received my degree after 4 years of uni (1 of them was working in the industry), at this point I was a “Graduate Engineer” (although I dropped the “Graduate” from my emails to get better responses). Now at the start of 2020 I began as a proper – full on – engineer.

    • Photo: Martyn Brown

      Martyn Brown answered on 9 May 2020:


      2 years completing a BTEC National Diploma in Engineering.
      4 years to completed a BEng in Electronics Engineering which included an industrial placement year (would highly recommend completing one as it enables you to obtain a year within industry and for me I was offered a job)

      Total 6 years to become a competent engineer.

    • Photo: Colin Donaldson

      Colin Donaldson answered on 11 May 2020:


      I went to University to do a Masters degree to become an engineer which took 5 years. This included taking a year out to work in industry, where I earned money and had the opportunity to work in China. Since I finished university I undertook a 2 year graduate scheme and I am now working towards my Chartered Engineering status alongside my day-to-day work.

    • Photo: Tom Rooney

      Tom Rooney answered on 12 May 2020:


      I think I’ve always been an engineer… I used to take things apart as a child to see how it worked, and occasionally I would put it back together in working order again 😀
      But it took 4 years to become a “qualified” engineer via an apprenticeship.

    • Photo: Simon Porter

      Simon Porter answered on 13 May 2020:


      From my point of view I’ve always been an engineer, because engineering is all about your approach to problem solving, which develops naturally as you grow up.
      I hold the professional title of Incorporated Engineer with the Insitute of Mechanical Engineering (I can use the letters IEng MIMechE after my name) which has taken me a while to achieve, but it is not something all engineers need or want to go through.
      I got my first engineering job as a graduate from university, that was in 2007. To get there I had to finish school, study my A-levels, complete a Foundation Year at University, then my Batchelors Degree – including a year in industry – then I took some time out and worked in a ski chalet for a while… My route from finishing school to working in a full-time engineering position (that wasn’t a placement) took roughly 9 years. However, that’s not necessarily a typical route, and engineering is not all about a job title…!

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