*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Industrial Engineers, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/industrial-engineers.htm (visited March 24, 2022).
The Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering is a four-year degree program at most schools and colleges. Some schools offer a combination of the bachelor of science and the master of science degrees. The curriculum may easily extend to five years to accommodate internships and other types of practical and supervised work experience. When attending on a part-time basis, online students may take longer than four years, and this may be the best balance between education, employment, business obligations, or other situations.
Online students may be able to shorten the time required by taking an additional course each semester and adding courses during the summer recess. Some online schools may reduce required and general education courses by competency testing.
The costs of a four-year degree include tuition, room and board, books, and incidental expenses. The annual total of these expenses can be multiplied by four to estimate the total cost range for a four-year engineering degree. Additionally, the estimate should consider the differences in price and fee structure for private colleges and universities versus their public counterparts. Public schools also charge different rates for in-state students than for out-of-state students.
The cost ranges for a four-year systems engineering bachelor’s degree range from $85- $195,000. When adding room and board, tuition, books, and incidental expenses, the average is the range of $190,000 for private schools, $160,000 at public schools for out-of-state students, and approximately $85,000 for in-state students at public schools.
Systems engineering is a multidisciplinary form of engineering. The systems engineering degree program may often co-exist with industrial engineering or engineering management. Because schools often use different labels, students must examine the course content and expected results to determine if the program meets their expectations.
Systems engineers are at the center of successful computer-based management systems. They must analyze the potential complexity and the risks. From concept, design, to architecture, systems engineers must analyze and test systems to determine that they achieve their intended goals. These talented professionals must be able to understand customer needs and provide a product that works well for the end-user.
The national trend has moved significantly towards longer terms of undergraduate attendance. As students reduce semester loads and attend part-time in higher numbers, the average on-time graduation rate has shifted to 150% of the on-time mark. This means that many students aren’t graduating until their sixth year.
Accreditation is essential to the value of a degree and college-level coursework.
Accredited schools and programs provide value not found in non-accredited education. University HQ recommends that students carefully assess the accreditation status of any school they might select. Regional or national accreditation of the entire school is an excellent first step in the search.
Federal student financial aid depends on accreditation. Schools may not participate in federal student loans programs unless accredited by an authorized accreditation agency. Every accreditation is not acceptable to the federal student loan program. Students can determine appropriate national and regional accreditation at the Department of Education College Scorecard website.
The ABET is a leading program accreditation agency for engineering and computer science-based fields of study. An ideal combination for system engineer studies is an ABET program certification and regional accreditation of the entire institution.
The reputation and respect given the program in the business and educational communities is a factor in the value of a degree. Among the factors that support reputation are the graduation rates and the success rates of graduates in getting high paying jobs in their fields. In the field of system engineering, there are fewer traditional factors in play. The entire field is relatively new and it is growing as innovation drives greater complexity into government and business systems.
University HQ places priority on job placement and career assistance. The school and the entire community of alumni, business partners, supporters, and affiliates can help students find jobs and career opportunities. University HQ suggests students examine the level of resources that the school provides for career counseling, internships, jobs, and interview preparation.
Schools with high rates of graduate success often have extensive programs to reach out to employers and support a vigorous level of recruitment at the school. The system engineering occupation has excellent prospects for growth and higher employment levels. An extensive job placement and assistance program can help students reach their potential.
Rankings can affect salary is some indirect ways. High rankings can open the range of employers that recruit from a given school. High rankings also reflect factors of concern to employers. For example, many rankings emphasize graduate success, graduation rates, and retention rates. To many employers, signs of high-quality education include grads find high paying jobs, high rates of on-time graduations, and low drop-out rates.
Rankings should not replace the primary reasons to select schools such as accreditation, a well-suited faculty for system engineering, and a learning environment that suits your preferences. Rankings are not good predictors of the student experience, and student success is more important to the career path than school rankings. When a selection process yields two or more seemingly equal choices, then students can safely give more weight to rankings as a decision factor.
University HQ recommends selecting an accredited school and an accredited engineering program. The best advantages come with ABET-accredited engineering programs at a regionally accredited college or university. Credit hours earned at such institutions will have universal acceptance. Employers can rely upon this accreditation as assurance of high-quality education. Financing can depend on accreditation. Many scholarships ask for attendance at accredited schools. Some engineering scholarships specifically request ABET-accredited programs.