The Department of Agricultural Engineering Technology in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences has a long standing, strong program in Agricultural Engineering Technology and a new program in Agricultural Engineering. The new program in Agricultural Engineering is part of the Northwest Wisconsin Engineering Consortium, a joint effort by UW-River Falls, UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout to bring a range of engineering programs to western and northern Wisconsin. Many UWRF agricultural engineering technology graduates are employed in this region by small and mid-size companies or local operations of national corporations. These same companies need professional engineers, but have difficulty attracting and retaining graduates of engineering programs from outside the region.
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What is the difference between Agricultural Engineering and Agricultural Engineering Technology?
Professional Engineering and Engineering Technology programs are separate but closely related programs. Professional engineering programs are more theoretical and focus on conceptual design requiring higher level math and calculus-based physics, while the engineering technology program is more practically-focused and spends more time on applied problem-solving and engineering. The professional engineering program is an ABET accredited program and graduates are eligible to become licensed Professional Engineers (PE).
The career paths of professional engineering and engineering technology graduates often intersect in related but different capacities. Many engineering applications have both professional engineers and engineering technologists working on the same project.
For example, professional engineers may design a machine, waterway or food processing line, while engineering technologists would work with the engineers, skilled trades and technicians to inspect, test, validate and/or commission the new device.