Welcome to Aboriginal Access to Engineering, Queen's University

FAQ

Education

Can I become an engineer without an accredited degree?

The simplest way to become a professional engineer is to graduate from an accredited undergraduate engineering program and meet your province's licensing requirements. It is, however, possible to become a professional engineer without an accredited degree. The qualifications vary from province to province, but generally the process involves writing a number of exams.

Do I have to have good marks in math and science to enter engineering?

Admissions to engineering programs are competitive; there are more applicants than spaces, so the better your grades are the better your chances of admittance. Generally, good to excellent grades are required. Usually, grades of 80% or more in math and sciences are needed for admission.

How long does it take to become an engineer?

The course leading to a Bachelor's degree in engineering lasts three and a half to four years. Some institutions offer a cooperative plan that allows study semesters to alternate with paid training in industry: these programs take an average of one year longer to complete. But graduating is just the first step. Like doctors and lawyers, engineers must spend a number of years earning their professional qualifications. Depending on the province they live in, candidates must complete three to four years of relevant engineering work experience, write and pass an examination on professional practice, ethics, engineering law and liability, and be proficient in English and/or French.

What is an accredited engineering program?

Accredited Canadian undergraduate programs are those that meet or exceed the educational standards required to obtain a professional engineering license in Canada. The curriculum content of each program is analyzed periodically (at least every six years) by a team of professional engineers in order to ensure that it meets the minimum criteria. The accreditation process is managed by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB), a body with the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (CCPE).

What is an internship program?

An internship is a work experience program within a student's field of study that lasts between 12 and 18 months (time varies in each institution). The difference between an internship and co-op is that while co-op involves working terms of 4-6 months spread out over an entire bachelor's degree, an internship is one long work-term which begins after the third year of study has been completed. Several Canadian engineering schools offer internships as an option for senior students.

What is co-operative education?

Co-operative Education is a three-way partnership between the university, the student and the employer. The common goal is to develop meaningful and relevant practical opportunities for students, while enriching both the classroom and workplace experience. Co-op education combines education at school and education in the workplace through alternate semesters of study and work. The work-term is designed to provide knowledge relevant to the student's academic discipline while the student is paid at a competitive rate. The classroom environment is then stimulated by questions formed in industry and brought back to school; everyone benefits. Co-op students tend to get more from their education and are likely to be more successful in securing employment in their field of study upon graduation. When co-op graduates apply for work, they are serious candidates for any position in their discipline because they have practical work experience. Many engineering schools and faculties in Canada offer co-op programs.

What is the difference between getting an engineering degree and getting an engineering technician's degree?

Bachelor degrees in engineering (B.Eng.) are granted to students upon completion of required course work at a university. Engineering technologists get diplomas/certificates and are generally taught at colleges. A bachelor's degree in engineering makes you eligible for professional licensing, while a technician's degree does not.

What other entrance requirements are there?

Generally speaking, a high school diploma with Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology is required or, in Quebec, a CEGEP diploma with a concentration in pure and applied or health sciences. Although not a requirement for admission into engineering, creativity, rigour, analytical thinking, adaptability, being comfortable with team work and an ability to communicate with others are also helpful qualities. In every case, it is a good idea to check with the educational institution or a guidance counselor about the qualifications necessary for applying to a specific school.

Visit our Education section to learn more about the academic requirements for entry into engineering.

General

Are there any Aboriginal engineers?

Yes! There are Aboriginal engineers in Canada, but not very many. In fact, there aren't even close to enough Native engineers to meet the engineering needs of their own communities. Aboriginal engineers work at big companies like Syncrude, Shell, Pratt & Whitney and the federal government. They also work for your local band council, treaty organization or public works department.

Meet some Aboriginal Engineers.

What does it mean to be a P.Eng?

Professional engineers are restricted by law to those who are qualified in terms of education and experience. Membership in the appropriate provincial or territorial association of professional engineering provides engineers with legal registration for the practice of engineering. Professional Engineering in each province or territory is legislated under an act of the provincial or territorial government. Professional engineers follow a code of professional conduct and ethics and a series of legal requirements which differ in each province and territory. They are permitted to use the designation P.Eng, or, in Quebec, ing., after their names.

What is engineering?

Engineers do so many things, this question could have a very long answer. Basically, engineers use concepts in math and science to solve problems creatively. They apply science, which is why engineering is often referred to as applied science. When you make toast in the morning, phone your friend or fly in a plane, you experience the work of engineers first-hand. Moon landings, cellular phones and satellites orbiting through space are possible because of engineers. Engineers are involved with the design, construction and operation of everything from razor blades and microchips to skyscrapers and bridges. Although technology is advancing rapidly, the underlying scientific theories and principles it is based on are constant. Aboriginal people have been practicing the art of engineering for thousands of years. Building igloos, designing irrigation systems and even traveling across harsh terrain, all require the application of scientific knowledge and, therefore, engineering.

What is the CCPE?

The Canadian Council of Professional Engineers is the national organization of 12 provincial and territorial associations that govern the practice of engineering in Canada and license more than 234,000 qualified professional engineers. The CCPE facilitates discussion and development of common admission and practice standards in the form of guidelines that are generally followed across the country. It also educates the public about the vital role engineers play in society and acts as an advocate to protect and represent the best interests of the public.

Why do most engineers in Canada wear a ring on their little finger?

The Iron Ring, is worn on the pinkie of the working hand and is the symbol of membership in the family of engineers. The Iron Ring ceremony is overseen by the Corporation of the Seven Wardens, which is independent of both the educational and licensing institutions. Engineers wear it in order to remind themselves that the work they do directly impacts the lives of people on a daily basis.

Work Related

Do engineers work with people?

Engineering is actually all about working with and for people. Engineers work for clients, usually in teams with other engineers. Engineers can work with biologists, chemists, city planners, geographers, architects, etc.... This interaction with other fields is absolutely necessary to develop complete solutions to large, complex problems.

What kind of jobs do engineers get?

Engineers get any number of different jobs. They can be involved in pure or applied research, planning, production, testing, procurement, maintenance, construction etc. in just about any company. Research engineers undertake detailed studies to develop and improve materials, products, techniques and processes. Design engineers prepare designs for the construction of machines, products and structures. Production engineers oversee the manufacture of raw materials into finished products. Test engineers determine life, wear and strength of materials and parts. Procurement engineers purchase materials, parts, supplies and service. Construction engineers direct the assembly and installation of structures such as water treatment plants. Computer design engineers design and build software, and produce and maintain equipment.

What would be my pay?

Salaries vary according to specialty and province. Starting salaries for engineers are generally greater than $35,000 per year. Salaries for practicing engineers in mid - to late - career range from $55,000 to over $100,000 per year.

Where do engineers work?

Just about anywhere! Engineers often work at their desks, in factories or in labs at research centres. Certain fields have special areas of work: mining engineers, for example, spend time underground; ocean engineers work in or near the sea; forestry engineers will spend most of their time outdoors.

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Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada

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