How to become an engineer

If you're considering engineering as a future career, it's a good idea to leave your options open by choosing relevant subjects. Studying science and maths – especially physics – will give you a great start for pretty much any career you want to go into, including engineering. 

Design & technology, IT, computing, electronics, construction, art and geography could also help, depending on the type of engineering you want to go into, e.g. biomedical engineering, aerospace engineering or software engineering – there are lots of different types of engineering to choose from. Find out more by downloading our From Idea to Career booklet

There are different routes into engineering, so you can choose the combination that best suits you. 





Apprenticeships allow you to earn money, combining on-the-job training with study. They can open doors to a wide variety of engineering jobs and can be taken at different levels, including intermediate, higher and degree apprenticeships. You will generally need a minimum of five GCSEs (or equivalent) including English, maths and science or technology subjects, often at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) due to competition for places.

For more information on apprenticeships, visit our apprenticeships page.

Vocational quallifications

Known as Tech levels or T-levels, these include qualifications such as BTECs and NVQs in engineering, ICT and construction & the built environment. Vocational courses prepare you for a particular job, industry or sector. They are often very practical and may include coursework assignments related to real-work scenarios, as well as links with employers. Vocational courses are offered at different levels and can lead onto apprenticeships, higher education (university) and employment. For more information, have a look at our vocational routes booklet.


After completing your A-Levels, T-levels, IB, Highers, BTEC Level 3 or equivalent, you may decide to go on to study engineering at university. 

Degree courses (BEng) normally last for 3 or 4 years while Masters courses (MEng) last for 4 or 5 years. Some courses involve a year working in industry or a year abroad. Students can take a ‘general engineering’ degree or they might decide on a particular type of engineering, for example civil engineering, electronic engineering, design engineering, mechanical engineering or one of the many other types of engineering.

You normally need to have studied maths and physics (or chemistry for chemical and biomedical engineering), or a related vocational course to Level 3, in order to apply to engineering degrees at university. For more information on university as a route, please visit our university page.