Professional Engineering 101

Professional engineering is the creative application of scientific principles to design, develop or model physical systems, such as structures, machines, processes, and devices.

Professional engineers lead the way in innovation by developing better infrastructure, creating smarter technologies, discovering renewable energy sources, and designing more environmentally friendly materials and practices.

If you enjoy problem-solving, thrive in science and mathematics, and want to make a positive difference to the world, engineering at Waikato is your home.

Engineer vs Technologist vs Technician - What's the difference?

At Waikato, we offer the BE(Hons) accredited based on the Washington Accord - the gold standard of engineering.

Find out the difference between different "engineering" degrees and where they can lead.

  Professional Engineer Engineering Technologist Engineering Technician
Degree BE(Hons) BEngTech DipEng
Length 4-years 3-years 2-years
Typical entry requirement University Entry
+ 16 credits in Level 3 Calculus
+ 14 credits in Level 3 Physics
University Entry
(inc. Level 3 Maths as a subject)
+ 14 Level 2 credits in Physics
No University Entry
NCEA Level 2
(inc. maths as a subject)
Accreditation Washington Accord Sydney Accord Dublin Accord
Meets requirement for CPEng (Chartered Professional Engineer) in NZ Yes No No
Problems able to be solved Complex problems with no obvious solution, requiring in-depth analysis and thinking Standard problems solved by application of well-proven analysis techniques Well-known problems solved in standardised ways
Level of innovation Creative use of engineering principles and research-based knowledge in novel ways Use of new materials, techniques or
processes in non-standard ways
Use of existing materials, techniques, or processes in modified ways

Careers in Professional Engineering

Professional engineers enjoy competitive salaries. An Engineering New Zealand survey found that in 2019 the median salary for new graduates is $60,000 and with 4 years’ experience is $71,000. For full-time Chartered Engineers (CPEng), the median salary was $110,000.

  • Agricultural engineer
  • Automation engineer
  • Biochemical engineer
  • Chemical engineer
  • Civil engineer
  • Electrical engineer
  • Electronic engineer
  • Environmental engineer
  • Food engineer
  • Materials engineer
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Mechatronic engineer
  • Process engineer
  • Product Design engineer
  • Software engineer
  • Systems engineer

  • Read some of our student success stories here