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Tacoma Community College » Areas of Study » College Transfer » Engineering » Why TCC Engineering?

Why TCC Engineering?

Take the path of the transfer students, who make up about half of all students graduating in engineering from universities in Washington state. The skills and concepts you develop and learn while earning an associate degree will prepare you to enter the junior year of an engineering program at a 4-year university.

Why TCC?

  • Develops successful students to become professional engineers.
  • Direct transfer agreements with universities for all engineering disciplines.
  • Study engineering using a diversity of learning styles.
  • Hands on activities that relate to real word experiences.
  • Extensive use of technology.
  • Develop skills needed for life long learning.
  • Small classes.
  • Supportive and accessible faculty.
  • Integrated program through cooperation of faculty in different disciplines.
  • Nationally recognized for development of design teams.
  • Award-winning campus club for outstanding involvement and support of students.
  • Programs, tours and speakers with practicing professional engineers.

What Makes TCC a National Leader in Learning Engineering Design Skills?

  • Entering students learn the engineering design process in an innovative introduction to engineering design curriculum.
  • TCC had a lead role in the development of this nationally recognized design program. (Funded by the National Science Foundation and The Boeing Company.)
  • TCC students have won the regional and national ASME International Design Contests.
  • Second-year students enhance their leadership, communication and design skills by working with first-year students on design projects.
  • TCC students have an outreach program to help develop design and team skills in K-12 students.

Program Profile

Constructing straw towers or building and racing human-powered paper vehicles are just a couple of things you might find yourself doing as a TCC engineering student. Engineering is essentially solving problems by using science to design applications. It is practical and scientific. It differs from some of the other sciences - biology, chemistry, physics - but there is considerable crossover.

Students interested in engineering careers can complete the first 2 years of study at TCC. Though there are many different engineering disciplines - mechanical, civil, structural, electrical, aerospace, etc - the introductory courses are the same and TCC offers specialized sophomore level courses. Students can earn an Associate of Science Degree with one of 4 specializations and transfer to 4-year institutions as a junior - General Engineering, Computer & Electrical Engineering, Biological & Chemical Engineering, and Mechanical, Civil, Aeronautical, Industrial, & Material Science Engineering.

One of the main advantages to the program at TCC is small class sizes, so you get individual attention. That can be very different from a 4-year school. Approximately 80 to 100 students are enrolled in the Engineering Program at TCC every year. 

Engineering careers continuously offer new problems and projects. The work is interesting and often groundbreaking. You may be doing something not previously done or improving an existing idea. You are working to better society and mankind. Though engineering salaries range depending on specialization, engineers enjoy a comfortable standard of living with starting salaries often exceeding $60,000/year.

Many engineering graduates don't work as engineers. It is common to have a second major in business or law. CEOs often have an engineering degree because they are intelligent and know how to solve problems - leading to promotions. Engineering can also be a precursor to medical school, education, and sales. There are many different directions you can go with an engineering degree.

In addition to classroom work, TCC has an active American Society of Engineering (ASME) student club and TCC teams compete in regional and national engineering competitions. Eastern Washington University hosts an annual competition where teams design a human-powered paper vehicle (HPPV) made of 90 percent paper and race it through an obstacle course. TCC's teams do well against teams from 4-year schools. TCC previously held the course record for the HPPV race and instigated a true revolution in paper vehicle design. In 1999, a team from TCC became the only community college to ever win the ASME National Design competition - winning both the regional and national competitions.

High school students interested in engineering should take as much math and science as possible - including chemistry, physics, trigonometry, and calculus.  Computer science courses are also recommended. 

At the college level, the courses are challenging and require a lot of math. The difficulty level increases with each course, but so do student skill sets. The bar is continually raised. Students transferring from TCC to 4-year universities perform as well or better than students who begin their careers at the 4-year school.

Students interested in studying engineering at TCC are encouraged to talk to a TCC engineering advisor. While students can enter the program at any time, many need to complete prerequisite courses. Many engineering courses are sequential so advising is critical to timely completion of the program.

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