Engineering is a fascinating field, but it is very challenging. If you are an aspiring engineer, it is best to prepare yourself as early as possible by selecting the best classes in high school.
The best classes to take in high school for engineers are hands-on, project-based, or involve mathematics. For example, listening to biology, physics, programming, AP calculus, and chemistry classes is a great start.
Below we’ll discuss in more detail which classes you should take for engineering. We’ll also go into different engineering majors.
4 Important High School Classes to Get Ready for an Engineering Degree
Let’s start by stating the obvious: all high schools are different. Different schools will offer different classes, electives, and after-school activities. The key is to take challenging courses in mathematics and science. Here are some courses that will help you get ready for your engineering curriculum:
- PreCalculus — PreCalulus is a relatively easy course that introduces key math concepts used daily by engineers, such as limits, derivatives, and statistics.
- AP Calculus — AP Calculus is challenging as it is a college-level class. However, it can give you an idea of the level required to pass college classes and will give you an edge in your engineering studies. Calculus concepts are used to compute fluid dynamics simulation, determine the power cable length needed to connect two substations, solve complex optimization problems, and launch rockets into space.
- AP Statistics — AP Statistics is not as crucial as AP Calculus for engineering students. First, statistics courses are not considered as challenging as calculus in college. Statistics are also not as fundamental to solving engineering problems. However, mathematics courses won’t hurt you.
- AP Physics — Physics concepts taught in AP Physics I, II, and C are used in all engineering fields. For example, if you want to go into mechanical or civil engineering, fundamental concepts about forces and dynamics come into play. For electrical engineering, AP Physics will teach you about the key concepts in electromagnetism.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, you should also consider what type of engineer you want to become. An electrical engineer will need different classes than a civil engineer, and so forth. Here are the best classes for the different engineering areas:
- For Civil Engineering — AP Physics and calculus courses are the best high school classes for aspiring civil engineers. Civil engineers rely on risk analysis. Also, consider electives related to building construction, metalworking, and design classes.
- For Chemical Engineering — You should look into high school classes such as AP Chemistry, AP Biology, and AP physics. For electives, you can consider topics such as microbiology, culinary arts, nutrition, earth, and environmental classes.
- For Mechanical Engineering — Robotics, Physics, and Calculus courses are a great way to prepare for mechanical engineering.
- For Computer Engineering — AP Computer Science is the best class to prepare for computer engineering. Other electives to look for include computer programming, programming languages, web design, computer repair, and information technology.
If You Are Not Sure You Want to Major in Engineering
Engineering students earn a decent wage. However, you might want to consider other majors depending on your personal preferences. Here are articles on the best high school classes for careers related to engineering