Finding a top-level engineering school can make the difference between having a good job at graduation and being unemployed. Employers pay attention to the program you attended. Each year, U.S. News and World Reports ranks the best colleges in several programs and areas, and these rankings are widely regarded.

Undergraduate Schools: East

The highest ranked engineering school according to U.S. News and World Reports is east of the Mississippi. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is in Cambridge and is home to about 4,000 students each year. Admission to the school is competitive. The Rose Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana, is classified as the best undergraduate program where a doctorate degree is not offered. The Georgia Institute of Technology is ranked fourth overall. The school is in Atlanta.

Undergraduate Schools: West

The West Coast dominates in the rankings of the top five engineering schools. Stanford University is ranked second overall and is about 30 minutes from San Francisco in the city of Stanford. It's a private school. The University of California's Berkeley campus is ranked third and is home to more than 25,000 students each year. The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, tied for the fourth overall ranking with the aforementioned Georgia Tech, is a research school, and students are active researchers who work with programs like NASA.

Graduate Schools: East

MIT is also listed as the top graduate engineering school in the nation. Around 2,700 graduates are enrolled in the program each year. Georgia Tech is ranked fourth overall. The University of Illinois' Urbana Champaign engineering program is ranked fifth overall and has more than 2,600 graduate engineering students each year. Carnegie Mellon University is a private school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that's ranked sixth in the top engineering graduate programs.

Graduate Schools: West

Stanford University is second for graduate engineering students. University of California Berkley is ranked third. The California Institute of Technology is ranked seventh and has only about 500 graduate students each year. The University of Texas at Austin is ranked ninth overall. In-state tuition at the school costs about $8,000 a year. The University of Southern California in Los Angeles is ranked 15th and has an average graduate engineering enrollment of 1,635 students.