Earning an engineering degree takes hard work and discipline. The top engineering schools in the United States have the respect of faculty and professionals across the country. These schools have a high profile in social and mainstream media, and can launch profitable careers. Various publications and organizations rank the nation’s top schools based on these criteria.

Rankings

"U.S. News & World Report" ranks the best undergraduate engineering schools based on surveys of senior faculty and deans. The magazine ranks undergraduate schools that offer post-graduate study and ones that don’t. Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor ranks its top schools based on media mentions on Twitter, YouTube, blogs, the Web, and print and electronic media. The Monitor is a media consulting group that provides analytical data for colleges and universities. The technology trade publication "CRN" ranks engineering schools according to their graduates’ earning potential.

U.S. News and World Report

"U.S. News & World Report" had two groups of undergraduate engineering school rankings for 2012. The top undergraduate school that also offers postgraduate study is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Students at MIT have their pick of nine engineering specialties, including aeronautics, biological engineering, electrical engineering and nuclear science. The other schools, in order, are Stanford University, the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley. The top engineering school that offers no doctoral degree is the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Ninety-nine percent of Rose-Hulman’s graduates land jobs, and its alumni out-earn non-Rose-Hulman graduates by at least $1 million over the course of their lifetimes. The next best two non-graduate engineering schools are Harvey Mudd College and the United States Military Academy.

Global Language Monitor

This ranking organization’s top school for 2013 is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the same school that ranked first in 2012. The second-place school, Virginia Tech, jumped all the way from No. 19 in 2012 to No. 2 in 2013. Virginia Tech earned media coverage in 2013 for its new doctoral program on nuclear engineering and for a plan by a team of Virginia Tech graduates for a manned mission to Mars. The next top schools, in order, are the Georgia Institute of Technology, Purdue University, Texas A&M University and Carnegie Mellon University.

CRN

Formerly called "Computer Reseller News," "CRN" ranks Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif., as the best school to attend for engineers who want to earn top dollar for their skills. According to this 2013 list, Harvey Mudd graduates earn an average of $66,800 right out of college, and about $135,000 by the middle of their careers. California Institute of Technology came in second. The average starting salary for a Caltech graduate is $67,400, and midcareer salaries are about $127,000. Rounding out the top six schools are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, the Stevens Institute of Technology of Hoboken, N.J., and SUNY Maritime College.