If you are interested in becoming a patent engineer, you can start by graduating high school and applying to a four-year institution to study engineering. A bachelor's degree is the minimum educational requirement for most jobs in this field. During your time at school you can attempt to find an engineering internship that focuses on patent engineering. After graduation, you can decide whether you would rather go into the workforce immediately or continue on to graduate school to complete a master's degree. Both paths will allow you to become a patent engineer, however, a master's degree will provide you with additional opportunities in the field.
A high school diploma is needed to begin the application process to four-year colleges and universities, where you can start your degree in engineering. You can prepare for this while in high school by taking a course load that is heavy in science and mathematics, as these are important subjects in the field of engineering. Once you are accepted into college, expect to study additional mathematics, science, and engineering courses. You can choose to specialize in most areas of engineering including mechanical, industrial, and electrical engineering, depending on the field in which you desire to become a patent engineer. Taking courses in writing can help you become a patent engineer, as there is a focus on technical writing in patent engineer positions.
While you are studying for your undergraduate degree, attempt to find an internship in the area of patent engineering. Patent engineers help to create new products, deal with paperwork regarding patent processes, and write technical information about new products. Having experience in these areas before you enter the job market can help you edge out the competition when looking for a position. You can also use this opportunity to network with people already working in the field, which can sometimes lead to job opportunities or references when you need them.
It is not necessary to have a master's degree in engineering to become a patent engineer, but it can help you move through the ranks more quickly, towards an advanced position within an organization. If you choose to go this route, expect to spend an additional two to three years as a full-time student. Once you have completed your education to become a patent engineer, you can begin to apply for jobs. Expect for potential employers to ask for a current copy of your resume and a list of work references if you are invited to attend an interview.