What type of Engineering Degree would be Right for You?
You want to kick things up in your life, and so you’ve decided to go back to school. Which degree should you go after? Well, that depends on what you want to do. An associates, bachelor’s, and master’s degree all offer you something different. You don’t want to undereducated yourself, but overeducating can be just as bad. Here’s how to figure it out.
Associates In Engineering
This is the most basic engineering degree you can get. If you surf around on websites, like EngineeringDegrees.org, it’s very easy to find schools offering an associates. The benefits are that this degree is inexpensive, and it doesn’t take long to complete.
The downside to this degree is that it’s only really suitable for entry-level positions. You may also be able to get a lab-tech job or something that leaves room for advancement, like a medical technician. Associate’s degrees are also usually the gateway for more advanced degrees like a Bachelor’s.
Bachelor’s In Engineering
A bachelor’s degree is also considered somewhat of an “entry-level” degree, since the jobs are sometimes limited with this level of education. However, you generally have more opportunities than you do with just an associate’s.
Usually, a bachelor’s will be combined with other majors. For example, a bachelor’s in engineering will be combined with a major in biomedical engineering so that the student can get a job with a pharmaceutical company post-graduation.
Bachelor’s degrees can also help you get jobs that you otherwise would not get in industry. In fact, some companies look at higher levels of education as a liability.
Let’s say you want to work for a private research firm. They may have an in-house apprenticeship that you must go through. Having a bachelor’s degree gives you the right fundamentals. But, anything more than that may entitle you to higher pay – theoretically.
A company looking to minimize costs may not want to take you on at a higher salary, and may actually deny you the job because you’re overqualified. In a crowded employment market, being overeducated just cost you a job.
Of course, it doesn’t always work out like this, but many companies are looking to hire qualified applicants that meet the bare minimum in terms of education, while using in-house training to cover formal educational shortfalls.
It’s a strategy that’s paying off, since premiums for a master’s degree are sometimes not work the additional expense.
Master’s In Engineering
A master’s degree is almost essential for some jobs. It requires a thesis and is the prerequisite for a PhD. This is the course of study you would want to pursue if you want to teach at a university or do research at a public organization.
The master’s degree takes several years to complete, is the most expensive degree to obtain, and there is usually no stipend. However, you’re rewarded with some of the highest salaries in the industry – exceeding $100,000 per year. You’re also a candidate for a PhD program if you meet other requirements for it at the school of your choice.
Thomas Fields has loved his engineering career. Now retired, he splits his time between teaching college students and spending time with his grandchildren.