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: Is grad school still necessary for engineers?  ( 29832 )
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« : November 10, 2009, 01:37:05 AM »

I recently graduated from college with a BS in Civil Engineering. I am now caught in a dilemma that I cannot seem to solve. Should I advance my education or focus on my experience? There are several dynamics that I have considered and I would appreciate it if someone who has dealt with a similar situation would guide me in helping me make the right decision.
Here are the points of concern,
  • Does an advanced degree carry more (or less) weight when marketing yourself to potential employers?
  • Is is still a good idea to get an advanced degree?
  • From a cost/benefit standpoint, which is better in the long run?
: 11

« #1 : January 28, 2010, 09:56:54 PM »

Does an advance degree carry more weight? If you want to be an engineer, you need experience and lots of it. Formal courses are necessary, but they don't make you an engineer. You need to work to learn the art of engineering and acquire job-specific skills. You should also probably get licensed, which requires at least five years experience with other PEs.

Is it a good idea to get an advanced degree? It won't hurt you, but it's not necessary for most engineering jobs. Most of what you need to know is learned on the job, after your BS. I believe there's been some discussion about future PEs being requried to have 30 grad school hours of engineering (might as well get your MS at that point), but I'm not sure if the requirement has been made official yet.

What is the benefit-cost ratio of experience versus more formal education? Look at most engineering job descriptions. Search for engineering jobs requiring an MS. Most employers are looking for experienced engineers with a PE license. You won't make more for the same job by having an MS. Experience is king in engineering.
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