Author Topic: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!  (Read 25506 times)

ysette9

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #50 on: May 25, 2014, 08:04:08 AM »
Still need to make it through the rest of the posts, so I apologize if I am duplicating anything others have said. Here is my experience:

Don't be scared off by math for an engineering degree!!!!

I am an engineer (almost 10 years work experience) with a bachelor's and master's from top institutions. I was never great at math (definitely okay, you can't fail math an do engineering), was always better and English/reading, and always loved languages. I did a year as an exchange student before starting junior college to learn French and briefly considered majoring in French, so I am serious when I say that I have never been a math whiz.

Engineering rocks and here is why in my opinion:

1) You can get a really good job out of a 4-year degree which is definitely not the case in many other majors.
2) Most salaries and career paths are relatively lucrative compared to other fields. Yes, you can earn more doing something else, but many, many other careers pay less, and it sounds like your head is on straight from the beginning, so you could make the most of a good salary through saving.
3) Engineering is so versatile so with a little hard work and luck, you will have a rewarding and meandering career path and not get stuck in a rut.
4) Engineers plain do cool stuff for their jobs. If you are interested in continuous learning, this is a great major to be in.

Other thoughts:
If you do a degree in engineering, you can always teach down the line without tremendously more investment in education. Going from teaching to engineering would not be nearly as easy.

Engineering, as cheesy as it sounds, teaches you to "think" which is a very handy skill later in life for just about everything.

There are lots of engineering jobs out there with, at least in my state, more job security than teaching can provide.

That is my marketing pitch. Best of luck to you!

Me: engineer married to another engineer, both us of with Master's degrees. He quit work and paid for his master's himself, I got my company to pay for mine. We both have about 10 years work experience, early 30s, and we'll hit a net worth of $1M in the next year.

matchewed

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #51 on: May 25, 2014, 10:02:18 AM »
Do what will make you happy. Save lots of money and you FIRE regardless of your career choice.

Freckles

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #52 on: May 25, 2014, 01:34:27 PM »
Here's the easy answer. Become an engineer. Teachers max out at 80K and are called "puto" on a weekly basis. You will start out at 80K and no one will call you a "puto" while you're trying to do your job.

Yeah, I'd have to agree with that.  Some people said some weird things about teaching and salaries in this thread who clearly aren't teachers.  Private schools actually pay less than public, I'm pretty sure there's no "minor in teaching," who cares if teaching salaries actually get up to $100K in fifteen years (doubtful, anyway) when you want to be done with working full time in 15 years so you can be with your family, as you said is your priority? 

The ones who talked about the low pay and the hard work actually have it right.  If I could go back in time and do it all over again, I would not choose teaching.  Yes, summer vacation is awesome, but if you really want time and freedom with your family, go the MMM way.  Make a high salary from the beginning and then you can retire and actually have true freedom instead of two months a year of freedom.

skunkfunk

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #53 on: May 25, 2014, 03:37:57 PM »
Here's the easy answer. Become an engineer. Teachers max out at 80K and are called "puto" on a weekly basis. You will start out at 80K and no one will call you a "puto" while you're trying to do your job.

Yeah, I'd have to agree with that.  Some people said some weird things about teaching and salaries in this thread who clearly aren't teachers.  Private schools actually pay less than public, I'm pretty sure there's no "minor in teaching," who cares if teaching salaries actually get up to $100K in fifteen years (doubtful, anyway) when you want to be done with working full time in 15 years so you can be with your family, as you said is your priority? 

The ones who talked about the low pay and the hard work actually have it right.  If I could go back in time and do it all over again, I would not choose teaching.  Yes, summer vacation is awesome, but if you really want time and freedom with your family, go the MMM way.  Make a high salary from the beginning and then you can retire and actually have true freedom instead of two months a year of freedom.

Meh. I'm a degreed engineer and my wife is a teacher. We're both fairly fresh out of college and after benefits her net pay is around 80% of mine. Good enough,  really. It's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be from all of the complaining around he. I could make maybe  20% more than currently if I was willing to shop around. The math was definitely much harder for my degree than hers. One of the more difficult at the school vs. one of the easier programs. I started with around thirty in my program and I think six graduated. The education department graduated hundreds.

ysette9

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #54 on: May 25, 2014, 04:52:02 PM »
I'm on a roll here today with my "mentor" hat on, so I'll leave a few more tips:

1) Starting out at a junior college is a fantastic way to go for many reasons. Cheap tuition is one, but small class size is another plus. If you are at all shaky in math, definitely do those classes at a junior college. I started out not strong in math and so repeated some of my high school classes to make sure I had a rock-solid foundation before going on to calculus. I had better math teachers at my JC than at UC Berkeley where I transferred.

2) Look for some mentors early on to help guide you. Feel free to even private message me if you want. There are likely a ton of other people in this forum with good experience you can learn from.

3) I recommend summer internships (for the engineering path) as well as something like AmeriCorps for the teaching path. My sister thought she wanted to be a teacher and so spent a couple of years with AmeriCorps tutoring young kids in reading. She got a lot out of the experience and ultimately what she saw of real teaching steered her to another career. I think that was an incredibly valuable lesson and saved her an aborted or unhappy career choice. Engineering internships really help you get a full-time job after college and pay quite decently for a summer job to boot.

arebelspy

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #55 on: May 25, 2014, 05:06:13 PM »
Here's the easy answer. Become an engineer. Teachers max out at 80K and are called "puto" on a weekly basis. You will start out at 80K and no one will call you a "puto" while you're trying to do your job.

Yeah, I'd have to agree with that.  Some people said some weird things about teaching and salaries in this thread who clearly aren't teachers.  Private schools actually pay less than public, I'm pretty sure there's no "minor in teaching," who cares if teaching salaries actually get up to $100K in fifteen years (doubtful, anyway) when you want to be done with working full time in 15 years so you can be with your family, as you said is your priority? 

The ones who talked about the low pay and the hard work actually have it right.  If I could go back in time and do it all over again, I would not choose teaching.  Yes, summer vacation is awesome, but if you really want time and freedom with your family, go the MMM way.  Make a high salary from the beginning and then you can retire and actually have true freedom instead of two months a year of freedom.

I disagree.  One can make enough as a teacher.

It's hard work, yes, but it gives tons of family time (not only summer, but the many other breaks, along with being done early in the day), and one can still FIRE very young, as young as MMM if they want.

15 years or less is very doable on a teacher's salary (unless maybe you have a ton of kids, like in a high cost area, and a non-working spouse.. but then those will all be issues regardless of if you're a teacher or not.)

See my response up thread.

I agree completely with matchewed:
Do what will make you happy. Save lots of money and you FIRE regardless of your career choice.

Nailed it.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

GuitarStv

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #56 on: May 26, 2014, 09:50:56 AM »
If you choose to become an engineer, you probably want to be pretty into the field.  Our engineering program had a 50% drop out rate after the first year.  Then after the second year, another 50% dropped out.  The work load is higher than many other degrees, and many people can't handle it.

annann

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #57 on: May 26, 2014, 01:47:33 PM »
Teaching is a difficult job and the pay is generally low.  Engineering can be a well paying career but the math is brutal and if you do not like math, you are not going to like studying engineering.  If you want a degree that pays well, study business.  Go to a community college for two years for less expensive education and then go to a state school the last two years to get your degree.  Then go the the best school you can get into for an MBA.  Learn about money, finance, investing, running a business, accounting and not only can you have a great well-paying career but all those tools will help you in life.  And if you want to teach, teach people about money and FI.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #58 on: May 26, 2014, 05:36:26 PM »
If you choose to become an engineer, you probably want to be pretty into the field.  Our engineering program had a 50% drop out rate after the first year.  Then after the second year, another 50% dropped out.  The work load is higher than many other degrees, and many people can't handle it.

+1

Growing up I was soldering circuit boards at age 9 (burned many fingers back then), playing with 555 timer circuits, op-amps, even built a potato powered calculator in 7th grade (desoldered the solar cell and connected it to the potato battery).  I *knew* I wanted to be an electrical engineer by age 12 and was good at math but it was still a tough degree.

viper155

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #59 on: May 26, 2014, 06:32:48 PM »
Engineers are in high demand. Teachers are not. The choice should be evident.

phred

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #60 on: May 26, 2014, 06:50:11 PM »
with sufficient organization, teachers may work a 40 hour week unless they also take on additional duties such as coach, etc.
Engineers may work a 60 hour week to get the project done, and may get called in in the middle of the night because their just crashed software design is holding up the rest of the company.  Engineering is great fun because of all the neat toys, but if you like math and want a decent home life, become a CPA

In the summer beginning teachers generally work on their Master's degree, or get a summer sales job

bikebum

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #61 on: May 26, 2014, 07:16:06 PM »
with sufficient organization, teachers may work a 40 hour week unless they also take on additional duties such as coach, etc.
Engineers may work a 60 hour week to get the project done, and may get called in in the middle of the night because their just crashed software design is holding up the rest of the company.  Engineering is great fun because of all the neat toys, but if you like math and want a decent home life, become a CPA

I don't know where you get your silly ideas about engineers, haha. Many engineers, like me, work 40 hours a week. Engineers can also be consultants and set their own hours. There are other good careers besides being a CPA ;)

phred

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #62 on: May 26, 2014, 07:29:55 PM »


I don't know where you get your silly ideas about engineers, haha. Many engineers, like me, work 40 hours a week.
maybe because I are one.  OK, was one.  I still remember the early days, as the newbie I got to handle third shift.  And, many rush projects had mucho overtime assigned
Consultant right out of school?  Don't think so!

ysette9

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #63 on: May 26, 2014, 07:32:06 PM »
with sufficient organization, teachers may work a 40 hour week unless they also take on additional duties such as coach, etc.
Engineers may work a 60 hour week to get the project done, and may get called in in the middle of the night because their just crashed software design is holding up the rest of the company.  Engineering is great fun because of all the neat toys, but if you like math and want a decent home life, become a CPA

I don't know where you get your silly ideas about engineers, haha. Many engineers, like me, work 40 hours a week. Engineers can also be consultants and set their own hours. There are other good careers besides being a CPA ;)

I'm with you on that one also. I have made a successful career in engineering (engineering manager now) by averaging a 40 hour work week. There are always the special occasions where projects will require more than that for a few weeks or possibly a few months at a stretch, but that is definitely the exception rather than the rule in my own experience. My company also has a great 9/80 schedule where everyone gets every-other Friday off. We all love it.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #64 on: May 27, 2014, 11:19:44 AM »
Engineering is great fun because of all the neat toys, but if you like math and want a decent home life, become a CPA

That's a nice rosy view of being a CPA. Google "I hate public accounting" for some counter-points.

Not saying that you can't have nice work-life balance as a CPA... only that the majority experience for CPA-eligible kids coming out of college is a total meat-grinder of 60+ hour, soul-destroying workweeks. But if you can get past that, you have some great options after a couple of years.

phred

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #65 on: May 27, 2014, 11:41:29 AM »
Is there such a thing as a 100% perfect job?  Don't think so

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #66 on: May 27, 2014, 12:49:03 PM »
Is there such a thing as a 100% perfect job?  Don't think so

I had thought so once when I heard of cheerleader jiggle tester but it turns out the job is just inspecting for extra fat.

So crushed.

NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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Re: Help! Should I become a teacher or an engineer? HS Senior!
« Reply #67 on: May 27, 2014, 08:49:16 PM »
First, it sounds like you really want to start your own business. I suggest reading The $100 Startup:

http://www.amazon.com/100-Startup-Chris-Guillebeau-ebook/dp/B0067TGSOK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401245029&sr=8-1&keywords=the+%24100+startup

There are so many books and blogs about this. Try looking up things like SAAS (software as a service,) entrepreneurship, bootstrapping, and lean startups. I've been looking into this also. Send me a private message if you'd like me to share more of the books and blogs that I think are helpful.

I also want to throw out the idea that your primary career doesn't have to be your only source of income nor your only source of fulfillment. You could be an engineer who teaches language classes to adults one evening a week. You could be a teacher who is also a landlord.

Finally, keep in mind that most colleges will ask you to give a major when you apply, but they usually don't hold you to it. You could enter as an engineering major, then change your mind partway through. Just make sure the school you go to has good programs for both areas. And find out what the degree retirements are for teachers in the area where you would want to live. Some require Master's degrees.

Good luck!