Author Topic: ROI of B.Eng.  (Read 6233 times)

StarswirlTheMustached

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ROI of B.Eng.
« on: December 16, 2013, 12:10:34 PM »
If you've read my journal, you'd know I just got out. But the government (well, the lady at Employment Ontario) wants me to go back, my family wants me to go back, my friends... everyone seems to think my best/only hope is further education.
Joy.
Specifically, a Bachelor of Engineering.
Funny thing about Canada, which I understand is different in the US: it's illegal to work as an Engineer, or even an Engineering Technologist, without the proper certification. The only way to get the proper certification, it seems, is to have the right education. The B.Eng. (If anybody's ever gotten around it, I've never heard of it... though technically, one could try.)
Everyone around me is convinced that the only way to get a job is to become an engineer, and that means 4 years of school.
Yeah, four years. None of my science courses count. A+ in Thermodynamics? Oh, you couldn't possibly comprehend Engineering Thermodynamics; you'll have to take the course. Vector Mechanics? Ditto. I've tutored some of these courses, gods damn it! Apparently it's an accreditation thing, again.

Okay, so my question is how do I figure whether this makes financial sense?

Say S2 is my post-college salary, and S1 the pre-. Let T be tuition, and t be payback time.
Then the cost of the degree, assuming I lose 8 months wages instead of the full year (working co-op over summers) is
C=4*(T+8/12)
but C=(S2-S1)*t as a condition for payback.
Looks like the average starting salary for a B.Eng last year was over 49k, according to this. So let S1=49k.
I can rearrange those formula, then, to find t given S1, or the max S1 given t.
S1= (S2*t - 4*T)/(8/3 + t)
t= (4*T + 8*S1/3)/(S2-S1)

Example: If I want a five year payback, I get a pre-college salary of 28k. For a 40hr/wk and 52week/yr, that translates to 13.50$/hr... and I'm about to start at 13$/hr at a call center in January. So a five-year payback sounds about right.

Am I on the right track, here?
How about the time-value of money?

If I take C'=C*(1+r)^t -- compounding the cost after graduation annually (and applying no interest whilst in school, like a nice student loan)-- well, I have to chose an interest rate. What do I charge myself? A nice, non-urserous 5% says for the same 5-year payback, my pre-degree salary has to be under 31k for it to make sense. (or, full-time, ~15$/hr.)

There's probably some glaring flaw here. One class I wouldn't complain about being forced to take would be economics.

Cecil

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2013, 12:45:39 PM »
Well you're missing the fact that your salary ceiling is higher as an engineer. Sure, you start at 49k, but within 5-10 years you'll be making double that. A degree in engineering is hands-down worth it financially.

Also from one engineer to another, you certainly have the mind for it. :)

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2013, 01:02:40 PM »
Well you're missing the fact that your salary ceiling is higher as an engineer. Sure, you start at 49k, but within 5-10 years you'll be making double that.

You're right. I discounted it for a few reasons: one, it makes the maths harder. Two, I'd then have to try and account for the expected salary ceiling with this MSc degree, for which I have no data and no clue. Three, career progression can be a patchy thing based on demand and mobility, so it's hard to model... and that makes the maths harder.

I mean, I could try and find the stats-- if I could get mean/median/mode I could maybe do some sort of Monte-carlo thing to get a really accurate picture...


A degree in engineering is hands-down worth it financially.
[\quote]
For a high school student, almost certainly. Given my (theoretically) increased earning potential from the two STEM degrees I have... I honestly think it ought not to, but so far the maths disagree.
 
Also from one engineer to another, you certainly have the mind for it. :)
Thanks.

msilenus

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2013, 01:12:33 PM »
> C=4*(T+8/12)

If you really already know everything you need to know, I don't know why you'd budget for four years.  IIRC, my alma mater would have let me take ~150% of a full load before charging more.  Paying more to take more might be the right call.  Your big problem might be general education requirements.  If you have an equivalent of community colleges up there, you could satisfy those cheaply and at a more typical pace over the summers.  Another is pre-requisites.

Pre-reqs could limit your speed a bit, but there are some good ways around that.  The first is community college courses, which are cheap anyway.  If you can blast through advanced calculus at $100/credit or whatever on nights and weekends, that could help.  Another way to go is to talk to professors.  At my alma mater, you could bypass any prerequisite if a professor would sign your add card.  I bypassed two years of chem/o-chem and hopped right into an upper division biochemistry course with the stroke of a pen.  (I didn't even know that stuff.)  You could chat with the department counselors about your situation.  If your degree says "must have calculus A-F," but you skip straight to "D-F," it's highly doubtful the department would actually hold you up on A-C.  You might even be able to get the department to credit some of your non-accredited courses on the sly, by simply giving you the degree despite not having them through an exception process.  Finally, sometimes you can test out of a course.  That's not something my university offered, but I've heard of it.

You get the idea.  There's a box you don't fit in, so you should be thinking outside of it.

I'd look through the course catalogue, take a real hard look at what your path to a degree is that maximizes overlap with your existing knowledge, look at past course catalogues to make sure everything you need is offered fairly frequently, call up the university, research their policies, reach out to a few key profs, and if everything works out: run the numbers with however many years you think you can actually get away with.

I'd also argue that having high earning power is worth more than its nominal value over your expected time frame, on a risk-adjusted basis.  It mitigates both planning and execution risk.  If the market tanks or you decide you want to pay for your kids' college or whatever, you can roll with those sorts of developments much better with a higher income.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2013, 01:15:03 PM by msilenus »

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2013, 01:35:18 PM »
> C=4*(T+8/12)

If you really already know everything you need to know, I don't know why you'd budget for four years.  IIRC, my alma mater would have let me take ~150% of a full load before charging more.  Paying more to take more might be the right call.  Your big problem might be general education requirements.  If you have an equivalent of community colleges up there, you could satisfy those cheaply and at a more typical pace over the summers.  Another is pre-requisites.
IIRC, unless they've changed it, or special permission is available, they won't allow more than two extra courses per semester, even if you want to pay.

Pre-reqs could limit your speed a bit, but there are some good ways around that.  The first is community college courses, which are cheap anyway.  If you can blast through advanced calculus at $100/credit or whatever on nights and weekends, that could help.  Another way to go is to talk to professors.  At my alma mater, you could bypass any prerequisite if a professor would sign your add card.  I bypassed two years of chem/o-chem and hopped right into an upper division biochemistry course with the stroke of a pen.  (I didn't even know that stuff.)  You could chat with the department counselors about your situation.  If your degree says "must have calculus A-F," but you skip straight to "D-F," it's highly doubtful the department would actually hold you up on A-C.  You might even be able to get the department to credit some of your non-accredited courses on the sly, by simply giving you the degree despite not having them through an exception process.  Finally, sometimes you can test out of a course.  That's not something my university offered, but I've heard of it.
I know they don't allow challenging the exam, and I'll look into it, but from what I remember hearing, you have to hit every wicket on your way to a B.Eng. Other programs, the prof has that power, but here it's a regulatory thing: you take those courses, all of those courses, or you can't get licensed as an engineer. As for knocking off prereqs... "college" up here basically means trade school, so credit transfers aren't always easy to arrange. Possibly for some of the drafting courses, but I doubt for much else.

If I get lucky in scheduling, and/or they stretch the rules on technical electives, I might be able to get it done in 3 years, I'll admit. I just expect that there will be a couple attendance-required labs or lectures scheduled concurrently, because they're not normally taken in the same year. I'm deliberately looking at the worst-case, because I'm not willing to count on anything else, until I have it in writing. If the worst case makes even marginal sense, then the decision should be a no-brainer.

I might as well mention that I didn't pay tuition the first time through, anyway (thanks, scholarships) -- and there are a lot more scholarships for engineering students than astronomers. (Pity I'm the wrong gender for half of them. How is that not discrimination?) So there's pretty good odds the tuition costs will be much less than the 7400$ I foresee, but I'm not going to count on it.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2013, 03:07:54 PM by StarswirlTheMustached »

msilenus

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2013, 02:17:33 PM »
That fleshes out the picture quite a bit.  I think you might have more flexibility than you're counting on.  Usually in a major, there are 1-2 "keystone" courses at the base of upper-division work.  If you can accelerate entry to those courses, it's extremely liberating in terms of your ability to schedule subsequent coursework.  In computer science, you're looking at advanced data structures.  In molecular biology, you'd go after structural biochemistry.  In math, you'd go after mathematical reasoning, then analysis.  And so on.  Often those sundry advanced courses are taught by the same few professors year after year, usually in the fall, with relatively big enrollment limits.  If you can get one to pre-agree (in principle) to signing you in, you can then take the advanced courses in parallel with the basics, prioritizing the courses that unlock the most prereqs for advanced courses.

Assuming you can knock off the main keystone prereqs in the first term, scheduling the advanced courses to get done in three years just shouldn't be hard.  Note that two extra courses per term suggests finishing in 2.6 years is possible.

Here's an exercise you can do to test what I'm saying: draw a digraph [1] that describes the required prereqs for the major you want.  Identify the nodes/courses that fan out a lot/satisfy a lot of prereqs, and ask yourself "could I take that in the first term?" for each such course.  (The answer depends on both your own knowledge, and how the college tends to schedule the courses.)  Then draw up a course plan, starting with taking those key courses as early as possible.  (Well, technically: earlier than possible.)  See how fast you can get through everything by scheduling the rest of your academic career as greedily as you can, to satisfy prereqs as quickly as possible.

You'll find that knocking off 2-3 important courses/course-sequences right away will eliminate most of what you're worrying about.  If you can bypass into those keystone courses, and prioritize other important high-fanout courses, you'll be qualified to start almost any course sequence in the department by the end of your first year.  Tech electives will offer you an enormous amount of flexibility in subsequent years.  It will be obvious that what you draw up isn't strictly speaking realistic, but you'll have so much flexibility in years 2-3 that it won't matter --that even if you had push some important courses into later years, you should be able to do so in a way that leaves you with very little subsequent scheduling risk in year 3.

Honestly, I'd worry way more about over-estimating the extent to which taking two extra courses per term is realistic.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directed_graph

« Last Edit: December 16, 2013, 02:19:45 PM by msilenus »

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2013, 10:11:00 AM »
mslienus,

Thanks for the kick in the pants!
It took some doing to track down course information (the university no longer makes its course calender public, for some reason) but I have made the graph you suggested. It looks like I can get the degree done in three years-- without any overloading. Overloading won't help, because of interconnections.
The graph looks 'loose' enough that unless I'm quite unlucky with course conflicts, three years should be realistic, rather than a 'best case'. Especially if I can get them to loosen up some of the prerequisites.

BSc, MSc, BEng... oy. I won't be properly on the job market until 2017. I will be 29 years old. Granted, had I finished my PhD, I'd have been in the same mess, so I guess it's all according to plan?

So, worst case, it costs me 22k tuition. (I hope to get some scholarships.) Given that, the investment pays for itself inside 4 years, assuming I can't, in that time, do much better than 13$/hr on the miscellaneous office work the skills that came with this degree seem to imply I'll be living on. Given the level of scholarship I expect to get, pay-off is about three years. (best case: scholarships and in-term work pay for tuition entirely, then payoff is still 2.5years out.) 

Frankly, no matter what I am doing with my MSc, I expect it would take at least three years to ramp up to an income of 50k$. (baring exceeding good luck.) Which means that, yes, Virginia, an Engineering degree does make sound financial sense.

I haven't even tried to quantify the geographic flexibility this would give. (My wife's a geologist. Engineering and geology jobs are almost always found in the same locale. That's got to be worth something!) Or the slightly-lower unemployment rate amongst professional engineers. Or the dollar value of an existing network of contacts that I can't use because HR insists on licensed (or licensable) engineers. All those factors push it well past 'making sense' into 'sign up now' territory.

dadof4

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2013, 11:56:31 AM »
What kind of engineer do you want to be?
A few of my colleagues are considered "software engineers", but don't have engineering degrees. Some are in mathematics or physics, some don't even have a degree. come to think of it, I'm in the same boat, as I have only a BA in CS.

 

aclarridge

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2013, 12:11:17 PM »
Take an MSc in Math Finance if you're interested. ROI for me has been phenomenal.

Also as the last poster mentioned, software engineering is all about ability, very little about "academic pedigree".

If you're dead set on mechanical/electrical eng though, I still think you need to check with more universities, as I'm not sure you're right about it being a regulatory requirement to actually take every course. I'm pretty sure I remember people that didn't take several courses in the first couple years of my engineering degree because they did the challenge exams. Unless something has changed in the past ~5 years? Anyway, even if you take 4 years, it's worth it in my opinion. Be a TA and make some money, party a lot and meet your future wife/husband. University is so much fun.

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2013, 12:59:58 PM »
What kind of engineer do you want to be?
A few of my colleagues are considered "software engineers", but don't have engineering degrees. Some are in mathematics or physics, some don't even have a degree. come to think of it, I'm in the same boat, as I have only a BA in CS.
Good advice, but I'm not going to take it.
About 80%* of why I'm not still working towards a PhD is because I couldn't find a project that didn't have me coding simulations. I'm afraid I have a big hate-on for programming. I've tried, but it won't work.
I recommend anyone else who finds this thread to look into it, though.

*the other 20% is that the funding sucked and was getting suckier, even for those projects.

Take an MSc in Math Finance if you're interested. ROI for me has been phenomenal.

Also as the last poster mentioned, software engineering is all about ability, very little about "academic pedigree".

If you're dead set on mechanical/electrical eng though, I still think you need to check with more universities, as I'm not sure you're right about it being a regulatory requirement to actually take every course. I'm pretty sure I remember people that didn't take several courses in the first couple years of my engineering degree because they did the challenge exams. Unless something has changed in the past ~5 years? Anyway, even if you take 4 years, it's worth it in my opinion. Be a TA and make some money, party a lot and meet your future wife/husband. University is so much fun.
My MSc advisor, after I decided to leave academia, suggested I try finance-- though when his buddies were going off to Wall St., you didn't need a special degree. Just mathematical aptitude, which all the astrophysics ought to prove. It doesn't appeal, and has the wrong geographic distribution.  Good advice, but again, not going to take it.

Same thing for checking other universities: I am already married. We said the old fashioned vows, and interpret "to have and to hold" to mean I have to be around for her to have and hold. She's here, so here is where I'll do whatever further schooling I'm to do. At this university, that means MechEng.

As for credit by examination, I've never heard of it being done at any Ontario university, in any program, so I don't think I've lost much by not shopping around. In fact, about the only place in Canada I've heard of that does is Athabasca, and they're like the Canadian equivalent to University of Pheonix...

Good point about TAships, though. Very good point! They're short on grad students for marking, so it'd be a quick way to make a buck.

msilenus

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2013, 01:38:28 PM »
Glad to hear that was helpful. 

I should definitely warn you that even if your university's policies are exactly the same as mine were, it's not a slam dunk.  The kicker about bypassing prereqs was that I couldn't pre-register normally.  At my university, a professor could add a student in even over enrollment limits, but it became much less likely they'd add someone into a full class.  (I was amused to find out that fire codes weren't the problem --they were worried about pissing off their TAs and graders.)  That's a big part of why I'm recommending that you try to feel out some of these people before you even apply.  If you can introduce yourself on the first day, and refer to your exchange in e-mail from before you even applied... well... they're human.  That earlier connection is going to make it much more likely that things work out.  Their most natural objection facing a crowded class will be "if I let you in I have to let everyone else in."  Making that early connection is a really exceptional thing to do, and it will make it much easier for you to persuade them to make an exception for you.

YMMV, of course.

AlexK

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2013, 01:59:02 PM »
I'm not clear on what degree you have earned up to this point, but in the US you can get an engineering job with just a related degree. I'm an mechanical engineer and some of my colleagues have physics and math degrees. We can get a PE (professional Engineer) license here but it isn't required or even a benefit for ME, at least not at my company (semiconductor industry).

So have you thought of emigrating to the US?

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2013, 02:20:59 PM »
I'm not clear on what degree you have earned up to this point, but in the US you can get an engineering job with just a related degree. I'm an mechanical engineer and some of my colleagues have physics and math degrees. We can get a PE (professional Engineer) license here but it isn't required or even a benefit for ME, at least not at my company (semiconductor industry).

So have you thought of emigrating to the US?
I've a BSc in Physics and an MSc in Astronomy. If I were a free agent, I'd probably not have too much trouble finding that sort of employment in the 'states. Unfortunately, my wife refuses to emigrate.
I've asked around about working as an unlicensed engineer in Canada, and... well, it's odd. Statistically speaking, these people exist, but anecdotally, they do not. Everyone's educated as an Engineer or an Engineering Technologist. It could be the bubble I'm in, but I've never seen an entry-level job posting that didn't insist on the exact degree. (Of course, we graduate arseloads of engineers here, in comparison to demand. There's no need to settle for less. Given the growth in class size vs. the growth in demand, I'm actually worried I may be entering another oversupplied market!)

CanuckExpat

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2013, 06:18:23 PM »
Starswirl,

At least in Ontario, it seem's like it's theoretically possible to become a Professional Engineer with "equivalent academic qualifications": http://www.peo.on.ca/index.php?ci_id=2058&la_id=1

How often PEO actually approves people with other degrees is up in their.

So to clear up some confusion that others have asked about, you can get a job in Canada with any degree, you just can't be a "Professional Engineer" until you pass the licensing exam, for which graduating from an accredited engineering program is *usually* a pre-requisite.
Whether you actually need to be a professional engineer depends on what you want to do. If you want to work in civil engineering, a lot of branches of mechanical engineering, or especially the government, you will need it. Especially if you are going to sign off on designs, manage other engineers, etc.
For many other "engineering" jobs, you don't need it as much.

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2013, 06:56:43 PM »
Hm. I was under the impression the PEO needed proof you were working as a (non-professional) engineer before they'd let you take the tests. I should investigate further, indeed.I'll call their 1-800 number tomorrow and see what they say.

As for needing the PEng, well... my contacts all either work in mining or heavy equipment manufacturing, and seem to think that membership in the PEO (implying that you can get a P.Eng) is de rigeur for most hiring, and certainly for any kind of career advancement. Actually, all the want ads I've seen require you already HAVE your P.Eng certification, which is a sticky wicket when one of the requirements is two years work experience... (post-degree, so don't tell me they get it in co-op!)

That's the same sticky wicket we're in with a lot of trades, actually. There's political pressure to make it easier to import workers because of a lack of "skilled tradespeople" -- when there are apprentices aplenty who can't get the experience they need. Engineering Canada (the umbrella organization) recognizes that this is a problem with the Engineering job market right now, as well. They are, indeed, lobbying for more immigration.

Which all makes it sound like less of the sure bet popular wisdom says it is. I'm still trying to do my due diligence on this one. For example: trying to find out why only 25% of recent B.Eng grads went into engineering jobs. Was it a jobs shortage, or were they pulled preferentially into management? Obviously that would effect which way I eventually jump.

CanuckExpat

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2013, 11:35:48 PM »
Hm. I was under the impression the PEO needed proof you were working as a (non-professional) engineer before they'd let you take the tests. I should investigate further, indeed.I'll call their 1-800 number tomorrow and see what they say.

Yes, in addition to graduating from an accredited program (or having equivalent education) you will need to work for two years, usually at an engineering firm (licensed), under the supervision of a professional engineer. Even if you have equivalent education, if you can't get a job to get the required experience without the right degree, that might also put you out of luck.

Quote
As for needing the PEng, well... my contacts all either work in mining or heavy equipment manufacturing, and seem to think that membership in the PEO (implying that you can get a P.Eng) is de rigeur for most hiring, and certainly for any kind of career advancement.

Yes, those sound like fields where professional certification might be a good thing (saying this without ever having worked in the field).

Quote
Actually, all the want ads I've seen require you already HAVE your P.Eng certification, which is a sticky wicket when one of the requirements is two years work experience... (post-degree, so don't tell me they get it in co-op!)

I believe the usual route is to work as an Engineer In Training (EIT), nominally under the supervision of a licensed engineer. Then after some period of time, you would take the test and become a professional engineer yourself.


Quote
That's the same sticky wicket we're in with a lot of trades, actually. There's political pressure to make it easier to import workers because of a lack of "skilled tradespeople" -- when there are apprentices aplenty who can't get the experience they need. Engineering Canada (the umbrella organization) recognizes that this is a problem with the Engineering job market right now, as well. They are, indeed, lobbying for more immigration.

I don't think Engineering is a trade... (just pointing it out because I saw a similar comment in another recent college grad thread earlier)
.
Quote
Which all makes it sound like less of the sure bet popular wisdom says it is. I'm still trying to do my due diligence on this one. For example: trying to find out why only 25% of recent B.Eng grads went into engineering jobs. Was it a jobs shortage, or were they pulled preferentially into management? Obviously that would effect which way I eventually jump.

I didn't dig into your previous posts to figure out your exact situation, but I think completing a second four year bachelor degree, when you have one already would be a bit redundant, especially when they are so closely related (Physics and Engineering), if you want an accreditation program that much, why not consider a masters in the field you want to work in? You might even get paid for school then..

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2013, 08:52:23 AM »
Quote
Which all makes it sound like less of the sure bet popular wisdom says it is. I'm still trying to do my due diligence on this one. For example: trying to find out why only 25% of recent B.Eng grads went into engineering jobs. Was it a jobs shortage, or were they pulled preferentially into management? Obviously that would effect which way I eventually jump.

I didn't dig into your previous posts to figure out your exact situation, but I think completing a second four year bachelor degree, when you have one already would be a bit redundant, especially when they are so closely related (Physics and Engineering), if you want an accreditation program that much, why not consider a masters in the field you want to work in? You might even get paid for school then..
I also already have a master's degree, and a second one, in Engineering, won't do me much good re: licensing. The only benefit would be to make them more likely to let me take the tests, if they refuse me with my current educational background. Based on my brief conversation with the PEO's admissions rep, it does not sound as though they will. They're happy to take my money as an application fee, anyway.

CanuckExpat

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2013, 11:38:10 AM »
I also already have a master's degree, and a second one, in Engineering, won't do me much good re: licensing. The only benefit would be to make them more likely to let me take the tests, if they refuse me with my current educational background. Based on my brief conversation with the PEO's admissions rep, it does not sound as though they will. They're happy to take my money as an application fee, anyway.

I was only suggesting that because if you seemed bent on going back to school, a masters degree (at least a course based one), would usually be shorter than a bachelors degree, and frankly would probably be less redundant seeing as how you already have a physics degree. Based upon what I understand, PEO will count some of your time in an engineering masters degree towards the required work experience (http://www.peo.on.ca/index.php?ci_id=2075&la_id=1). It sounds like your bind is both getting the required work experience (getting a company to hire you), and having the required degree. You would have to see if another bachelors degree is the right fit for that.. or if you should be networking like hell to see who will hire you with the degree and experience you have now. I thought perhaps a targeted masters degree in the field you are interested in would be more helpful.

It sounds like you are hung up on "taking the test".. you know this test isn't of your engineering ability or technical skills, but from what I remember it is an ethics and professional practice exam. It's assumed you've obtained the required skills and technical competency from your degree and the required work experience.

Also, take what I say with a grain of salt. I graduated from an Ontario Engineering Program quite a few years ago, never went down the path that would require becoming a professional engineer, and now I live in the States :)

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: ROI of B.Eng.
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2013, 12:00:09 PM »

I was only suggesting that because if you seemed bent on going back to school, a masters degree (at least a course based one), would usually be shorter than a bachelors degree, and frankly would probably be less redundant seeing as how you already have a physics degree. Based upon what I understand, PEO will count some of your time in an engineering masters degree towards the required work experience (http://www.peo.on.ca/index.php?ci_id=2075&la_id=1). It sounds like your bind is both getting the required work experience (getting a company to hire you), and having the required degree. You would have to see if another bachelors degree is the right fit for that.. or if you should be networking like hell to see who will hire you with the degree and experience you have now. I thought perhaps a targeted masters degree in the field you are interested in would be more helpful.

It sounds like you are hung up on "taking the test".. you know this test isn't of your engineering ability or technical skills, but from what I remember it is an ethics and professional practice exam. It's assumed you've obtained the required skills and technical competency from your degree and the required work experience.

Also, take what I say with a grain of salt. I graduated from an Ontario Engineering Program quite a few years ago, never went down the path that would require becoming a professional engineer, and now I live in the States :)

In a case like mine, with a non-certified education, there's a series of technical exams; depending of what they make of my existing education, upto 40 of them, and a thesis-style 'engineering report'. There's a fee for each exam, but the total cost of all that is still only about a year's tuition, though. Sounds quicker and easier than three years at the university, for certs. I'll have to do some networking and see how they react.

EDIT: I should say my worries have never been about taking or passing the tests-- tests I can do. It's the lack of certainty that they'll actually deign to evaluate me, after walking off with the application fee.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 12:05:17 PM by StarswirlTheMustached »