Employability of PhD - Engineering vs Math

 Quote by JakeBrodskyPE I disagree. A PhD shows that you investigate to the edge of what is known and push a little further. It does not prepare you for the full experience of designing something for use by the public. A PhD can't be used to hold you legally liable for your work. In contrast, a PE can. A PE shows you've been involved in projects with mentors to show you how things are often done in reality. A PhD usually does not make claims of business, management, or ethics experience to handle large projects. When the budget goes in to many millions and even billions of dollars; when the scope of the project affects critical infrastructure for millions of people; when decisions include usability, public safety, ethics, timelines, marketing, financing and politically determined design criteria THEN you can talk about what a real project is. A PhD can get a PE certificate, but so can many others in pretty much the same amount of time. The moral of the story is that Engineering is the welding of academics and application. You will need a solid grounding in both to make things work. Let it be said that a PhD in Engineering has its place, particularly for projects at the very edge of the state of the art. But if anyone here thinks you can march out of a University and straight in to a high level responsible, technical position, you are deluding yourselves.
A PE is generally not all that necessary for many fields of engineering (except for civil and power distribution industries). While it is a respectable credential, it is not generally something that can enhance your career that much in most fields.
 There are lots of places which soak up new PhD's in certain fields though. Arizona State University where I'm at pretty much pumps most of the new physics Phd's into industry, mainly Intel and related smaller companies, and increasingly biophysicists are winding up in new biotech start ups. I do know of Phd's in engineering with similar outcomes. But it's the aggregate that matters, I suppose.
 Honestly, I don't see the point in a phd in engineering unless your interested in the material sciences. The only other one I know that is valued is pertroleum engineering, it's not because you know more, but the fact many companies will give you more \$ for having it so you increase your earning potential by 10-15%+ over a masters in some fields which when you talk about oil money is major cash. Materials sciences is the majority of research nowadays. Other things just lie into novel engineering applications of said materials or your university is contracted to make something for a company or organization. At least that's all I saw when I graduated last year. If you want to work at a national lab physics, material sciences, and EE's are largely what are employed but I don't think the EE's are design engineers and to be honest to be a credible design engineer isn't going to happen till your old (probably in your 40's minimum). Pick a field of material engineering or a section of physics you like and aim for academia or something else (you got to be top notch if you want this though ... not an easy path).

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