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ABET Accredited Schools and Careers

  1. Jul 22, 2012 #1

    I am preparing to go back to university for a second degree (BS in Physics). My intention has been to go to graduate school afterwards for a Masters of Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineering. I spoke to a friend of mine last night who recently got a Bachelor's in Civil Engineering and he was telling me about the professional licensing required for engineers to work in industry. I must confess, this was a new concept to me. After going home and doing some research, I quickly found some problems with my plan.

    I can't afford to get a Bachelors in AE. The closest school to me that offers it is an hours drive away, and since I'm a second degree student, I don't have access to enough financial aid to be able to afford to move there or complete the course of study. The University that I was planning to go to for Physics is the same one I got my first degree in, and it's in the city in which I live, so I should be able to check out of there money wise.

    The school that's an hour and a half away has MAE and PhD programs as well (NC State, for the curious). I'm reading about these FE and PE exams, and one of the requirements to take them is to have graduated from a school that is ABET accredited. If you take them coming from a non-ABET accredited school, you have to work for 8 years I believe before you can take your PE, compared to 4 coming out of an accredited school. The ABET website lists only two graduate programs that are accredited: USAF Institute of Technology and Naval Postgraduate School.

    Is there anything I can do? I want to make sure that I can get a good job after school, but many of the job postings I've been looking at since hearing this say coming from an ABET school is preferred but not required. How big of a deal is this? Would a BS in Physics and a MAE get me a decent job? Can anyone offer me any advice?

    Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2012 #2
    I was always under the impression that ABET accredation applied only to undergraduate degrees. NCSU has a pretty good aerospace program for the undergraduate. I'm actually going there this fall to do grad work in combustion. A BS in physics and MAE I think will help you get into a good research program but wont help you for a job too much. Just stick with engineering if you want the latter.
  4. Jul 23, 2012 #3
    Professional licensing is a requirement for civil engineers (projects and designs in the civil sector must be signed by a certified professional engineer), but is more lax for aerospace engineers. While a PE license is always desirable no matter what, it's certainly not the end of the world if you can't get one. Your friend didn't give you wrong information; just information that pertained to his world, not yours.
  5. Jul 23, 2012 #4
    Hm. Interesting. Do job postings for aeronautical engineers typically specify the field? For example, I was looking at Boeing's job openings the other night, and I saw structural and powerplant engineers, and all of them preferred ABET accredited backgrounds but did not specify the engineering type.

    When you say research as opposed to 'a job', what do you mean? Do you mean a teaching faculty or what? My original degree is in Political Science, so when you say 'research', all I hear is 'becoming a professor'.
  6. Jul 23, 2012 #5
    By job I meant work in industry straight out of school. Research usually means working in academia, but you could also work for the government, private laboratories or in the research and development division of large companies such as GE. If you dont work in research you will probably start off doing "grunt work" (IE calculations nobody wants to do, checking other engineers work) and with some years of experience you will eventually become in charge of engineering projects.
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