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Advice On career path/ licensed engineer question

  1. Jun 29, 2008 #1
    I am currently a physics major in my junior year of college (I changed to physics after my first year so technically it is only my 2nd year as a physics major). I know that i want to do some sort of engineering, preferably mechanical, in the future. I have 2 choices right now:

    1.) get a dual degree in physics/engineering (which would take 5.5-6 yrs due to the late start on physics). or 2.) get a bs in physics and then a masters in ME, which would also most likely take around 6 years.

    My question is which seems like the best path to take? Ive heard many things about people being worried that they arent "licensed engineers" if they dont get their B.S in engineering. What exactly does that entail and mean and how does it change your job options/chance of getting a job? I am in the US if that makes a difference.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2008 #2
    http://www.ncees.org/licensure/licensure_for_engineers/ [Broken] tells the whole story about the process of becoming a licensed engineer.

    From what I understand, the BS vs MS issue is that many states explicitly require a bachelor's degree in engineering, and will not license people who "only" have a master's degree.

    Does it make a difference in your career? Well, that totally depends on what type of engineering you are doing. The only difference between licensed/non-licensed is that a licensed engineer can put his "stamp" on a project approving it as safe, etc. As you can imagine, this is rather important in civil engineering. In computer engineering, on the other hand, it's much less important.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  4. Jun 30, 2008 #3
    Some states won't let you sit for the FE exam if you don't have a bachelor's in physics, whether you intend to pursue a PE license or not. (FE=Fundamentals of Engineering).

    One of the people who sits on the state board here gave a presentation to our school, and we asked all about how to become an engineer (or licensed geologist, as that also falls under their purvey). The advice they gave was, basically, you can't, but if you want to, it's better to move to a state where they will let you take the FE exam without a bachelor's in engineering.

    It was all, frankly, very confusing. So my advice is to get the bachelor's in engineering if you want to do engineering, even if it takes you extra time.
  5. Jul 1, 2008 #4
    Engineering licensure is only important if your work involves infrastructure, such as buildings (including mechanical and electrical components), bridges, and other things that could affect public safety.

    What are your professional goals?
  6. Jul 2, 2008 #5
    Thanks for the help guys,

    Kenny: My personal goals are to become with a mechanical engineer or an aerospace engineer. Would i need to be licensed for those?!
  7. Jul 3, 2008 #6
    That's a no on aerospace engineering. For mechanical engineering, probably not, but maybe. It's only important if you want to design HVAC systems for buildings. That's only a tiny part of mechanical engineering though, so you have a lot of different options that don't require licensure.
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