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Becoming an engineer with no degree?

  1. Dec 2, 2014 #1
    So, I don't have a degree, but I was curious if companies would hire me as a process engineer.

    I understand calculus, diff. Eq, probability theory, statistics, and PDEs. I love thermodynamics, microbiology, immunology, as well as chemistry (above organic).

    I guess the problem for me is getting past the HR. They usually just think I'm lying on my resume. Is it possible to just get the FE exam passed in any state without working as a tech for several years?
     
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  3. Dec 2, 2014 #2

    Doug Huffman

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    I retired from a federal nuclear engineering technician position with the title shift test engineer and without a degree. You probably will not be hired as an engineer now-a-days without the CV-resume to support it. Companies are too risk averse to give an unknown the responsibility of engineer.

    As I understand it the PE cannot be taken without a significant EIT and I may have been in the last cohort of EIT technicians.

    I reviewed graduate engineers' resumes and downgraded for the least hint of exaggeration or prevarication.
     
  4. Dec 2, 2014 #3
    Thanks for your reply Doug. I don't really know what qualifies as an EIT. From what I've heard, it's like working as a technician under an engineer. I've seen degree or equivalent, but I don't understand how to prove the equivalent part. I just wish there was a test to prove that you can do the math and science.
     
  5. Dec 2, 2014 #4

    ZapperZ

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    Put yourself in the shoes of an employer. How is he/she supposed to know of your expertise/skill/knowledge? Simply based on what you say without any formal evidence to back it up? And why would he/she pass up on other more qualified, well-documented engineers and choose you instead?

    Would you let me perform surgery on you if I tell you that I don't have a medical degree, but I've understood how to perform a surgery really, really, really well?

    Zz.
     
  6. Dec 2, 2014 #5

    Doug Huffman

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    I apologize that I misunderstood your "FE" reference as a typographic error for "PE". The FE is new to me. The FE seems to require a degree still.

    Here is the web page of the National Council of Engineering Examiners http://ncees.org/
     
  7. Dec 2, 2014 #6
    Process engineers dont often need a PE. At my job nobody cares about it at all.

    I think it is unlikely you would get considered. At my job we turn down candidates with a BS in engineering for process engineering regularly and usually hire people with a masters and/or work experience. People with a BS or equivalent can get hired as a technician, but again work experience is key.


    Work experience is usually how you show the equivalent part. If you had a previous job as an process engineer or did similar stuff then you can make a case that you are equivalent. That you "can do" the math and science (whatever that means) is not what they are looking for when they say "equivalent".
     
  8. Dec 2, 2014 #7
    I would probably let you perform surgery on me, if I thought that I needed
    I would honestly probably let you perform surgery on me, if you really believed in yourself, and I believed in you too. I have even performed surgery on my pets.

    People see it as a big risk, but I have offered to pay for the flights to meet up for a real interview, asked them for a test created by the scientists/engineers to prove that I know what I'm talking about, but they just say something about it being too expensive or time consuming to make a test.
     
  9. Dec 2, 2014 #8

    ZapperZ

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    Wow! Really!? Many telemarketers would love to speak to you! And oh, btw, your computer is infected!

    You are forgetting that for each job opening, there is a large number of applicants. Why would they waste time on putting the effort on verifying your capabilities when there is already a huge pool of qualified candidates already?

    Zz.
     
  10. Dec 2, 2014 #9
    That's what bothers me. People
    I know this one guy who got a degree in wildlife management. He lied on his linkedin profile and makes 200k a year as a ME. He ended up hiring his friends from baseball to work the same position. Some of them weren't even 20. They were thought to be geniuses, because they're working an engineering position that paid so well. In reality, none of them could do trig, and the management guy failed algebra twice.
     
  11. Dec 2, 2014 #10
    In some states you don't need a degree for the FE, and some schools require you to pass the FE to graduate.
     
  12. Dec 2, 2014 #11

    StatGuy2000

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    To the OP:

    As others have stated before, how would an employer know of your professed knowledge, skills or expertise without either a degree or work experience to match?
    If you want to work as a process engineer, why not simply pursue an engineering degree?

    Which leads me to my next question to you -- what is your current educational background and work experience?
     
  13. Dec 2, 2014 #12
    When I was 14, I started working full time on the family farm. I would usually take school books with me to read while farming. I still do that. I just think it's ridiculous that the only way for people to believe that you've learned anything is through school.

    So many people are stuck on the belief that you only learn things in school. To prove that you learned things in school, you take tests. How do you take all of the tests at once is what I'm wondering.
     
  14. Dec 2, 2014 #13

    ZapperZ

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    Just because you have read a book, it doesn't mean that you have understood it or have acquired useful information. I can give you a classical mechanics text, and I can bet you that even if you have read the book, you will still not be able to build me a a safe bridge.

    There are ways to prove one's skill and knowledge. Tests and certifications are one, a verified work experience is another. Why would anyone hire you when other candidates can provide clearer proof of their expertise? This is the one question that you have neglected to address. You are not applying in a vacuum, and it is naive to think that you are not in competition with others. You are not the only rodeo in town!

    Zz.
     
  15. Dec 3, 2014 #14

    russ_watters

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    Do you have no formal education? Not even a high school diploma? May I ask how old you are? I would think what you are describing would be pretty rare these days. It's a perfect description of my grandfather's educational background, but if he were alive today, he'd be 100.
    You're still totally missing the point. People may or may not believe you in the abstract, but in order to hire you, what matters is what you can prove. I think it is great that you've done a lot of self-study. I really do. But, sorry, if you sent me your resume, it would go straight into the trash.
    You should be able to find yourself an FE practice test to take. Try it. It'll give you an idea of where you stand. But I don't think it is possible in any state in the US to become a PE anymore without a degree.
     
  16. Dec 3, 2014 #15

    Evo

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    Have to agree with Russ, in the old days you could start at the bottom and work your way up. Too many graduates nowadays filling those slots. Things have also become more complex. I'm not saying it's not impossible to find a small engineering firm, start at some menial job and over the years, work you way up, but it's a long road, and no guarantees. Along that road, it would behoove you to take college courses in Engineering.
     
  17. Dec 3, 2014 #16
    I am just wanting to take the tests and certifications. The only certifications I've seen would be for one of those oracle programmers really. That's comp sci though. All the other certifications require several years experience working in management, as an engineer in training, or a degree.

    A lot of people say it doesn't matter what degree you have, you can get a job as anything with just a degree. This would probably make you cringe if the only thing the person knew was what their degree was focused on.
    I understand that. I agree, it seems way easier to be set with a higher salary with a degree. Do most engineers end up set with their salary for the most part? Like the CEO takes all of the money, where as the engineer usually stays at about 70-80k? Why does the FE and PE require a degree? Is it to raise tuition costs?
     
  18. Dec 3, 2014 #17
    I've got an FE practice exam book. It seems really remedial tbh. I guess would you prefer some one with a 34 on the ACT, but no HS diploma, or a 12 with a HS diploma?
     
  19. Dec 3, 2014 #18

    russ_watters

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    Just for clarity, when I said "possible", I meant "legal". You're required by law to have a degree to get a PE in almost all if not all states. My first boss was a non-degreed PE and there were only a limited number of states in which he was allowed to practice, and be grandfathered-in..

    Yes, engineering used to be more of a trade, but it became formalized. It still retains a bit of the "trade" aspect in that to get a PE you need experience - you can't just take the exam cold (unlike, say, the bar exam).
     
  20. Dec 3, 2014 #19

    russ_watters

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    "Seems" means you've just looked it over and not tried to actually take it. Try sitting down and actually taking the practice exam, time limit and all. See how you do.
    No, I would only accept people who graduated (or were about to graduate) with mechanical engineering degrees. Nobody in the professional world looks at ACT scores or high school diplomas/grades because the college degree supercedes them.
     
  21. Dec 3, 2014 #20

    Evo

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    Yeah, my dad was an EE and 50 years ago, he had to get a degree. He worked full time raising a family and went to school at night, legally blind to boot, completely blind in one eye and only able to see through a pinpoint in the other. (from being hit in the face with shrapnel during WWII).
     
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