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Best technology diploma to take before engineering degree?

  1. Oct 10, 2012 #1
    Hi there,

    Brand new to the forum, though I have been reading many topics here over the last while.

    I'm 33, been out of school for many years and am making a career change. I originally took business administration, but hated it, and now i'm going to do what I should have done in the first place.

    I'm interested in engineering, and very good at math (94%), with a huge interest in physics and chemistry. I've decided to go back to college next year - starting with a diploma of technology from a technical institute (either BCIT, SAIT or possibly NAIT). I don't qualify for student assistance so I can't go directly to university (can't afford it). From there, I intend to work for a couple of years, save some money and then go back for the last two years and get the degree.

    But here's where i'm kind of iffy. I've been looking at chemical engineering technology for a long time (even before I took business). Also very interested in mechanical engineering technology. Looking at degree options, i'm leaning towards materials engineering (or maybe petroleum engineering?). Ultimately, I want to be working in the energy industry after graduating. I doubt i'll stop at a bachelors either and will likely pursue a masters.

    What in your opinions are the best engineering technology programs to start with? Which will provide the most solid base for further education? Which have the best employment prospects? Which are the most interesting?

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2012 #2
    Welcome to PF.

    "Employment prospects" depends heavily on your definition of employment prospects. If you mean average salary, then engineering is at the top compared to all other bachelor's degrees. you mean by unemployment, then engineering isn't so good because of the labor unions in the field make sure that the wage is higher than the equilibrium wage (resulting in an oversupply of engineers). Of course, there is always some location that demands engineers, so it's only a matter of time before you get a job, but engineers usually take longer than others to *find* jobs and often this involves moving to a remote plant or design station. This is partly because of the unions, but also partly because it's such a professional field that the volume of workers is quite low compared to say the work that psychology majors usually end up doing. Once they (engineers) secure their jobs, their jobs are usually much better paying, with much more benefits than any other major out there. Unions are much weaker in non-technical fields, hence the constant circulation and instability of workers in those fields (with poor benefits and wages, but more chance of a job).

    Don't choose your major just yet. Pick any engineering see how it goes, and then make the necessary switch. I am in EE right now, but contemplating chemE but I'm waiting until I take the circuit analysis classes.

  4. Oct 10, 2012 #3

    One thing you will want to consider is that it might not be that easy to transfer from a technology diploma to an engineering degree with transfer credit unless you do one of the few bridge programs offered in Canada (I'm assuming this is where you're from?). The two schools that I know of that offer a bridge directly to 3rd year engineering are Camosun (Van Island) and Lakehead University (Thunder Bay). There are bridges for ElecE, MechE, SoftwareE, ChemE, CivilE, and MiningE. The bridge programs are known to be incredibly tough.

    I'm not sure if you've looked into this yet, but it's definitely worth considering!

    All the best,
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