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Can I get a job with an Associate's Degree?

  1. Dec 18, 2014 #1
    Hi, I have a question: Would I be able to find a job as a an engineer if I only have an associate's degree?
    I'm currently attending a community college and hopefully in one year I'll graduate with an associate's degree in Engineering Science.
    Thank you for taking the time to read my post.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2014 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Probably not. "Engineer" usually means "at least a bachelors".
  4. Dec 18, 2014 #3


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    Depending on your discipline, you may be able to get a job as an electrical designer, mechanical designer, structural designer....etc.

    But no, you will never be an engineer with an associates.

    And when Vanadium says "at least" he may be hinting that even without bachelors degree you still may not be considered an engineer without being a state certified Professional Engineer....or a P.E. Or the equivalent in the all non USA countries.
  5. Dec 20, 2014 #4
    Would I be able to get a job in an engineering field at least (even if I'm not considered an engineer)?
    Thank you for your replies guys!
  6. Dec 20, 2014 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    I don't know what that means. Can you be a janitor at an engineering company? Probably. Can you be the CEO staright out of college? Probably not. There's a huge spectrum in between.
  7. Dec 20, 2014 #6
    Ok I understand what you are saying. Thank you very much for your reply. I really appreciate it.
  8. Dec 20, 2014 #7


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    As said, you could be a designer or technician. Over time, you can rise to a position that is basically an engineer in all but name.
  9. Feb 19, 2015 #8


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    With an associates degree and 12 years as a designer working in an engineering firm with PE's, you might get to take the PE exam. It would be very tough to pass, but if you had acquired a lot of knowledge on the job, it is theoretically possible. I work in an engineering firm and a formerly employed licensed engineer (I am told) had a BA degree in a soft science, but was able to take and pass the PE mech exam after working in the field as a designer. That said, I do NOT personally know him.

    A person with only an associates will need to show documented proof of design experience for 12 (or more, depending upon the state) to even be eligible to attempt the exam. And you may not be able to practice in other states outside of your home state until you then take an EIT exam (backwards process for this route) and you may still be denied unless you can prove equivalent educational experience to an ABET accredited engineering degree.

    However, it starts with getting a job with design responsibilities, if you opt out to join the workforce with an associates. Sometimes economics forces you to travel the longer journey.
  10. Feb 19, 2015 #9
    I don't know what these people are talking about that say you cant, it isn't true. What will happen realistically is that you will have to start out as a CAD designer, draftsman or technician. These are the guys that do all the hands on work. After maybe 10 yeas of experience many places will take you on as an engineer, especially if you have worked on a high profile project or your own projects outside of work. You'll probably never land an exciting engineering job though - most of that is in the research sector. And to tell you the truth most "bachelor degree" level engineering jobs are menial; you'd probably have more fun as a technician. Further, if you get a union job you'll probably have a very high pay, comparable to an engineer.

    With the rising costs of college (Im really surprised and annoyed nobody talks about this on the forums actually), you might be better off stopping at associates and working until this "student loan crisis" is sorted out.
  11. Feb 20, 2015 #10
    This is somewhat off topic, but it does figure in to the equation. Yes, this is a significant concern. To help deal with this, I'm surprised more universities haven't instituted evening and night programs. There weren't exactly common when I went to college, and I still don't see major universities advertising them as much as they do their day programs.

    In one respect, particularly for Engineering, it offers an opportunity for professors to learn from the working class students. It is a well known fact that universities are often very detached from the world around them, and sometimes it is quite necessary. Deliberately remaining ignorant of the "real world", however is never a good thing.

    Toward the OP's point: If you enter the workforce with an AA, I strongly suggest you consider some night or evening classes to get your BS degree. It will make the remainder of your career much easier to sell to a bureaucrat who doesn't know what a real engineer is or does.
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