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Career Change Aerospace

  1. Aug 17, 2010 #1
    Hi guys, I'll start with a little history of myself.

    I entered the University of Illinois (champaign) into the dept of Electrical/Computer engineering thinking that this was what I wanted to do..and to be honest I wasnt very well informed or aware that Computer Engineering was the design and creation of computers. At the time I was looking into programming (computer science) and possibly got into the wrong field. Anyway, after two years of taking all the hard math and physics courses and doing fairly ok in most I decided that I didnt like it as much as I thought.

    I did poorly in some classes because I couldnt manage my time and possibly a small lack of interest. After that door sort of closed on me I decided to change into Aerospace but for that to happen I had to take other courses to bring my GPA up etc etc..

    Long story short, in the interest of graduating on time, I decided to apply all my math and physics into a Mathematical/Quantitative Economics degree. Now that I look back I have some regrets.

    Anyway, the thought of getting an Aerospace degree has NEVER left my mind and now that I'm financially stable with a pretty good job..and debating whether I want to get a Masters in an economics related field (and be financially more stable) or go for what I want, I have decided that I want to persue the degree in Aerospace. I am 26 now, I graduated in 2006 so its been a while.. I have found that the Illinois Institute of Technology offers such a program. The only other school that offers Aerospace is U of I back south in Champaign.

    To be honest I guess Im just asking for some words of wisdom or guidance as I keep thinking that getting a masters would be more worthwhile for my future rather than persuing another bachelors. Yet I cant get the thought out of my mind after watching documentary after documentary on rockets, propulsion, airplanes etc

    I hope this makes some sense.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 17, 2010 #2
    Get a bachelors. If you're going into aerospace engineering, then you will be able to land a very high paying job with just your bachelors (average starting salary is about 60k). You will be happier in life, and believe me, three or four years later, you will thank yourself for having chosen a path that is more suited to your interests.
  4. Aug 18, 2010 #3
    Ask yourself this question. Would you really like to pay for a masters degree in a field you're not even interested in? A masters degree will not change your salary by much, so it boils down to interest. You'll probably be able to have transfer credits on a lot of your math courses, and possibly some of your programming courses, reducing the time required to obtain a B.Eng in Aerospace. Overall, you'll be dishing out more money to get the B.Eng than you would have paid for the Masters, but at least you'll be compensated in the long run by an increase in overall salary and going to work everyday doing something you enjoy. You spend on average 40 hours/week for 35+ years of your life in a career. Why not make it both rewarding and enjoyable?
  5. Aug 18, 2010 #4
    With a mathematics degree, you can usually negotiate with the institution and have them let you take the prerequisite classes for engineering. I think this is a lot easier for physics students, but I've heard of math/CS students doing it as well. If you do well in those classes, you can be registered as an official grad student.

    Definitely talk with some of the departments, don't go for a BS degree. That's a waste of time and you'll probably spend more money anyway. Since you've already got a BS in something quantitative, it doesn't make a huge amount of sense to do so, unless you don't have that much interest in research.
  6. Aug 18, 2010 #5
    I agree with hadsed - don't go for another BS. With a math & physics background, you should be able to catch up by taking some higher level AE courses.

    If it's something you can't stop thinking about, and you think it would make you extremely happy, then go for it. Worst case is that you just switch to a different masters program.
  7. Aug 18, 2010 #6
    All I can say is plan for a specific job and not a specific major. I got a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering (controls and dynamics) but I got it at a university which was no where near where I wanted to live for the rest of my life and now I can't find a job that would actually use what I studied in the places I'd like to live. I managed to get a job in my home town but it's a design engineering position and incredibly boring.

    So I'd suggest figuring out a company or area you'd like to work in first, and then try to get a university in that area because often faculty and local businesses have connections. If you go back to school with a specific company in mind you can intern with em (which will let you be sure if you really want to work for em) and almost be a shoe in after graduating.
  8. Aug 20, 2010 #7
    Thanks for all the suggestions guys. I dont know if i would qualify as going too deep in math physics. I took all the math required for engineering and all but 1 physics course. Either way I did find your information useful and I will be setting up a meeting with a counselor at the University.

    Thank you very much guys/gals!
  9. Jul 18, 2011 #8
    I'd like to thank everyone again, I applied to the Illinois Institute of Technology and just received word that I had been accepted. I'm excited and a little concerned with what changes it may bring. This thread really helped in making me make the decision so thanks again!
  10. Jul 18, 2011 #9
  11. Jul 26, 2011 #10
    =/ Its $15,500 per semester. wow...

    Illinois Institute of Technology..now I'm thinking of just changing to Mechanical and attending UIC instead. I didnt know it was so expensive.
  12. Jul 26, 2011 #11
    Usually if you get a scholarship over a certain amount per year, schools will wave the out-of-state portion of the tuition. You might look into that.
  13. Jul 27, 2011 #12
    Its in state, its just private which is why its so expensive.
  14. Jul 27, 2011 #13
    Well, I doubt many kids or kids' parents have the money to plop down 30k a year in tuition alone. However, usually private colleges give you ways around it. Don't dismiss it just yet is all I'm saying!
  15. Jul 29, 2011 #14
    The only other school that has Aero is in Champaign a few hours away. I'd have to quit my job to pursue that. I'm looking at UIC's Mechanical Eng program which costs half as much per semester. I still havent dismissed it yet, still looking at my possibilites.
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