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Engineering Career Change: Forestry -> Engineering

  1. Nov 10, 2011 #1
    Career Change: Forestry --> Engineering

    I am contemplating returning to school to complete a BS in Engineering (possibly Environmental). I went to school 10 years ago planning to start an engineering program and was distracted by fighting wildland fires and ended up with a Forest Resources BS.

    10 years of working for the Forest Service and I'm bored to tears. I find myself doing things like taking Calc II classes in the winter to entertain my self.

    I am 28 now, debt free and I'm seriously considering applying to my local University to begin the course work I would need to complete to apply to a professional program. Environmental Engineering seems like it is in line with my first degree in terms of working outside and designing things that help/modify the environment. It also seems to have a decent job market, 31% increase in the next 5/6 years according to BLS.

    The cost/benefit in terms of future salary versus current salary+tuition seems a no brainer.

    Has anyone done this or something similar?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2011 #2
    Re: Career Change: Forestry --> Engineering

    I haven't personally, but there are tons of people who take their experience with certain industries and get the education/certification required to elevate them to higher levels in that field. It is certainly doable, and if you don't mind going back to school and can afford the tuition/are willing to work on the side, then it is a great idea. Engineering is a great field and if you look around you can generally find something that you are genuinely intrested in.
  4. Nov 11, 2011 #3


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    Re: Career Change: Forestry --> Engineering

    There are often discussions on this forum about the pros and cons of getting a second bachelor's degree. Many argue it's a better use of your time to get a master's.

    In your case, your bachelor's may be sufficient to get into a master's program, provided you take classes to make up any deficiencies. Have you considered that path?
  5. Nov 11, 2011 #4
    Re: Career Change: Forestry --> Engineering

    Because of the coursework required for my forestry degree, I will have to go back and retake courses at a higher level of rigor. IE - Chem 142 vs Chem 221

    Unfortunately, I am fairly certain this will prevent me from applying to a masters program in engineering. I am looking at 3-3.5 years of school before I am back in the job market.

    I could finish a civil or construction engineering management degree in less time, but feel the that job prospects in civil do not warrant the debt I will likely take on.

    Is it typical or advantageous to work for an engineering firm in the summer? I could continue fighting wildland fire in the summer and probably cover my costs as a student by working for 3 months.
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