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Engineering Career transition back into engineering - advice needed

  1. Aug 12, 2011 #1
    Hi -
    I have a question here for the board. Ten years ago I received my Bachelors degree in Industrial Manufacturing and Systems Engineering. Due to economic conditions at the time, I took a job as an analyst and before too long, realized that my career veered down the business path.

    I am currently still working as an analyst and have a well paying job, however, it's not where I want to be. By nature, I'm a very active person and would ultimately enjoy a job (any job!) that doesn't require me staring at a computer the entire day. In order to make some changes in my career I have enrolled in a college to pursue a second bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. I actually chose this over the ME program because I wanted to use my hands, to learn to weld, machine and do things I felt would be beneficial for my personal satisfaction.

    Here is my question. To complete the program I would probably be looking at 2-3 years of night classes but a part of me says that perhaps I should just take some of the core classes (such as engineering drawing and some MET specific courses) to get my knowledge base up and then market myself as an IE w/ some MET courses under my belt. By doing so, I'll save myself the additional cost of schooling and might be able to jump back into the engineering work force more rapidly. Please provide thoughts if I should approach my education this way or follow through with a secondary bachelors degree. I should also note that I will be attending part time and paying as I go so I won't be taking out a massive loan but learning gradually while holding down my analyst job.

    Also, I wanted to ask the board what positions in ME/MET would allow for some type of physical activity? I did a co-op as an IE years ago on a factory floor and absolutely loved the nature of this job compared to my cubicle environment now. A part of me is very interested in Field Service work but I fear that I could find myself being a technician only and not really expanding my knowledge base.

    I greatly appreciate all suggestions, thoughts, input, feedback in helping me with my decision and plan...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2011 #2
    I would recommend following through and finishing the MET degree. Otherwise, it may be difficult to get someone to notice these "continuing education" classes on your resume.

    For the away-from-the-desk and hands on, consider:

    * field service engineer, start up engineer, sales engineer, or applications engineer (some positions).

    * Thermal performance engineer at a power plant. I had this job some time ago. You get to walk down the plant all the time.

    * You may also consider getting a position as a "3rd party inspector" which is basically someone hired to inspect machines for another company to far away to see it.

    * Another choice may be an ASME Section VIII, Division 1 Authorized Inspector (AI). These individuals visit facilities all over the place and, among other duties, witness pressure testing of "U Stamped" pressure vessels.
     
  4. Aug 13, 2011 #3
    Boston University has a program aimed to retrain individuals that are out of college to become engineers:

    http://www.bu.edu/eng/academics/special-programs/leap/

    The only downside is that you would have to move to Boston if you don't live near it and it costs money.

    On the plus side, it is 2-3 years and you leave with a Masters.
     
  5. Aug 14, 2011 #4
    Edgepflow,

    Thanks for the excellent feedback and advice! Do you have any suggestions for obtaining entry positions into the nuclear industry? Is it a growing sector and what is the best way to position myself to find employment?

    I don't know much about the energy areas but it does interest me.

    But thanks for your previous post and researching those positions you specified helps me immensely for my career transition and what I hope to be doing after getting my degree.
     
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