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Engineering jobs for a naturalized US citizen

  1. Apr 12, 2017 #1
    I want to obtain a mechanical engineering degree and work in a respective field in USA. But I will be looking for ME jobs as a naturalized US citizen (I am from Europe, but will soon become US citizen). I heard that it would be harder for me to find a job as any kind of engineer because I can't/don't have a security clearance as a consequence of haven't been born in USA. In fact someone tried to discourage me form pursuing this career, saying that I wont be as hireable as naturally born engineers because employers prefer the kind of engineers that can work on a variety of projects and some of them may require security clearance. Question: is this claim valid? And if so, to what degree? Should I still pursue mechanical engineering, or some other? Thank you in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 13, 2017 #2

    Randy Beikmann

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    Gold Member

    Many (maybe most) jobs don't require a security clearance. I work in the automotive field, and there are plenty of foreign-born mechanical engineers here. Many were not even citizens when they hired in.

    If you want to work in the defense industry, every applicant goes through a security clearance. I can't speak to the impact of foreign birth on that. I'm sure it's a factor, but how much?
  4. Apr 13, 2017 #3
    I worked for the US Navy, and we had a lot of foreign born engineers. We were so lucky as to even have one from Iran who turned out to be a spy! But, he had a security clearance anyway. Foreign birth in not an insurmountable barrier to US security clearance.

    What Randy said about many jobs not requiring a clearance is also true. So, don't let your birthplace stop you.
  5. Apr 13, 2017 #4
    I think rarely will a naturalized citizen have any issues, if at all. I am naturalized and all I get asked is if I am a citizen. But to make sure, you do mean naturalized citizen vs a resident alien, you don't "just become" naturalized.
  6. Apr 18, 2017 #5
    I know a lot of foreign-born engineers. I think you would be surprised about how many foreign-born engineers work in the U.S.A. Look up some data on it, if you must.
    As far as the guy who told you not to pursue a career in mechanical engineering, I would avoid people like him/her. Pursue the career that you find most rewarding. For me and many others, that is mechanical engineering. I have dealt with people trying to discourage me from it as well, but I ignored them. I can't do anything else. I've never seriously thought about doing anything else.

    It doesn't matter where you were born. If you were born to be a mechanical engineer, then get into the field.
  7. Apr 18, 2017 #6


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Where did you get the idea that the overwhelming majority of jobs in the US require such security clearance?

  8. May 13, 2017 #7
    Thank you all for your kind responses. I would like to add, after doing more personal research regarding the subject matter, the source of citizenship does not play any role in qualification or disqualification of obtaining a security clearance. I found it on FAQ of ClearanceJobs.com. The individual who insisted that it was the case was simply wrong.
  9. May 14, 2017 #8


    Staff: Mentor

    To be clear, only US Citizens native or naturalized can get a security clearance if sponsored by a company,or government entity. You can't apply for it yourself:

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