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Going back to school to transition to engineering

  1. Jun 15, 2012 #1
    Hello all. My question is going to require some background.

    I'm 23 years old. In 2011 I graduated with a BA in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I've had a lifelong passion for aviation. After college, I decided to enter a professional program at a local community college to become an aircraft mechanic. In doing so, I've discovered a love for learning how mechanical things work the way they do that goes beyond just fixing them, as well as rekindling a long lost love for science and technology.

    As a result, I've become interested in going back to school to become an engineer. My end game scenario, ideally, would be to work for someone like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, etc. The plan to get there would involve going back to UNCG this fall and either getting a 4 year physics degree and moving on to a Masters of Aeronautical Engineering program, or doing a pre-engineering transfer program they have that would allow me to go to NC State for AE in 1-2 years, and then do the masters.

    My quandary, however, is a combination of my current age and the length of study. I am concerned that I will be approaching 30 or over 30 by the time I finish with all of this, and will never have worked a full time job in the industry. I am hoping that once I finish with my aircraft mechanic program (summer of 2013) I will be able to go to school and work full time 2nd shift, at least for a year or two of industry experience, and then combine this with my education. But I don't know if that will be possible yet.

    So, gentlemen of this physics forum that I recently discovered: what say you? Am I too far behind the curve to be considering this? I am afraid I will finish everything up and be competing with people who are my age now with the same or similar qualifications to mine, and I'll be 4-5 years older without a lot of professional experience. I suppose internships are an option but, again, I am concerned about my age and my status as a second degree student instead of an initial undergrad.

    Any help or advice that anyone can give will be most welcome. Thank you very much in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 15, 2012 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Well, you're going to be 30 someday no matter what you do. It's up to you to decide whether you reach that with or without an engineering degree.

    If you are worried about time, though, I would not start with a physics degree. If you want to be an engineer, get an engineering degree.
  4. Jun 15, 2012 #3
    Well, it's a matter of what I'm able to get, for what cost, in what amount of time.

    I can go back to my local university where I got my first degree, it's cheap, and I don't have to move or worry about all of the annoying core classes like English or Fine Arts. I've already done all that. All I need to do is go back and take the math and science stuff. Of course, I can transfer out to get a BS in Engineering, but either way I'll be starting out in physics.
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