1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Help deciding between BS and AAS in mechanical engineering

  1. Dec 20, 2009 #1
    Hi everyone in the forums, this is obviously my first post here... Ive been faced with a dilemma which consists of which career path to continue.

    Ive been in college for some time now: I started going to school in 04 for architecture, but realized it wasn't for me two years later, in 06. From 06-07 I went to automotive school, graduated, and decided to go back to school. I switched my major to Mechanical Engineering because I always loved to design things, later on finding out it wasnt houses/buildings :-p, but rather cars. Most of my credits transferred over, but I still would be in school for 2 and maybe even more years. So here it is almost 2010 and I'm sick of school lol. That, compounded with the fact that I'm running low on money (dont want to take out another 50k+ just to finish school), I decided to do some research these past few days. I'd never thought about trying to get an AAS (Associate of Applied Science) nor have I ever really known what it was until a few days ago. Going this route, assuming my credits get transferred, I'd be out by next year (and with a lot less debt) . Now that I've gained an idea about what it is, I decided to try and get some advice from people in the field on here.

    1) Exactly HOW limited would my job selection be? I know there are some companies who only hire people with a BS, but I ran across quite a few job descriptions which required a bs OR an aas.

    2) A friend of mine was telling me that one of the differences between an engineer with a BS and an AAS is that the engineer with the BS actually designs items and the one with the AAS is more or less their helper: making sure all parts fit together correctly, etc....

    3) Does anyone have or heard of any horror stories of someone or themselves applying for a job in the engineering field, but getting turned down because they "only" had an AAS?

    Any info or input from some knowledgeable people would be HIGHLY appreciated!! Thanx!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 20, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Looking at the title of the thread, I think you have a huge misconception. Engineering degrees are usually 4+ yrs in length (depending on where you are located) and lead to a Bachelors degree. There is really no such thing as AAS in EE or Mech Eng for example. An "engineer" with an AAS is most likely to be classified as an engineering technician or a mere technician. With this title comes the job limitations of applying for a engineering position which requires a BS or higher.

    If you wanna make a career out of being an engineer, then you need a BS, not a AAS.
  4. Dec 20, 2009 #3
    Some community colleges offer AAS in engineering. It is different than the engineering technology track which offers alot of hands on experience and little theory.

    The AAS is exactly half a bachelor. If you are doing one in EE, the course requirement includes calculus III and differential equations, intro to circuits and digital design (exactly same courses you'd take when working on a bachelors, including lab)

    I know this one guy that got AAS in EE first, he got a job subsequently as a bench tech assisting engineers, and making over $50,000 salary. Once he paid his debts and got his life on track, he went back to school and got a bachelors in EE. Now the kicker is, because he worked in the EE environment, he earned himself alot of experience points on the resume. Upon getting the bachelors he found a sweet job due to his prior experience, while other fresh grads were finding entry level jobs.

    AAS is certainly better than nothing. If you search jobs on monster, you could find like 1 in 10 that require a minimum associate in engineering.

    here is a government report on Engineering techs:
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  5. Dec 20, 2009 #4
    wow that link was very helpful!!

    The school i was considering has an AS in engineering and an AAS in mech engineering tech.

    How much more worth it do you think it would be to get my BS instead of AAS in my scenario (involving high amounts of loans, time it would take to complete either of the two, etc--) or just in general? Anyone take the AAS route and regret it? or vice versa? thanx!
  6. Dec 20, 2009 #5
    It's much more worth it, the job outlook demands alot of bachelors. But AAS is not the end of the world either, you always have an option to upgrade to a bachelors in 2 years.

    But if you are going to do it, go all the way and get a bachelors.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook