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How to become an Engineer while on active duty?

  1. Jun 26, 2015 #1
    Hello everyone. I am new to this site and I wonder is it possible to become an Engineer while on active duty? I am currently in school but not for engineering. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my math classes and I work as a helicopter mechanic and have for the last 13 years. I love figuring out how a helicopter works. Unfortunately, I am currently stationed overseas so an Engineering degree is very difficult to obtain. Does anyone have any suggestions on which classes I should take that would transfer once I find a school? Any suggestions on a school? Any info from a current Engineer or someone attending class to become an engineer would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you in advance,
    Brandon Eyres
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2015 #2
    Is it possible to take online courses with a (reputable) university? Not necessarily engineering courses, but perhaps you could get your general elective humanities courses and your math/science courses out of the way.
  4. Jun 26, 2015 #3


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    It would help if you could tell us what sort of engineering you plan to study.

    If your branch of service is the Army, this site may answer some of your questions:

    http://www.goarmy.com/benefits/education-benefits/army-education/taking-classes-while-in-the-army.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  5. Jun 26, 2015 #4


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    As Steamking said, the first thing you should do is figure out what kind of engineer you want to be. That will determine what courses you'll have to take.

    It depends on the school, really. A lot of your general education classes should transfer, but as far as I know most schools require that you get a certain number of credits from them before issuing a degree.

    Are you coming back to the States within the next year or two?
  6. Jun 27, 2015 #5


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    Do you want to continue working on helicopters? Perhaps investigate what training you need to work on civil copters. Perhaps post the question on the Pilots forum "Prune". eg Are there any jobs? What quali do you need etc. I believe they have a section for helicopters and military.

  7. Jun 27, 2015 #6
    I am currently taking general courses from a regionally accredited school. I have thought of either aerospace, mechanical, or electrical engineering. I will be back stateside in a little less than a year. I am not to sure that I want to continue to be the mechanic working on the helicopter, due to the fact the military, the job numerous deployments have started to wear on my body. I would love to understand the engineering behind them, which is why I think aerospace engineering is my number one pick. Thank you everyone for the info!
    Brandon Eyres
  8. Jun 27, 2015 #7


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    I recommend finding a college here in the states where you'll be coming back to and talking with them about transferring credits to see what they accept. That way you're not taking courses that you may not be able to transfer.
  9. Jun 29, 2015 #8


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    Arizona State University offers a BS in Electrical Engineering that is Abet accredited and 100% online. I've read a few reviews and they are pretty favorable in general. Also, they have a scholarship for military so you will only have to pay for books. Basically, ASU takes you're full TA ($250 per credit hr) and the school covers the rest. Talk to your adviser about it, should you elect to attend.

  10. Jun 29, 2015 #9


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    I suspect Arizona State listed by Cod to be a superior school to Thomas Edison State College that I have suggested to others (and you). However, Thomas Edison has Engineering Technology Degrees which may be more in line with what you can DO NOW. Thomas Edison makes an extra effort to work with individuals in the US military on overseas assignments. I believe you might be best served by their Mechanical engineering technology program.
    The downside of using Thomas Edison:
    Only the Nuclear engineering program is ABET accredited.
    Other Engineering Technology programs are NOT ABET accredited. This has down the road implications if you want to pursue a formal professional engineering license. If you graduate with a non-ABET accredited degree, getting a PE license can take years longer to qualify to sit for the exam, to just not being able to sit for the exam, PERIOD. This may not actually affect your ability to get a job as an engineer, just the ability to stamp designs (fyi: most engineers do not bother to become licensed, so this doesn't affect a lot of engineers either).
    Ideally, you would find a program that offers you exactly the degree you want (aeronautical??), but the reality is, you will have to select a program that is available to you, that you can do, and that you can finish. Attending any other program is likely to be a waste of your time, not because you can't get in or aren't qualified, you simply can't make just anything work under your circumstances.
  11. Jun 29, 2015 #10
    I don't know if your military has a similar program,
    but I went through engineering with a couple of people who were doing the ROTP program through the Canadian Military. Was a pretty sweet deal for them, the military paid for 100% of their tuition and books, and continued paying their salaries during their time.
    Downsides were during the off semesters they were in training camps, and I think had to commit to an additional 5 years after graduation.
    Something to look into :)
  12. Jun 29, 2015 #11
    Thank you for that info! I was hoping to find something like that and have not. I have requested information from them we will see how this goes. I cannot thank you enough for this! I am actually really excited to see what they say, Thank you again.
    Brandon Eyres
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