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Engineering Is engineering right for me as a career?

  1. Aug 24, 2012 #1
    I just started my senior year of high school and am considering engineering. The problem is I haven't taken any chemistry or physics classes but i am good at math and feel like I would enjoy doing engineering along with the hard work included. Also another problem is that my high school only offers one physics online class with minimal outside help and doesn't even offer chemistry this year. My grades are good and I am a dedicated hard worker so I don't see the problem in that, just the fact that I haven't been exposed to the basic areas worries me.

    If not engineering I am strongly just considering a science major but then again no physics or chemistry background. (biology, physical science, marine biology, and environmental science are currently the science credits I have so far)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 25, 2012 #2
    Going a route where you need to study physics or chemistry will be difficult, if you don't have the required background knowledge. You can of course study the basics on your own, but it will take more work on top of the more advanced studies.

    The studies for different engineering disciplines vary a lot though in how much math, physics or chemistry is involved. You should think more specifically what areas of engineering you're interested in.
  4. Aug 25, 2012 #3


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    Education Advisor

    Where exactly do you study in high school? At least here in Canada (more specifically, here in the province of Ontario, Canada), physics and chemistry are pretty basic courses which are requirements for entry into most science and engineering programs, and are universally offered in high schools.

    As an aside, I have never heard of marine biology being offered as part of a high school curriculum (the situation may be different in the coastal areas of Canada), and environmental science was offered in my old high school, but I'm not sure how widely this course is available in Ontario.
  5. Aug 25, 2012 #4


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    Universities typically have introductory chemistry and physics classes for students who didn't take them in high school, no? It might lengthen your degree program by a semester or two, but it is an option, and you could at least take the math prerequisites to the engineering degree program and some breath courses/gen eds while catching up on physics and chemistry.

    Also check the degree requirements of the engineering programs you're interested in.
  6. Aug 25, 2012 #5
    I am an engineer. When I was in high school, I was very interested in ham radio and computers. With help, I built my own ham radio station. I experimented with 10 GHz microwave Gunnplexers. I built audio compandering gear. I played with early versions of Packet Radio equipment. I fixed two way radios for a summer job. All this was in the late 1970s. I graduated high school in 1981.

    I knew in the core of my being that I wanted nothing more than to become an electrical engineer. It wasn't easy. My math background was not great, though my interest in science, particularly physics, was very high. I didn't do well in calculus, though I passed it nicely the second time around in college.

    The reason I mention all this is because you WILL need these skills and this level of interest if you intend to get through all of this stuff. If the notion of studying the Shrodinger Wave Equation doesn't seem all that enticing; if the history of the Michaelson-Morely interferometer experiments doesn't impress you; if the notion of boundary layers in fluid dynamics, or thermodynamic triple points doesn't do it for you; then engineering isn't for you.

    I make a comfortable living as an engineer, but I don't make the big money. It takes enthusiasm and a willingness to learn lots of new things every day to make it in this field. And above all, you have to have a creative itch to build something. If this isn't you, then do something else.
  7. Aug 26, 2012 #6
    High school chemistry and physics are typically not very rigorous and the material is all repeated in undergrad classes. So no worries there.

    So go for it! Some people love engineering and some don't. You won't know where you stand till you try.
  8. Aug 26, 2012 #7
    Thanks guys, I live in a smallish town in alaska. I was specifically thinking environmental engineering. Would I be able to get into a average acceptance rate college for their engineering school?
  9. Aug 26, 2012 #8
    Getting accepted isn't usually all that difficult. Studying hard, and staying ahead of your educational demands is. Environmental Engineering may seem like a lightweight version of engineering, but don't fool yourself. All engineering disciplines have killer courses in them that weed out those whose hearts aren't really in it.
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