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Programs Schooling Guidance Bachelors, Masters, PhD?

  1. Aug 21, 2012 #1
    I am currently a Sophomore at Northern Arizona University in the Mechanical Engineering Department and I am struggling to decide whether or not I want to go to Grad school or not.

    I recently talked to one of my father's friends who retired from Motorola, he was Vice President of one of the sectors over there. He graduated from ASU with a Bachelors in Electrical/Computer Engineering degree (back then the two degrees were together). I asked about getting at least a Masters in Mechanical Engineering and he told me he wouldn't recommend it as the two years spent in school could be spent with obtaining actual job experience. I thought about possibly getting a Master's in Business and he said that wouldn't be a bad idea as most companies would pay for it. He explained that he wouldn't get a Master's in the same field though (Mechanical Engineering).

    I am fairly open to different jobs, I am a little partial to the Automobile industry or Aerospace though. Money isn't a huge issue, as I am sure I will live comfortably with any Mechanical Engineering degree, but how big is the difference in pay between a Bachelor's, Masters, and a PhD? From what I understand it isn't necessarily the degree you have, but the experience you have. Also, I understand a PhD is typically for those who want to teach, or want to do R&D. I like the idea of R&D, but teaching...not so much, not of any interest to me.

    What are your guys' thoughts and opinions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 21, 2012 #2
    As soon as you get an opportunity to accrue engineering experience in a field of interest to you, take it. Sometimes companies have a minimum criteria of Masters degree for engineering positions; however, this is usually not the case. Sometimes companies equate the 1 year of a full time masters program to 1-3 years industry experience. Sometimes they don't. Additionally, it is possible to work full time in industry and pick up a masters degree over 3-5 years part time.

    Most companies I've worked for value ( experience >> level of degree).
  4. Aug 21, 2012 #3
    Thanks a lot for the response...I have 3 years to decide what I want to do, but I figured I would get some feedback from others.
  5. Aug 21, 2012 #4


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    My cousin got a 2-year associates degree from a community college and started working for GE as a programmer on the backscatter OTH radar program here in Maine. He and his family have been moved all over the world (including 5 years in OZ) so he could supervise defense projects.

    It's not the letters behind your name. It's what you can do with what you've got.
  6. Aug 21, 2012 #5
    That seems to be sort of the universal agreement...its not about the degree, but experience and how you perform. Well thanks for the response!
  7. Aug 21, 2012 #6


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    I hope this helps. We have to live our own lives and we should not have to buy a piece of paper to prove that we are worthy. What can can you do?
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