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Engineering Should I finish my engineering associates degree?

  1. Apr 29, 2017 #1
    I'm currently working towards a bachelor's degree in physics, and then hopefully a master's degree after that. I'm trying to decide if I should finish an associate's degree in engineering science that I almost finished before I switched to physics.

    My question is if an associate's degree in engineering science from a community college will make someone with a physics degree more employable. I understand it's possible to do engineering work with a physics degree, and I thought the associate's degree might help with this.

    I have another question that's somewhat related. Would a minor in computer science compliment a degree in physics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 29, 2017 #2


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    My two cents:
    If it's almost finished and getting one degree does not eliminate you from being accepted (or getting financial aid) for the physics degree, then by all means finish it. You never know what might happen and who will want an engineering background.

    I think that a strong computer background complements practically any modern science degree.
  4. Apr 30, 2017 #3
    In general, I agree with FactChecker's comments above. If you are close to completing your associate's degree in engineering (not too much time and money needed), and can do so without negative consequences on your current bachelor's program in physics, then do so. Can't hurt as such (and the associate's degree could serve as a backup in case you don't complete the bachelor's program). Just be sure not to delay too long, however: i.e., make sure you complete the associate's degree before you complete the bachelor's degree. On your resume, you want to show steady academic progress. An associate's degree followed by a bachelor's degree would do that; but if you were to complete the bachelor's degree first, and then decide to finish the associate's degree, that would probably raise a red flag.

    That said, I'm not sure that an associate's degree in engineering in addition to a bachelor's degree in physics will help much in getting you a job later on. I worked for 20+ yrs in a major corporate R&D lab. We hired support personnel (lab techs, research assistants, engineering assistants, ...) with various degrees ranging from HS to associate's to bachelor's. I assume when you complete your bachelor's in physics (and possibly a master's, as you stated), you will want a job with responsibilities and salary commensurate with a bachelor's or master's. If an employer is looking for candidates with a bachelor's or master's in physics, then the associate's degree in engineering would probably count for little. If an employer is looking for candidates with a bachelor's or masters in engineering, your credentials probably won't cut it (i.e., why hire you over candidates with a bachelor's or master's in engineering?). If an employer is looking for candidates with an associate's in engineering, you'll probably be overqualified and will not be considered (after all, you switched out of engineering to physics, and, even if hired, you will probably split once you can find a higher-level position).
  5. Apr 30, 2017 #4


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    Most people who hire and maybe plenty more, may be naturally not see much credit or value in A.A. degree, at least in Engineering. Go ahead and disagree with this if you have something to say about it, since what I say is only my opinion; but I agree with what ChrysPhys said above. Still, nothing wrong about completing the A.A. degree. It just shows that you finished something. If one has just an associate degree and a few years of work experience, then he should be confident in promoting his skills and experience along with what value he can point to in his associates degree education.
  6. May 1, 2017 #5


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    The detail provided later in the post speaks to this, but I still think it is important to point out that....
    ...as far as I know, there is no such thing as an associates degree in engineering, and more to the point, the OP said "engineering science", which is almost certainly not claimed by the school to actually be be an engineering degree.

    So in that context, while I would agree that if you are very close to finishing it you may as well, the value is pretty low for someone who intends to get more advanced degrees in other subjects.

    Or to put it more succinctly; you won't be able to say on a resume/in an interview "I'm an engineer and a physicst" after getting this and your physics degree.

    Last edited: May 1, 2017
  7. May 1, 2017 #6
    Yes, the OP did say associate degree in engineering science. However, an associate degree in engineering does exist; e.g., https://www.durhamtech.edu/asut/ae.htm. You can also get an associate degree in engineering technology; e.g., https://www.nu.edu/OurPrograms/Scho...ssociateofScienceinEngineeringTechnology.html.

    But, regardless of exactly how the associate degree is designated, I still stand by my first post. When I hired lab support personnel, I didn't distinguish between the various associate degrees: it was an issue of HS diploma, 2 yr degree, or 4 yr degree.
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
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