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Too late to be an engineer? View All
Greetings. I am a soon-to-be-retired Military officer with a degrees in fields completely unrelated to engineering, or math and science, for that matter. I am considering returning to college to study engineering. I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts on studying engineering/becoming an engineer a little later in life.

4 years ago - 9 months left to answer. - 4 responses - Report Abuse
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Nathaniel
Age by itself should not be prevent you from studying engineering. The challenge will be your science and math preparation and your ability to learn.

If you are truly interested in pursuing a career as an engineer now that you are leaving the military take the time to have a detailed assessment of your educational foundation. This can be done by talking to a counselor at a near by community college to see what you need to do to determine your readiness to enter an engineering program. The military may even have some programs to help you with these evaluations.

If you find yourself to be lacking in some of the necessary math or science skill consider starting in an Engineering Technology program and then working towards eventually getting your Engineering Degree.

What ever happens I wish you luck.

Niel Leon
Community Developer - engineering.com


4 years ago

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David
When I was taking Engineering at University there was several people over 35 in my starting year. One I believe was 45 (I never saw anyone take as many classes as him). Your Age should not deter you from taking Engineering but be aware there will be many challenges if you have not keep up your Math and Science skills as usually the course structures assumes you have the basic knowledge of them.

You always could try it for a year and see if you like it, but remember to do what you love, that's the important thing.

BTW: When I went to University I didn't need a High School Diploma and it is still not required there, as they don't care if Social Studies was taken or not. I just needed a high average in 5 specific subjects.



4 years ago

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Michael
Age does not matter at all. I know this for a fact because I just earned my engineering degree and I'm pushing 40. In fact, I'm even considering about going back to college and earn my Master's Degree despite being in my mid-40's when I finally do earn my degree.

The only thing that will be required for you to do is to build up your mathematical and scientific comprehension. However, if you are truly interested in becoming an engineer do exactly what I did and take a few Engineering Technology Courses instead. By taking a few Engineering Technology Courses at the beginning, you can not only gain book knowledge that is required just to become an engineer but you can also gain valuable hands on knowledge that is required to become a respectable engineer.


4 years ago

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AKJohn
I'm also a retired military member in school. I was enrolled in an engineering technology field (geomatics-surveying) and left it because it was too superficial at the math and science level. Now I'm attempting a B.S. in math, with a minor in physics. I regret not completing a computer science degree or entering into an electrical engineering program myself.

I strongly recommend talking to practicing engineers in your age group to find out about what is actually required and what careers feel like. I'd also stop by the closest university school or college of engineering to talk to some faculty members. As an experienced military officer, you will have many advantages (and credibility) that, in my opinion, will trump any age issues. I think this would be most true in civil engineering. There are, as you've no doubt found, many books and videos concerning the "so you want to be an engineer" question.

Although there is a math and science grind to survive, it seems to me that most engineers in practice use established math and science practices than actually "do" math and science, again, this might be more true in Civil Engineering. The point of engineering education seemed to be to find those who were able to deal with large volumes of technical material and use it to create solutions, all inside a constrained time and resource budget. Most of all, this must happen in a collaborative environment. This is introduced and reinforced throughout the engineering education process, because it seemed the engineering students operated under academic loads that individuals alone could not handle.

The math, physics, and maybe the chemistry will be trying. At a minimum, I very seriously recommend getting a handle on these subjects before attending engineering classes: College Algebra, Trigonometry, and two semesters of algebra and trig-based Physics (mechanics, electricity, magnetism). If you can fit Calc I in beforehand you'll have an advantage. A book like Morris Klin


3 years ago

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