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Making move into Engineering
Last Post 22 Dec 2014 09:15 AM by Mark Oakley. 0 Replies.
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Mark Oakley
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22 Dec 2014 09:15 AM
    To make a long story shorter: I am an Army Officer who was assigned as an Engineer despite having a business degree and logistics experience. Frankly, for the Combat-side of the house, a lack of technical knowledge is not problematic. On the construction and Engineering side of the house, I am feeling the pinch. Frankly, it is not really "needed" but I have found a lack of degree to be a bit of a challenge during certain projects and assignments. The Army is also making a big effort to get degreed Engineers and professionals with other credentials.

    Due to all this, I am feeling very motivated to go ahead and make the move completely into Engineering. To do this, I am going to work on a MS in Civil Engineering since there are no reputable online bachelor's programs that offer an online ABET-accredited degree. I know this will not set me up as well as a BSCE and MSCE would, but I feel it is a step in the right direction. I will also have the ability to earn a MS in Geological Engineering through the Army.

    The good news is that I started off in a hard-science, so I have a lot of the math and science needed. I have found three programs who can work with me on earning a MS in CE. Florida, SMU, and Norwich all have programs which I can pursue.

    Primarily, for the rest of my career, I will be in Operations and Engineering Management and not as much in design or highly technical roles. I may find some DPW or Facilities assignments which will start to border on more technical, but still not something that would require someone to be of the caliber of a PE. Does anyone have an opinion of these schools and their overall reputation? Does anyone have a recommendation on a specific discipline I should choose within CE (Structural, Geotech, Public Works, etc)? I was somewhat surprised to find the variety of options offered at each school.

    My largest concern is that I am building a resume in Engineering, but will probably not be able to fully get to the level that I could pursue PE licensure (unless I really have an inflated idea of the PE licensure and examination in my head). In the Army, this will not be a huge deal, but could be a bit problematic IF I were to have to get out of the Army (injury, downsizing, etc) or when I retire if I need to continue to work for a bit. This brings me to my big questions:

    -Are there really decent job options out there for someone with a semi-technical background, 2 Masters-level Engineering degrees, Operations/Management experience, contracting(actual contracts not just construction contracting), and PM experience (I will take the PMP exam after this deployment)? I am concerned that I will start to build a resume in Engineering and then not be remotely competitive because I will not be a PE and I will be older/experience in other aspects of Engineering.

    -Should I consider trying to pursue the PE? Is it really the monsters that some make it out to be? Is it obtainable for someone who studies only at the Masters level?

    Any other thoughts or advice is extremely welcome as well.

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