How Far Can You Go with an Engineering Undergrad Degree?

Ahmed writes:
I’m planning to transfer to Cal State Poly Pomona as an engineering major but I’m getting some conflicting info and hope you can help me sort it out. Someone with a BS from Cal State Poly Pomona told me that you can’t really do anything with an engineering degree lower than a master’s.

Is that true? I’m also trying to find out in what specialty are the engineering jobs going to coming from in the next 5-10 years. Someone else told me a mechanical engineering degree isn’t worth much more than the paper it is printed on. I hope you can give me some sound information.

The Career Doctor responds:
I’m not an expert on all the ins and outs of what you can do with an engineering degree but I do know the numerous specializations include mechanical engineering chemical engineering civil engineering nuclear engineering aeronautical engineering and others.

Rather than listening to rumors or opinions of other students I would do some real investigating. The best source? The faculty at Cal State Poly Pomona. Just because you are not a student there does not mean you can’t call email or set-up an appointment with an engineering faculty member and discuss these issues and concerns. You could also talk with the career resources office on campus and ask them about the types and rates of job placement recent engineering grads have had.

After that there are some great sources on the Web. For example the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states:

“Graduate training is essential for engineering faculty positions but is not required for the majority of entry-level engineering jobs. Many engineers obtain graduate degrees in engineering or business administration to learn new technology broaden their education and enhance promotion opportunities.”

And there is a lot more information at that site so go have a look.