What Grad Degree Should I Get

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 3 minute read

Master of Engineering can open doors.

If you have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, you can get an entry-level position and work your way up to more challenging and interesting projects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, become an engineer in training or intern, pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam, and become a Professional Engineer (PE). Is going to graduate school really necessary for someone who has already had a successful career? You might wonder.

In spite of the fact that a bachelor’s degree in engineering opens up a wide range of opportunities, there are some positions or advancements that can only be obtained through further study at the master’s or doctoral level. A master’s or doctoral degree is required to get a teaching or research position in a university, and it’s even more difficult without one.

For high-level research and development positions in the government or private sector, an advanced degree may also be required. Managerial positions in engineering frequently necessitate a master’s or doctoral degree. In order to work on highly technical projects in the future, even if you don’t plan on becoming a researcher or academic, you may need to return for additional training.

Two of the most common reasons why students enroll in graduate school are to improve their job prospects and earning potential. Generally speaking, the more education you have, the less likely you are to be unemployed and earn a higher salary. According to U.S. News & World Report, having a master’s degree in engineering can help you earn 10% more than your peers who only have a bachelor’s degree. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this isn’t always the case. With a master’s degree, civil and mechanical engineers saw a 9% to 13% increase in their salary, but chemical engineers saw no change in their earning potential, while petroleum and mining engineers saw a decrease in their salary.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), even some entry-level positions in nuclear engineering require candidates to have an advanced degree.

A list of the fastest-growing engineering jobs

You need more education and experience to succeed in a competitive engineering field. Future employment opportunities will be most abundant in jobs with a positive outlook, whether or not you have an advanced degree.

According to the BLS, employment for petroleum engineers will increase by 15%, or 5,100 new positions, over the next decade. 1,000 new jobs are expected to be created if the number of marine engineers grows by 12%. However, the BLS estimates that an 11 percent growth rate in civil engineering could result in the creation of 32,300 new jobs. It is predicted that employment for industrial engineers will grow by 25,100 over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). There will be an additional 25,300 jobs in mechanical engineering and 2,200 in health and safety engineering as a result of a predicted 9% growth rate.

A graduate degree can make you more marketable in a field of engineering where job growth is slower, but only if you have an appropriate graduate degree for the positions you’re interested in.

Engineering Graduate Programs

As soon as you’ve decided to attend graduate school, it’s time to decide which degree you’d like to pursue. There’s a surprising amount of choice here. The first question is whether you want to get a master’s degree or a doctorate. Generally speaking, master’s degrees are less time consuming and more in demand than bachelor’s degrees, according to U.S. News & World Report. This does not, however, put you in a position to pursue academic or senior-level research positions.

You also need to decide whether you want to pursue a professional degree or a research-focused one. Engineering master’s degree programs can take one of two forms. If a thesis is required at all, a professional master’s degree will conclude with an applied engineering thesis, whereas a research-focused master’s program will demand original research presented as a thesis. Research-based engineering Ph.D. programs require a dissertation. Alternatively, there are professional Doctor of Engineering programs that cover advanced coursework but culminate in a portfolio rather than a dissertation.

Additionally, you’ll need to select a field of study in engineering. Choosing a master’s or doctoral degree program is an important decision because they cover advanced and specialized fields of study.

Master of Engineering Management (MEM) and Master of Science in Technology Management (MSTM) programs exist for engineering managers.

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