Is an Engineering Systems Techology Associates Degree worth anything

Thread Starter

gbtbtbt

Joined Mar 18, 2020
70
I am a sophomore student at the Community College of Rhode Island. I have a 3.3 GPA and currently a part-time student. Looking over my degree I'm not sure it complies with transferable standards to other universities. I see myself more aspiring to be a technician, rather than an engineer, as I'm relatively new in the field of electronics and technology.

Does this degree have any value in applying for technician type jobs or should I reconsider to perhaps vocational school? Are there more valuable degrees or what is the best approach to enter the field?
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
12,871
Does this degree have any value in applying for technician type jobs or should I reconsider to perhaps vocational school?
You should be asking the career advisers at your school. It depends on you, your school, the reputation of the instructors in your program, and their contacts.

Before I graduated with an ASEET (Electronic Engineering Technology), my instructors (there were only 2) arranged an interview for me. My interviews were right after I graduated and I was working the next month.

As far as I know, my school placed 100% of the graduates who weren't continuing their education as technicians at well known companies.
 

Thread Starter

gbtbtbt

Joined Mar 18, 2020
70
Unfortunately, our school only has one career advisor and hasn't found anything related to the field of electronics, even when providing several companies I'm interested in. I do not know how my school compares to others, but from my experience so far, the education feels more generalized academia, than kinesthetic learning which I prefer more. I think it okay if transferring to a four-year university, but overkill for a technician field. Personally, I would prefer to learn how to install devices, rather than overall theory.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,381
Unfortunately, our school only has one career advisor and hasn't found anything related to the field of electronics, even when providing several companies I'm interested in. I do not know how my school compares to others, but from my experience so far, the education feels more generalized academia, than kinesthetic learning which I prefer more. I think it okay if transferring to a four-year university, but overkill for a technician field. Personally, I would prefer to learn how to install devices, rather than overall theory.
Don't feel that way. Theory provides the foundation of understanding technical troubleshooting. It allows you to see mentally beyond the wires, components and assemblies into the fundamental processes that are being controlled and manipulated. For most industrial applications the electronics are just one cog in a machine. The more you understand the boring fundamentals the easier it will be to understand complete systems.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
12,871
Unfortunately, our school only has one career advisor and hasn't found anything related to the field of electronics, even when providing several companies I'm interested in.
I don't think my school had a career adviser. If it did, I didn't consult that person. All of my career planning was done through the two instructors. They had established a relationship with several companies and maintained that relationship through continuing contact with former students.

When my first interview had been scheduled, my instructor (who was also my career adviser), put me in contact with someone who had graduated before me and was working at the company I was going to interview at. He let me stay with him for the time I was in the area and introduced me to a couple other people who went to my school. Before that, I had never met them. We did things together for a couple years before drifting apart. Their support was important to my later success.
I do not know how my school compares to others
Schools distinguish themselves in a number of ways: quality of the curriculum, quality of the instructors, quality of the graduates, ... This is something you should consider before deciding to attend a school.
the education feels more generalized academia, than kinesthetic learning which I prefer more. I think it okay if transferring to a four-year university, but overkill for a technician field.
Community colleges should be preparing students with AS degrees to get jobs, continue their education, or both.
Personally, I would prefer to learn how to install devices, rather than overall theory.
Grasping theory is important to be able to expand your knowledge beyond what you were taught in school. It forms the foundation that you build upon.
 

Thread Starter

gbtbtbt

Joined Mar 18, 2020
70
For me, learning the fundamentals is starting to feel like a grind, as my class structures consist of congesting 80 pages into a lecture. How do you effectively learn this information and not just remember enough to pass a course? Do you need to genuinely enjoy what your learning or can you force yourself to learn the mundane information and focus more on material you enjoy.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,381
For me, learning the fundamentals is starting to feel like a grind, as my class structures consist of congesting 80 pages into a lecture. How do you effectively learn this information and not just remember enough to pass a course?
Buck up. Everybody has been through the same experience. It's not that you remember every detail that's important beyond some test. What important is you have the pattern of that fundamental information in your brain to organize incoming additional information into a additional layers of understanding.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
12,871
How do you effectively learn this information and not just remember enough to pass a course?
Each person learns differently. I have encountered a surprisingly large number of people who did well in school, but didn't manage to actually learn anything. I was a non-believer in GPA being a meaningful indicator of achievement/competence from the time I was in high school. People taking easy classes could maintain high GPA's, but that didn't mean they were learning anything useful.

When I was in community college, I wanted to get good grades, but that wasn't my real goal. I was on the Dean's list every quarter, but that didn't mean much to me. I put the post cards in a box (thinking they might be useful in the future - they weren't) and promptly forgot about them.

I remember having difficulty understanding series and parallel. A classmate who had done electronics in the Navy confided in me that he had had some difficulty too and that it would become clearer after time. He was right.
 

Thread Starter

gbtbtbt

Joined Mar 18, 2020
70
Thank you for the words of encouragement. As of right now, I need to develop the desired goal after graduation, rather than keep focusing momentarily on completing present courses. I would like to start asking professionals in specific industries, what qualifications you need and what to expect when starting out. Are there specific forums for industries such as IT, electronics, energy utilities, etc on this site?
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
12,871
Are there specific forums for industries such as IT, electronics, energy utilities, etc on this site?
You're in it. My AS degree program touched on a number of topics in a cursory manner. We did one class on fabrication, one class on communications, talked briefly about high power, but most of the curriculum was general electronics theory.
 

JMW

Joined Nov 21, 2011
134
For me, learning the fundamentals is starting to feel like a grind, as my class structures consist of congesting 80 pages into a lecture. How do you effectively learn this information and not just remember enough to pass a course? Do you need to genuinely enjoy what your learning or can you force yourself to learn the mundane information and focus more on material you enjoy.
That is a great question, and the answer is vague. At this point you have little idea as to what is important. You should focus on where you have read something as you may need it on some future job. The field you are entering is vast, goes from space to medical, weapons to communications. Who knows what area you will settle into at this point. Me, I was an accounting major who knew the resistor color code and could read schematics. Thanks to a basic electricity course in H.S. Guess what the ASVAB determined I was going to do in my 3rd week of bootcamp? Discovered I had a knack for it, that was over 50 years ago this May.
Bored, wasting your time and money? Get a job, what do you like? Radios, go to your local police department and find out who fixes their radios. Cars go to a local garage and start their. You can buy service manuals for any car. Jeeps have a great following. Aircraft, elevators, hospitals, marinas all need people with this skill set. Start low and slow, as the Air Force Master Sergeant stated long ago and far, far away......."the quality of the technician is directly proportional to the equipment he destroyed in A school". A school is the basic electronics course for all military branches. Good luck and enjoy
 
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tindel

Joined Sep 16, 2012
780
I would prefer to learn how to install devices, rather than overall theory.
I'll take different tact here (although there's already a lot of good advice).

If electronics theory isn't your thing, that's fine - go find a job as an assembly technician somewhere. I've worked with many technicians that could literally assemble a spacecraft, but could care less about how that spacecraft worked. They just wanted to build something every day, work with their hands, get a little OT and spend the evenings with their family. Simple life. Entry level tech pay is okay (but not great), you'll get your foot in the door somewhere, and you can have some time to decide if you're interested enough to go get a BS or stay a tech, or become a park ranger, or start a business, or...

Life is a marathon - not a sprint.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
27,173
Do you have an interest in electrical work such as installation and maintenance of commercial fire alarm systems or computer networks, for example.
Such jobs require a good knowledge of basic electrical theory for which an Engineering Technology Associates Degree would be useful, but are more outside/travel jobs, rather than inside work.
 

Thread Starter

gbtbtbt

Joined Mar 18, 2020
70
Thank you, everyone, for being very supportive and offering a lot of good advice. For some time, I have considered pursuing some type of installation within emergency services, house appliances and communications. At the moment, I don't have a strong foundation in computer networks, so it, not something I really have explored. I like the suggestion of an assembly technician and will look into it.
 

stephenp

Joined May 12, 2020
1
I am a sophomore student at the Community College of Rhode Island. I have a 3.3 GPA and currently a part-time student. Looking over my degree I'm not sure it complies with transferable standards to other universities. I see myself more aspiring to be a technician, rather than an engineer, as I'm relatively new in the field of electronics and technology.

Does this degree have any value in applying for technician type jobs or should I reconsider to perhaps vocational school? Are there more valuable degrees or what is the best approach to enter the field?

Applying for 'Technician' type jobs, an AS technical degree should be helpful in entry level positions. But these are seldom going to be highly technical engineering in nature, nor require a huge amount of creativity. You will be competing with people with years of experience or with more advanced degrees. This does not mean you cannot grow into much better positions. But initially, unless you are very lucky, it is going to be 'just a job' to build your future resume.
Over the years, I have hired everything from HS graduates to Masters Degrees fresh out of school. The amount of schooling was never an accurate predictor of how each person advanced over a couple of years. But in these technical fields, schooling can give you an idea of what area of a discipline you might actually enjoy more. My own 40+ year career went from robotics to telecommunications to systems architecture to embedded HW design, with Systems Architeucture and Embedded design being fun, more than work.

So in simple terms, stick with the path you are on. If the lack of a BS gets in the way, you will find out in the first year or two out of school. Most Community Colleges will let you bring full credits to the state university, so you might only loose a class or two for a better degree.
 

Thread Starter

gbtbtbt

Joined Mar 18, 2020
70
I appreciate the device and certainly will take into consideration. My current predicament is that I have only completed half of my Engineering Systems Technology degree and I do not have any work experience. What type of entry-level jobs I should be looking for? Besides a bachelor's degree, is there really any other path that has good growth after accumulating enough experience and years?

Currently, I have been a community college for five years and changed my degree to Engineering Systems Technology last year. My degree is not transferable, but I chose it as it would take the least amount of time, comparison to electrical engineering associate. Unfortunately changing my degree to a transferable engineering degree would put me around 20 percent completed. What can I do from this point and what should I be considering in the next few years?
 
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