Moving from Eastern Europe to US, need advice

Thread Starter

ascendy300

Joined Aug 13, 2021
4
This is probably gonna be long, but please bear with me. Right now I am working towards a 4 year bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering, specializing in Control Theory and Electronics. Due to personal reasons I will be moving to US after I either finish my bachelor's, or my master's degree. That being said, I have a couple of questions - Would having a foreign degree affect my employment options if I were to get my degree evaluated by a government recognized evaluator? Does getting a master's degree improve the chances of employment? I imagine the most important factor would be my work experience, but would anyone hire a recent foreign graduate with no prior experience? Is internship an option? As last resort and only if absolutely necessary, I can get a year or two of work experience in my country right after I graduate, as my degree here is extremely sought after. What would be my best option here? Thank you.
 

Delta Prime

Joined Nov 15, 2019
1,164
to acquire U.S. degree equivalency for your foreign bachelor’s degree. There are a ton of recognized university-level equivalency examinations out there, two of the most popular ones include the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and the Program on Non-Collegiate Sponsored Instruction (PONSI). At the end of these exams, you gain points or credits which can be utilized in validating a foreign bachelor’s degree or any degree at all for use within the US. The majority of my superiors in the aerospace industry have gone through (PONSI)
But you must understand I am only an electronic technician not an electrical engineer!
:)
 

Thread Starter

ascendy300

Joined Aug 13, 2021
4
Hello and thank you for your reply. The US embassy in my country directed me to two national associations of credential evaluation services (one was NACES and I can't recall the other one). The way I understood it, they are associations of government backed institutions that deal with credential equivalency. I've been told this is usually sufficient to start working in the US as my degree will be officially equalized after sending them the degree and/or official transcripts of my curriculum, but I have no means of confirming that. I am aware there are certain professions that require equivalency exams (law and medicine come to mind). Would this also be the case with EE?
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
7,877
Any relevant experience that you can bring to the job interview will mean a lot. When I was a hiring manager the country in which a degree was earned counted little as the interviews told a lot more than mere credentials.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
13,303
Would having a foreign degree affect my employment options if I were to get my degree evaluated by a government recognized evaluator?
Not being a US citizen will have a significant impact on whether you'll be considered for any jobs, so you'll have to look very promising after a phone screen. I've hired foreign nationals for positions before and there's a fairly significant amount of overhead in employing them; all had degrees from US universities, so I didn't have to worry about degree accreditation. I had to periodically advertise for the position that my foreign national had, screen/interview any applicants, and certify that no US citizens were more qualified than the person I had in that position. Fortunately, I never found anyone more qualified; otherwise the situation might have gotten ugly.

You'll also need an H-1B visa to be allowed to work here. Those are always in high demand, so that's another obstacle.

How to get a Work Permit and Visa for the US | InterNations GO!

I know of people with foreign degrees in other disciplines where their degree wasn't considered valid (e.g. someone with a degree in architecture who could only find employment as a drafter at an architectural firm).

EDIT: corrected punctuation and typos.
 
Last edited:

ElectricSpidey

Joined Dec 2, 2017
1,882
The best way to gain employment in the US is through networking, so work on that angle.

And by "networking" I don't mean the internet...the other kind.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
635
If you are a US citizen getting your education in a foreign country - it is not a huge problem. One back, interview well. Have a list of projects that you completed for your education and some excellent descriptions of what you did on the projects.

If you are a foreign National and want to come to the US to work, you'll either need a visa or a "green card". A green card is easiest if you are married to a US citizen. A green card makes you a "US Person" - a rather new term that allows you to work, pay taxes and retire with US social security benefits without any difference than being a US Citizen.

If you are not a citizen and not a green card holder, you'll be here on a visa. Visas come in different flavors and some allow you to work and some not. Visas have an expiration date. Some work visas cost a lot of money. Over time, some visas can be converted to a green card and SOME CANNOT be converted to a green card. Never come and expect to earn money on a tourist or other non-work permitted visa. Once the US government finds out (and your employer most certainly will have to disclose eventually), you will be banned from any work-allowed visa at minimum, until you get back to the US embassy in your home country, at maximum, the rest of your life.

Few US employers are paying for visas or acting as a sponsor to bring foreign nationals into the US. You'll usually have to find your own sponsor and your own reason to come to the US on a work-allowed visa.

Good luck.
 

Thread Starter

ascendy300

Joined Aug 13, 2021
4
first, thank you all for replying, i really appreciate it. frankly the issue of green card/citizenship is not really an issue as my spouse is a born us citizen, so i think i'll be covered on that front. on the other hand, i was simply wondering if employers treat foreign degrees/work experiences any differently compared to us ones, and if getting my master's degree there is an option or a necessity. again, thanks a lot.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
635
first, thank you all for replying, i really appreciate it. frankly the issue of green card/citizenship is not really an issue as my spouse is a born us citizen, so i think i'll be covered on that front. on the other hand, i was simply wondering if employers treat foreign degrees/work experiences any differently compared to us ones, and if getting my master's degree there is an option or a necessity. again, thanks a lot.
Don't get your masters until you get to the US. Apply to graduate schools now so you can start once you are here. Then you have the US degree and no problem.
 

Janis59

Joined Aug 21, 2017
1,355
Surprized about CLEP/PONSI. When I lived few years in Israel they equilized my Latvia boths MSc diploms enormously long, but not without of reason. And at last they issued a paper stating they are equilized without of any need for re-examination. Thats Americans scoff and jeer about Europeans probably 50 years worked in their specialty but then suddenly have to begin with elementary school exams?? That reason was that fleed vice-rector after being fired of my University was sold at Israel about 10 000 falsificated Latvian diploms, thus automatically they suspected I am just the next.
 

Thread Starter

ascendy300

Joined Aug 13, 2021
4
Don't get your masters until you get to the US. Apply to graduate schools now so you can start once you are here. Then you have the US degree and no problem.
do us' master's studies have certain grade average requirements to get in? i have heard horror stories of us college grade inflation, and i worry my average grade won't be sufficient, even tho i am in top 5% of my class.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
635
do us' master's studies have certain grade average requirements to get in? i have heard horror stories of us college grade inflation, and i worry my average grade won't be sufficient, even tho i am in top 5% of my class.
There is grade inflation and deflation in US schools as well. Getting in depends less on Grade averages than GREs, interviews and portfolio of projects (and clear knowledge of the projects).
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
635
The best scenario is that you get a job - send applications. The market is hot for applicants now. See what happens if you tell them they will not have to support your visa.
 

justtrying

Joined Mar 9, 2011
434
You may find a lot of hurdles in getting your degree recognized. Best option would be finishing your undergrad and continuing masters in US. You have to start early to ensure that you meet all of the requirements.

Your credentials will be treated differently if the job you are applying for requires any kind of certification, licensing or regulatory body membership. It is unfortunately up to those "regulatory bodies" to accept your credentials or not.
 
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