Struggling to find career direction - electrical techinican

Thread Starter

gbtbtbt

Joined Mar 18, 2020
57
My background is one year in an AS Electrical Engineering Technology program at my community college. I'm very worried because the program is not ABET accredited and doesn't transfer to a BS into an Electrical Engineering Technology program. I feel screwed as no employer will take this degree seriously. There are no ABET Associates within Rhode Island and Massachusetts and the nearest school that is credited is 2 hours from me. I'm really stuck and I don't know what to do moving forward. What should I do?
 

bogosort

Joined Sep 24, 2011
473
Is your goal to get into a 4-year BS program, or to join the work force? If the former, don't worry about ABET or the technology courses -- the point of community college is to get the generic first two years of courses done inexpensively. These general education courses -- English, physics, psychology, history, etc. -- are the same everywhere, so you might as well get them done on the cheap. Unless your CC is known to be exceptionally deficient, the math classes should also transfer, so make sure you take (and get As in) calc I,II,III at the CC. With the 2-year AA or AS in your pocket, you should be able to start as a third-year student in an ABET accredited BS program. You might have to re-take some basic EE courses (e.g., DC circuits), but it'll be worth it.

If you rather skip the degree and get a job, then the biggest challenge is getting your foot in the door. Without a degree or job experience, this will be diffiuclt but possible if you're persistent, willing to relocate, and willing to work for terrible/zero pay. Be prepared for a frustrating, difficult climb, and the possibility that you end up regretting not doing the 4-year degree.

I strongly recommend going for the BS degree. Not only will it make you eminently more employable, but -- if you do it right -- you will learn how to think like an engineer, which is life-changing. Go for it!
 

Thread Starter

gbtbtbt

Joined Mar 18, 2020
57
Thank you for providing your insight. The predicament is that mathematically I'm algebra leveled and don't feel confident academically enough to pursue engineering right out the gate. I initially planned to go the technician route and return to school when I'm 28 years old. My biggest issue is that I don't have the drive to be an engineer as I have been at school for several years changing my majors a few times and just no overall sense of direction. I need to work and struggle, to find the drive I need for engineering.

Edit: I'm turning 24 years old. Due to medical conditions and mental development, I haven't followed the traditional route most peers have followed.
 

bogosort

Joined Sep 24, 2011
473
Thank you for providing your insight. The predicament is that mathematically I'm algebra leveled and don't feel confident academically enough to pursue engineering right out the gate. I initially planned to go the technician route and return to school when I'm 28 years old. My biggest issue is that I don't have the drive to be an engineer as I have been at school for several years changing my majors a few times and just no overall sense of direction. I need to work and struggle, to find the drive I need for engineering.

Edit: I'm turning 24 years old. Due to medical conditions and mental development, I haven't followed the traditional route most peers have followed.
When I decided to go to engineering school in my late 30s, I was at a pre-algebra level of math (I didn't even know how to add fractions). Where there's a will, there's a way. If you truly want to study engineering, spend the next year or two at CC becoming proficient in algebra and calculus. Once you get in the groove, you'll find that it's a lot less scary than you imagined. You have to work at it every day, and accept nothing less from yourself than an A on every math test. It's totally doable, you just have to decide to do it. Get as much (free) tutoring as you need. Use Kahn Academy, do each homework assignment twice, and so on. As you progress, you'll find that you'll be the one offering to help other students with their math.

Even if you're not sure you want to be an engineer, completing the 2 year AA or AS will be helpful and give you more options going forward. Take and ace as many math classes as you can, just in case a STEM career is in your future.

If you're starting to feel burned out from school (it happens), you might just need a break. There's nothing wrong with taking a semester or two off, but be wary that the longer the break, the harder it is to get back into the rhythm of school. Sometimes we feel burned out because we don't have a clear sense of direction. School can really suck and feel pointless if we're just bouncing from class to class. To get a sense of direction, set both short-term and long-term goals, and design a realistic plan to achieve them.

For the first couple of years of college, lots of students (most?) don't really know what they want to do with their life. That's totally fine and normal. Your long-term goals can be as simple as "I want to get an associates degree within two years", or even "I want to ace calc I by next year". As you progress through school, you'll start figuring out what you like and what you really don't like, which will help narrow down career options. The key thing, I think, is to keep moving forward, even if you don't yet know the ultimate destination.
 

TomKirk

Joined Aug 25, 2020
1
Thank you for providing your insight. The predicament is that mathematically I'm algebra leveled and don't feel confident academically enough to pursue engineering right out the gate. I initially planned to go the technician route and return to school when I'm 28 years old. My biggest issue is that I don't have the drive to be an engineer as I have been at school for several years changing my majors a few times and just no overall sense of direction. I need to work and struggle, to find the drive I need for engineering.

Edit: I'm turning 24 years old. Due to medical conditions and mental development, I haven't followed the traditional route most peers have followed.
You're going to be okay. I started a new career path at 28. So you're going to be good.
 
Thank you for providing your insight. The predicament is that mathematically I'm algebra leveled and don't feel confident academically enough to pursue engineering right out the gate. I initially planned to go the technician route and return to school when I'm 28 years old. My biggest issue is that I don't have the drive to be an engineer as I have been at school for several years changing my majors a few times and just no overall sense of direction. I need to work and struggle, to find the drive I need for engineering.

Edit: I'm turning 24 years old. Due to medical conditions and mental development, I haven't followed the traditional route most peers have followed.
You're going to be okay. I started a new career path at 28. So you're going to be good.
Same. I hate when people feel pressured by society and there is stigma that 28 or 30-th or something else is too old to change your life. No, it's not. Don't even think about that. Think about your goals.
 
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