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mbparksPE

P.E. versus Masters Degree

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Seeing as this a board more dedicated to the P.E. than graduate education. I am curious to see what peoples opinion of getting a graduate engineering education as compared to pursuing the P.E. Especially if like me ( as a computer engineer) the P.E. isn't really needed/required. Obviously both would be better for a resume. But from a practical, real-world perspective which would be better?

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Seeing as this a board more dedicated to the P.E. than graduate education. I am curious to see what peoples opinion of getting a graduate engineering education as compared to pursuing the P.E. Especially if like me ( as a computer engineer) the P.E. isn't really needed/required. Obviously both would be better for a resume. But from a practical, real-world perspective which would be better?

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Some hiring managers put a lot of stock in letters after your name, some don't. I can't comment specifically on your area in terms of whether MS or PE is better. However, folks don't normally use "yourname MS" on their business card, while "yourname PE" is common.

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It also depends on your career objectives. I have a Masters degree in engineering because I liked the challenge and research at the time. It also keeps a door open for PhD and teaching/research if I ever want to go that route. Not to mention, you do get a lot more in-depth knowlege of your area. I am by no means discounting the value of PE (I just passed the exam this April). PE is surely a good thing to have if you are practicing engineering in your work, promotion potential and peer respect.

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I've already got my Masters, and will hopefully get my PE this winter. Having (or trying to get actually) both, I'd say a PE is more valuable. I've never heard anyone say, "Maybe you should leave your PE off your resume," as I have heard people say about a Masters.

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I've never heard anyone say, "Maybe you should leave your PE off your resume," as I have heard people say about a Masters.

You've actually heard someone say this? That's crazy...I am proud to have my Master's, and I think it shows that you have a good bit of dedication. No way in Hell I would leave that off my resume..

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You've actually heard someone say this? That's crazy...I am proud to have my Master's, and I think it shows that you have a good bit of dedication. No way in Hell I would leave that off my resume..

That was my response.

The theory behind the statement to remove it comes from both 'more education= more money' and 'more education=no real world experience' schools of thought, or so I've been told.

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I think that I took in more direct, job related knowledge while studying for the PE than I did in the time it took me to complete my masters. Just my opinion.

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That has been my thinking. The P.E. gets you more practical, whereas the Masters seems to gear you towards the R&D world, that is to say a bit more theory over practicallity.

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I've got a buddy who is an EE.

From what I gather, the EE profession really just doesn't go for the PE. He says that most EE's get an MBA and become management.

What sucks is that he'll always make more $$ than I will. :smileyballs:

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I think it is completely dependent on your field. Perhaps in computer engineering, the MS is more worthwhile. In anything related to construction or development, I would say the PE is more worthwhile. In environmental, both are important, but if given a choice I would take the PE over the MS, and I did - I gave up an admission and fellowship several years ago at UVa to stay on the job and work toward my PE instead. But that said, I would not advise anyont else to pass up an opportunity to get a graduate degree. You can work on a PE at any time. Going back to school is bit more difficult to fit in with the rest of your life.

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I have both, a MSEE that I earned in 1986 and PE that I earned in July 2007. As to which is more valuable, well that all depends upon your personal situation. When I did interview with other companies they looked favorably upon a MSEE. May be they would have looked upon a PE license just as favorably, I don’t know. My current employer doesn’t pay me anymore money for having a MSEE or PE.

So why get a PE? I will allow me to work for myself. I am currently employed, but in two to five years I want to retire. I want to supplement my income and work when I want, not full time. Even though I am an electrical, chances are good that I will be doing residential septic system design. I have been on the town planning board for a number of years, so I have considerable exposure to this. Also, ever since I got my PE the town supervisor has asked me to review legislation that pertains to wastewater and storm water run off. So I am familiar with regulations in the town and state. So, when you get your PE, be prepared, life can change.

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I have both. I got the Masters ~ 2 years ago. It DRAMATICALLY increased my income, but it also came with a job change and went from a very low paying employer so its probably not ACTUALLY as much as it looks like on paper. I was going to get a promotion before a lot of people that didn't have the MS but actual change in income would have been $1-2 an hour. Probably closer to $1. They offer the same increase for the PE, so I guess I'd be $1 ahead, and at an increased job level. It would take a while for it to pay for the MS at that rate.

Since I got canned the week I got the PE I don't know what kind of increase I would have gotten there.

Now that I am job hunting again, the Masters in intriguing, but the PE is required (or is quite often the case). I got the MS bc my BS isn't Civil. You cannot substitute the MS for the PE- you still have to have the PE. Experience can be substituted for an MS very often.

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I have both also; PE as well as a "mixed bag" of degrees, BSChe and MSEE. And I will echo peoples comments above, it depends on where you work, what you do and you industry. In the oil business, you see damn few PEs. So it is an attention getter on business cards and resumes when dealing with other engineers. When I was job hunting, the MS got the attention of the HR people but I doubt many of them knew what a "Professional Engineer" meant.

I believe I said it before in other threads, but I'll risk repeating myself. We as engineers have an identy crisis. Hell, I think I'll start a new thread to get people's blood boiling before we hit the bars this afternoon.

Freon, P.E. & P.M ( Professional Engineer & Professional Malcontent)

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^^ good point. HR will always know the MS, but if it's a diverse company, they might not know what the PE is.

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^^ good point. HR will always know the MS, but if it's a diverse company, they might not know what the PE is.

They two different things, these are my personal opinions and experience, I have BSCE and MS

PE, can make you stamp drawings and documents and standout new engineers or EIT's, while MS will mostly lead you to a broader horizon, like, advancement in knowledge compared to a BS with PE, more academically efficient and can readily correlate research and real world application. MS is harder to achieve than a PE obviously, MS or PHd doesnt expire will PE licensure can. I have licenses as an engineer in different countries, still from my experience MS is more difficult to attain and I'm working towards my third licensure as PE in US.

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MS is harder to achieve than a PE obviously

Anyone, and I do mean *ANYONE* with a BS can easily get an MS in their same field at *some* university without anything more than minimal effort. You can't say the same about the PE...

I have very little pride in my MS, but I have TONS of pride in my PE-ness.

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Anyone, and I do mean *ANYONE* with a BS can easily get an MS in their same field at *some* university without anything more than minimal effort. You can't say the same about the PE...

I have very little pride in my MS, but I have TONS of pride in my PE-ness.

there are a lot things why an indivudal cant be proud of their MS,

1. They took an "easy" MS, MBA or without thesis.

2. Their thesis topic is very easy, or their professor had made everything ready for them.

3. They took an MS not inline with their major.

4. Their thesis did not contribute for the good of their profession or dont have new application in real world.

Have a look on how to achieve these two, MS takes a long time and years to achieve, while you can study PE in as short as 6 months.

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there are a lot things why an indivudal cant be proud of their MS,

1. They took an "easy" MS, MBA or without thesis.

2. Their thesis topic is very easy, or their professor had made everything ready for them.

3. They took an MS not inline with their major.

4. Their thesis did not contribute for the good of their profession or dont have new application in real world.

Have a look on how to achieve these two, MS takes a long time and years to achieve, while you can study PE in as short as 6 months.

The time that it takes means absolutely nothing. Sray has a point and I think is valid. While you are saying something that is also tru, about the time it takes, we are comparing apples and oranges.

The MS or MBA is going to be valid depending on what kind of industry you work for. The P.E. has another kind of value if you are going to be in the consulting business. There are companies that will hire somebody's MS without any hesitation because that is the policy inside the company. They will not pick a P.E. vs a MS.

But the MS will not give you the "right" to stamp a drawing. Only the PE will do that but then, you have to be working on consulting. Outside that world, the PE just looks nice at the end of your business card and that is it.

To be honest, and for reasons I cannot explain, I think the MS is more valued than the PE. That has been my experience before due to the kind of industry I work. There are tens of non engineeers and engineers without EITs and/or PEs in managerial positions at the company I work for. Good for them. I only know one P.E. that is a supervisor and the reason for that is because it is a highly specialized field.

If I can express my opinion and for what it may worth...I do not give a hoot.

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A PE is required for a job I interviewed for at the DoD. That is not consulting, in fact the title doesn't even include the word engineer. The Masters was not required but sure the hell bumped up the salary.

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A PE is required for a job I interviewed for at the DoD.

That's what makes the Civil Engineer Corps and NAVFAC such an interesting organization - you can't be an O-5 in the Civil Engineers Corps without a PE or an RA. NAVFAC brings Real™ Engineers to contingency construction, something you don't usually see with the ACOE.

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I spent six months on loan to the ACOE during Iraqi Freedom. Our main job was to rebuild the oil infrastructure to pre-war levels. I worked with several civilian PEs, all good people, but they were civil engineers. Buid a dam, contract a runway - they were great. But they were a little lost in the oil patch. The uniformed talent in that organization was a little light on education. We had a total of four uniformed "degreed engineers", and no PEs (It was before I became enlightened)

An important point to remember is that most military engineer units are not staffed with officers who are degreed engineers (Sapper is an exception). Being a PE in those situations can be fun at times! But USN Construction Battalions are staffed with mostly degreed engineers as officers as well as several PEs.

Freon, P.E. and Alumni of the Infantry

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A PE is required for a job I interviewed for at the DoD.

Granted, it was a long time ago, but when I worked at the DoD the emphasis was on the MS. They even paid for me to get mine.

People who got PEs (they were very rare) got laughed at because it didn't get them anywhere with the gov.

Times change and winds shift, I suppose.

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there are a lot things why an indivudal cant be proud of their MS,

1. They took an "easy" MS, MBA or without thesis.

2. Their thesis topic is very easy, or their professor had made everything ready for them.

3. They took an MS not inline with their major.

4. Their thesis did not contribute for the good of their profession or dont have new application in real world.

Have a look on how to achieve these two, MS takes a long time and years to achieve, while you can study PE in as short as 6 months.

In principle, I must agree. But.... an MS isn't the end all be all.

My question is if a BS+MS=BS+PE, what happens if you take more PE exams? The MS may take two years and ONE PE exam may take 6 months, but what about three PE exams?

I would argue that if you can take and pass more than one PE exam, you've got more than a masters degree.

Just my :2cents:

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I remember there was one project that involves a specialist and I was hired to do the job because one of my researches in Graduate studies on Structural Engineering was applicable, and an ordinary PE without this expereince or Graduate studies wont qualify to do the job and my paper was about "Seismic Retrofitting of Reinforced Concrete Members", this involves acual modelling of scaled framed structure and specimens and they were subjected to lateral forces on the beam column joints to cyclic loading, till failure. Measures to design structural members were carefully considered after the outcome of my research and apply it it an actual real world structure.

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