A master’s degree in engineering might look intimidating at first. But let’s have a detailed look on what it entails and if at all it’s worth the effort. A bachelor’s degree course may enhance your chances of developing a career. However, an advanced degree in the field can act as a bridge especially if you are interested in academia.
You can pursue it for personal development tied to the resulting advanced knowledge and clout. As such, one can never really be overly equipped as an engineer. Something new, some new technology or an idea always comes up. You need to get to grips with all of the developments.
For this reason, if at all you intend to remain relevant, constant learning is a requirement and not a luxury. Pursuing engineering graduate programs is hence something any engineer in the field today, or one studying for their undergraduate should consider. The reasons are:
To Undertake Engineering Research
The fact that engineering is a multi-faceted discipline means that there are different avenues of practicing it. There is academia, and there is research and also for the majority, a professional engineering practice – in companies and engineering firms. Master’s degree in Engineering is a taught program.
For those intending to go into research and development, then this is their stepping stone. A master of science in engineering (M.Sc.) is required to enroll in a Ph.D. program. The Ph.D. program is what leads to research where one works in the field and contributes to the knowledge in that field. Hence it is very important, if you intend to be involved in research or academia in your engineering field.
To Improve Employability Chances
More and more people are enrolling in engineering programs. What this means, is that there is more competition for the available job opportunities. For this reason, if you intend to rise above the crowd and boost your chances of employment, then pursuing a master’s degree is essential.
The available statistics point to employers being more likely to go for someone with an engineering graduate degree as opposed to someone with just a bachelor’s. Also, the majority of engineers hardly take postgraduate engineering degrees. This means you have higher chances at such employment opportunities if you have a master’s degree in engineering.
Additionally, some jobs require knowledge beyond that acquired in an engineering undergraduate program: For example consultancy and managerial positions. For these positions, you need to get more specified training such as Engineering Management, Project Management and so on and so forth.
Having engineering master’s degree doesn’t necessarily mean more pay than those with just a bachelor’s degree. However, statistics show that on average, an engineer with a graduate degree earns more than the one with only an undergraduate degree. Thus, for someone looking for a higher salary, then getting a master’s degree in engineering might be the way to go.
Having a master’s degree might get one a salary raise in their current position or enable them to get employed elsewhere with a better financial package. All in all, you are much more likely to get better financially in your engineering career with a postgraduate degree as opposed to just a bachelor’s degree. And in some disciplines, you’ll enjoy as much as 15% more earnings.
Changing Your Field Of Specialty
The major engineering disciplines, namely; Mechanical, Civil, and Electrical are broad. Engineering masters narrows them down. Taking Mechanical Engineering, for example, areas of specialization include thermodynamics, material science, fluid mechanics, and mechanics of machines (just to mention a few). The same principle applies to the sub-branches of Mechanical engineering such as; Mechanical energy, automotive, aerospace, building services, etc.
A bachelor’s program often offers general engineering principles and information. To get into most of these specialty fields and be competent, often, one needs some extra credits which a master’s degree in engineering will offer. A bachelor’s in aerospace engineering and an Aerospace Project Management masters will adequately equip you with the additional knowledge that is needed to be a competent aerospace engineer.
Advancement in the workplace comes with more responsibilities. In most cases, it involves handling more projects and possibly overseeing more junior employees. You get to be the decision maker. These kinds of duties demand more knowledge and expertise. Naturally, employers are likely to deem an engineer with a postgraduate education as a good fit for management positions.
Your engineering skills, coupled with management knowledge are a good fit to make a suitable decision maker for an organization. On average, engineers with a master’s degree in engineering get tasked with more responsibilities including management. These responsibilities also come with better finances.
One More Thing
Deciding to pursue engineering postgraduate programs is a massive undertaking especially when you remember the hustles that were involved in getting a bachelor’s degree. You also need to consider the costs which may be as much as $ 20,000 per year. That said, what one stands to gain from acquiring a master’s degree in many ways warrants going through whatever hurdles are involved.
Most universities today offer convenient study options for both engineering graduate programs and engineering postgraduate programs to cover even those who are employed. I am talking about online programs, part-time study, distance learning, etc. The engineering masters often take between one to three years depending on one’s availability. This means the inconveniences are short-lived.
For additional financing, there are many organizations and government departments ready to sponsor graduate engineering students to pursue their studies. You only need to do some research on the terms of such scholarships and follow the procedure to apply for one. Today it is increasingly easy to get into engineering graduate programs and further into engineering masters.
The Bottom Line
One of the best benefits of acquiring a master of science in engineering is the personal satisfaction brought about by the acquisition of knowledge. Other than that, you enjoy financial growth, career advancement, and research opportunities. Engineering disciplines offer the best fields for knowledge advancement as there is always a lot to learn.
With huge shifts – often occurring quickly, you are best placed to take advantage of the rising opportunities. If you are well equipped as far as knowledge is concerned, your chances are higher. So, yes, getting engineering masters is undoubtedly a necessity. For any engineer looking to be relevant and to make a mark in the engineering discipline.