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Old 5 October 2012, 10:48
mjl mjl is offline
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Associate Degree Programs: Science

I've been planning to do an Americorps gig and look to be starting in January- still undergoing the interview process so unconfirmed, but I'm feeling pretty optimistic about it. The other end of the bargain there is an education reward. If I wind up with a 10-11 month program, I believe the amount comes to something like $5,500.

I already have a BA (History), however I've been thinking about what to do with that cash and would like to put it towards an associates in some sort of scientific field. Nuclear(energy- not medicine)/electrical engineering, physics, applied sciences, avionics maintenance, that sort of thing.

My questions are:

1) Are these degrees reputable for someone looking to hire? If you're running a nuclear powerplant and I show up with my associate from X and a BA in History which is cool but not especially useful, am I going to be competitive?

2) Are there any programs out there which are particularly respected? I don't want to give my money to a place that just farms folks looking to get a leg up, and I've heard bad stuff about places like Devry for example.

Does a decent program exist out there or do I need to go back to the drawing board?
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Old 5 October 2012, 10:52
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I can tell you that at least in my experience an electrical engineering degree opens up a world of doors to you and the pay scale is very good.
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Old 5 October 2012, 10:55
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Thanks for the reply. If you don't mind my asking, what level of degree did you achieve? Do you work with anyone who received a degree at the associate level?
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Old 5 October 2012, 11:01
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With a bit of research on the web:

http://education-portal.com/articles...gineering.html


How to Become a Nuclear Engineer

Required Education for a Career in Nuclear Engineering

"Most entry-level Nuclear Engineering positions require a bachelor degree, but many advanced research or supervisory jobs are only available to people with a master degree or doctorate. Any engineer who works in the public sector must be licensed by the state. A bachelor degree takes most students four to five years to obtain and master degree or doctorate can take between two to four additional years. The process to obtain a license varies by state, but usually requires engineers to pass a test and work as interns for a certain period. Some courses that students will need to take include engineering analysis, nuclear reactor design, ionizing radiation and nuclear reactor engineering."

Not sure if this is what you are looking for, I hope it helps.
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Old 5 October 2012, 11:13
mjl mjl is offline
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Thanks Expat.

I saw a similar website which seemed to indicate there was a difference between being a nuclear engineer and a nuclear technician, and that the latter could be achieved with an associates:

http://www.associatesdegree.com/best...ar-technician/

Quote:
In order to become a nuclear technician, you’ll need to complete some type of formal postsecondary education, such as an associate degree. You can earn an associate degree in applied science, nuclear medicine, nuclear technology or another science-related technology subject. During school, you will take courses in physics, chemistry, mathematics, as well as participate in various science experiments. College training, combined with your experimental skills, will prepare you to enter the nuclear technician field and become comfortable working with radioactive materials.
Not sure if this is the case, though.
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Old 5 October 2012, 11:15
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On second thought you might want to PM "ET1/SS Nuke". This is his turf and will know far more than I.
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Old 5 October 2012, 11:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjl View Post
Thanks for the reply. If you don't mind my asking, what level of degree did you achieve? Do you work with anyone who received a degree at the associate level?


I dont have a degree in electrical engineering at all but I have people who work for me who have either a BS or Masters in EE. I have two new personnel inbound who both have Phd's in EE. I think you will have to at least have a BS to actually get into the field at any serious level.
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Old 5 October 2012, 11:16
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Gotcha, thank you.
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Old 5 October 2012, 11:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjl View Post
I already have a BA (History), however I've been thinking about what to do with that cash and would like to put it towards an associates in some sort of scientific field. Nuclear(energy- not medicine)/electrical engineering, physics, applied sciences, avionics maintenance, that sort of thing.

My questions are:

1) Are these degrees reputable for someone looking to hire? If you're running a nuclear powerplant and I show up with my associate from X and a BA in History which is cool but not especially useful, am I going to be competitive?
If you're looking at engineering, you'll get more bang for your buck with a Bachelors degree in electrical, mechanical, or civil engineering. An associates degree in manufacturing might open the door for an applications engineering position, but that just depends on the company that's hiring.
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Old 5 October 2012, 17:05
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Basically most fields involving sciences (medical,engineering,research,etc.) are going to be pushing for BA degree as a basis and may require you to attend further training to specialize. I know that in med fields MLT's and LPN's are being fazed out in many areas due to demand for BA holding applicants through the perception that a four year degree provides a better understanding of the work to be done. Not always true but it is what it is. For what it's worth my cousin is pursuing his Assoc. for EE but already has a decent job. He's going to keep working it until he can transfer credits to a BS program.
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Old 5 October 2012, 17:42
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I hate to rain on your parade, but from what I have read on the Internet, getting an Associates degree is normally focused on something other than science. This may be due to the fact that to really get into any of those subjects you need chemistry, biology, physics, geometry etc and in an AA program, there is just no room for all of that. These degrees are designed to give you a jump start in a specific skill set (Like Criminal Justice) without all of the math and science pre-reqs.

I applaud your tenacity and have worked with the types you seem to emulate. They make good money and contribute to society. Consider leveraging your pre-reqs from your history degree and then see what is left to get your BS in EE or some other such voodoo. You may have to pay for the remaining classes, but I think this will get you where you want to be.

From what I have read, anyway
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Old 5 October 2012, 17:57
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Even in the construction field, many companies are hiring engineers or those with degrees in construction with bachelors degrees. In my field, fire protection, there are still many jobs for someone with an Associates Degree in architectural drafting using Computer Aided Design. Our field does well by hiring people with two year CAD degrees and then teaching them our specific application. I've seen that work much better than hiring four year people with mechanical or civil engineering degrees because 98% of the learning is not focused on the fire protection industry and you have lost two years of teaching. They also cost a lot more to hire and you still need to train them.
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Old 5 October 2012, 19:17
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MSME from Georgia Tech. Never met even an engineering assistant with an associate degree. Wouldn't even review their resume. Basic requirement is to have an actual engineering degree, which means BS or higher. Other engineering fields, in my experience, are similar (been in the civilian working world since 1986).

For the other sciences (outside of engineering), it seems you usually need at least a BS to get a job at all and an MS or higher to make any real money.
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Old 5 October 2012, 20:49
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A.A.S. Engineering Technology

This is my one & only degree (not a BSEE) and it has helped me to land several well paying positions since my graduation many years ago. I don't make as much as an Engineer, but for my location, I am doing very well. In fact, if you think not working nights, weekends or holidays is appealing, along with excellent benefits, is here in the USA and it pays as much as what a lot of the Security companys are now paying...it's not bad gig if I don't say so myself

My alma mater, has a program in which many of the course are held at a 'Operating' nuclear power station training center.

"The Nuclear Power Technology (NPT) program prepares students for employment in specific areas within a nuclear power plant. The technical curriculum is designed around direct specifications from the nuclear power industry. Students in this program will learn more about nuclear industry fundamental concepts, nuclear plant drawings, radiation protection and detection and thermo-fluid science."

http://www.terra.edu/academics/nuclear-power/nuclear-power-technology.html

If you'd like to know more, I'd be happy to give you any more info I can.

R/
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Old 7 October 2012, 06:26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjl View Post
If I wind up with a 10-11 month program, I believe the amount comes to something like $5,500.
One option you may wish to consider is to ignore, for the moment, what your degree is in, and ask yourself what specific courses have I not taken yet? You can use some of this funding to get some of those courses accomplished. Some can be done via paper or by exam, most of these will be available online. For courses that are specific to engineering, maths, and physics, look up the Engineering Outreach online program at University of Idaho.

Some funding programs will not allow courses for non-degree/non-certificate purposes. You may care to look at an undergraduate or graduate certificate option. As you already hold a baccalaureate degree, this may serve your purposes adequately.

Quote:
I already have a BA (History), however I've been thinking about what to do with that cash and would like to put it towards an associates in some sort of scientific field.
Be careful about taking this approach. Depending on the rules attached to whatever funding you're getting, you may not necessarily be allowed to apply it towards a second degree at an equal or lower level, even if it's in an unrelated subject.

Quote:
Nuclear(energy- not medicine)/electrical engineering, physics, applied sciences, avionics maintenance, that sort of thing.

My questions are:

1) Are these degrees reputable for someone looking to hire? If you're running a nuclear powerplant and I show up with my associate from X and a BA in History which is cool but not especially useful, am I going to be competitive?
Focus more upon what courses are (or need to be) on your transcript rather than what the calligraphy on your bit of parchment says your degree is in.

Quote:
2) Are there any programs out there which are particularly respected? I don't want to give my money to a place that just farms folks looking to get a leg up, and I've heard bad stuff about places like Devry for example.

Does a decent program exist out there or do I need to go back to the drawing board?
Another you may want to check out is the Bachelor Of Science in Technology program at Excelsior College. This in an online program, and their electrical and nuclear engineering technology programs are both ABET accredited. Depending on where you end up working, some (not all) states will even allow you to sit the EIT/FE exam with a technology degree.


BTW, as Expatmedic said, you need to pick ET1/SS Nuke's brain via PM if you haven't done so already. Of anyone available who frequents this site, he is by far the most experienced and best qualified in this particular field.

Last edited by WS-G; 7 October 2012 at 06:33.
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Old 7 October 2012, 09:38
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Originally Posted by seabee1226 View Post
This is my one & only degree (not a BSEE) and it has helped me to land several well paying positions since my graduation many years ago. I don't make as much as an Engineer, but for my location, I am doing very well. In fact, if you think not working nights, weekends or holidays is appealing, along with excellent benefits, is here in the USA and it pays as much as what a lot of the Security companys are now paying...it's not bad gig if I don't say so myself

My alma mater, has a program in which many of the course are held at a 'Operating' nuclear power station training center.

"The Nuclear Power Technology (NPT) program prepares students for employment in specific areas within a nuclear power plant. The technical curriculum is designed around direct specifications from the nuclear power industry. Students in this program will learn more about nuclear industry fundamental concepts, nuclear plant drawings, radiation protection and detection and thermo-fluid science."

http://www.terra.edu/academics/nuclear-power/nuclear-power-technology.html

If you'd like to know more, I'd be happy to give you any more info I can.

R/
A cursory review shows no regional accreditation. Also, they do not offer any bachelor's programs.

If they helped you secure the employment you seek, I applaud your efforts. If one wants to go on to a BSEE program, I fear these credits will not transfer. YMMV.
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Old 7 October 2012, 22:05
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Your post

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Originally Posted by The Fat Guy View Post
A cursory review shows no regional accreditation. Also, they do not offer any bachelor's programs.

If they helped you secure the employment you seek, I applaud your efforts. If one wants to go on to a BSEE program, I fear these credits will not transfer. YMMV.
Sir,

Allow me to clarify my post. My degree is not from the N.P.T. program & I do not work in Power Generation, however I do work in Transmission and it is a related business unit for my employer.

The extent to my knowledge of this program is that at the time I was attending there, it did exist. I had to check the school's website first before I even posted to see if it still did.

It is a community college, so you are correct that they do not offer any degrees beyond an Associate. While I was attending, they did have accreditation in my program (and many others) because my credits would transfer to all the major university's in Ohio that I had submitted my transcripts to. I moved away after graduation, so I don't know what they are currently offering.

I just wanted to inform the original poster from a firsthand POV with current relevant knowledge that...

1) There is at least 1 school that offers an A.A.S. degree in the field he inquired about (I have no idea if there are any others). Due to many factors, there is a shortage of trained-experienced people who can fill existing openings or those in the future that do not require a minimum of a BSEE or similar.

2) There are many Very good jobs out there that offer great pay and benefits to those who have an Associate’s degree in an Engineering related discipline besides just Nuclear or Manufacturing.

Hope this helps,

V/R
Seabee1226
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Old 7 October 2012, 22:43
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Originally Posted by seabee1226 View Post
Sir,

Allow me to clarify my post. My degree is not from the N.P.T. program & I do not work in Power Generation, however I do work in Transmission and it is a related business unit for my employer.

The extent to my knowledge of this program is that at the time I was attending there, it did exist. I had to check the school's website first before I even posted to see if it still did.

It is a community college, so you are correct that they do not offer any degrees beyond an Associate. While I was attending, they did have accreditation in my program (and many others) because my credits would transfer to all the major university's in Ohio that I had submitted my transcripts to. I moved away after graduation, so I don't know what they are currently offering.

I just wanted to inform the original poster from a firsthand POV with current relevant knowledge that...

1) There is at least 1 school that offers an A.A.S. degree in the field he inquired about (I have no idea if there are any others). Due to many factors, there is a shortage of trained-experienced people who can fill existing openings or those in the future that do not require a minimum of a BSEE or similar.

2) There are many Very good jobs out there that offer great pay and benefits to those who have an Associate’s degree in an Engineering related discipline besides just Nuclear or Manufacturing.

Hope this helps,

V/R
Seabee1226
Normally, colleges will list their accreditation, but who knows. Thanks for keeping me straight.
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Old 7 October 2012, 23:58
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mjl,
The advice to get your BS in engineering ( whatever discipline you choose) is the most sound advice I have read on this thread.
I have worked in the Nuclear field as a licensed Reactor Operator and on the Transmission end of things also. My profile will tell you for how long. My education is some college ( about 4 years at 2 different state universities) and Naval Nuclear Power Program.
Having the BS degree will open far more opportunites for you and will allow you to find your niche in an industry that has many different emphasis and specialties. I have seen many degrees from the BS and MS in engineering move around from design and analysis to operations to maintenance groups.
The degree tells others you have a brain and can think analytically. Your interests will guide where you choose to use them. For example, in the Nuclear Operations Dept. at the facilities I have worked, a Station Techinical Advisor was a required BS position from an engineering discipline. The individuals who chose this position as an option then went through the licensing training for a Senior Reactor Operators license and work on shift with the crews as a tech advisor. I might add and for a shit load more loot.

Bottomline ... the BS degree will allow you to explore many more options within your chosen line of work once you are there. Good luck. ET1/SS Nuke may or may not agree... but I think he will
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Last edited by Xenonburnout; 8 October 2012 at 00:11.
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Old 8 October 2012, 17:04
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I'd leverage the classes you've already completed into as many prerequisites/GenEd credits that a 4yr institution will accept towards your desired goal of Sci/Eng degree, and make it a BS in that field. If the school you attended before has a college of engineering, you will def make out better in terms of them accepting those credits.

Concur with the advice on AA/AS degrees - I've never met an employee yet with one. They're all BS/MS; the entry level positions in my organization for a BS in mech/elec/sys is GS9/10.
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