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Old 12-14-2013, 12:15 PM   #1
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Default Alternative Energy Degree

So I'm contemplating going back to school. I want to get an Engineering degree and focus on alternative energy like wind, solar, thermal, etc. What I would really like to do one day is design off the grid custom homes. I know that wouldn't be feasible as a new college graduate supporting a family. I'm 31, only have one semester I'm counting as transfer credits, I'm married, have four kids. How would you guys pull this off? What degree in Engineering will offer me stability and good pay? I will probably live in Arkansas after my degree is completed.
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:28 PM   #2
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Post a syllabus of said course.
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:33 PM   #3
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And look up salary surveys. Petroleum, nuclear, and deep silicon (chip) engineers are the most highly paid - it follows that it's because of supply and demand.

Here's one list:
Top Paying Engineering Specializations, Best Engineering Fields

And tell us, what are you good at and enjoy? Math, calculus, visualizing objects, CAD design, coding, software, circuits?
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jacob300zx View Post
focus on alternative energy like wind, solar, thermal, etc.
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Petroleum, nuclear,
too bad you cant get into mountaintop removal coal mining...
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:39 PM   #5
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I just starting contemplating this last week. Just looking for advice since there are several engineers on the board. Strip mining could be lucrative.
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:33 PM   #6
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Petroleum Engineer, do it.

There is going to be demand as more US shale plays come online over the next 5 years. There's lots of individual specializations(drilling, completion, production, reservior, etc...) so you can find the role that fits you best and enjoy the most.
Starting salaries in Texas are in the 70-90K range, at the 10 year mark salaries can be in the 200k+ range. Down side is the variability in the industry, the boom/bust cycle can be pretty tough. It's not a cake walk but it can be rewarding.
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Old 12-14-2013, 11:39 PM   #7
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Hey buddy was going to call you today but **** came up. Thanks Stubbs
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Old 12-15-2013, 01:23 AM   #8
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I just watched a good friend graduate today with a petroleum engineering degree. He is starting off at 95k in Houston.
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Old 12-15-2013, 01:24 PM   #9
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You should also consider where you want to live. While petroleum and nuclear engineering both pay very well, you can't exactly live anywhere you want and work in those fields. Aeronautical/aerospace is a little more flexible, mechanical and electrical much more so and even little towns in the middle of nowhere have civil engineers. That being said, one of my buddies is a petroleum engineer and they essentially throw those bags with dollar signs on the side full of money at him.

If you're set on the alternative energy, I'd get an ME or EE degree and focus on those areas rather than get an "alternative energy engineering" degree, if such a thing exists and is ABET accredited.

Getting an engineering degree in a reasonable amount of time w/four kids and a wife will be...challenging.
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Old 12-15-2013, 01:43 PM   #10
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If you're set on the alternative energy, I'd get an ME or EE degree and focus on those areas rather than get an "alternative energy engineering" degree, if such a thing exists and is ABET accredited.
+1
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Old 12-15-2013, 07:46 PM   #11
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There are several new big petroleum finds in Arkansas. One is under a mountain that belongs to someone I know. It was a complete surprise.
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:56 PM   #12
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I am a bit biased being and EE, but you cant really go wrong with any engineering degree. Civil engineers are always needed everywhere, but there pay is not as good relative to others. They also require lots of post graduate education (A CivE without his PE license is not very useful to companies). an EE degree is also incredibly versatile, the breadth of subjects covered by electrical engineering is second to none.

My wife is a Chemical/petroleum engineer, and it is really hard. You are also limited to where you can do work (typically near large chemical plants/refineries or in support of) but the 90-100K starting salary can make up for that.

Being super specialized with your bachelor's degree makes you harder to employ. If you focus your classwork and certificates/minors to a specific subject, you may find employers outside of you specialty less prone to hire you.

I would also be careful about renewable energy. While renewables are "popular" and everyone seems to like them, only the government is willing to foot the bill for their construction. If funding for them dries up as the result of a budget battle, I would expect construction on them to stop almost entirely.


Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by shooterschmidty
If you're set on the alternative energy, I'd get an ME or EE degree and focus on those areas rather than get an "alternative energy engineering" degree, if such a thing exists and is ABET accredited.


+1
+100000
if it is not ABET acredited, it is probably not worth getting.
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