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Old 11-08-2004, 08:44 PM
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Career: engineer vs machinist

I'm 19, right now I'm going to a technical school learning the machining trade, the course is a year and a half long and I'm half a year in. I'm liking everything so far. I'm thinking of going back to school and becoming a mechanical engineer after I finish learning machining, but I'm not sure if its worth it. I know machining is a good trade and I like it; I'm getting smarter every day so I think I can move up pretty far in this trade. (I'm not sure how high I can go from there though, anyone know?)

To become a mechanical engineer it will take me 6 to 7 years (2 years making up stuff I should have done, +4 years for engineering). Doing well in school can be hard for me sometimes. On the plus side my parents will pay for university if I choose to do it.

I'm wondering how much more valuable is the engineering diploma over being a machinist with 6 more years of experience?

When I'm older ideally I would like to have my own company (not sure in what domain yet).

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Old 11-08-2004, 09:31 PM
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No question...Engineer, stay in school. Earning power is much higher as an engineer and one who is mechanically inclined is very desirable and very employable.
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Old 11-08-2004, 09:39 PM
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If you're offered a free ride to college you better jump all over it. There's no reason why you couldn't spend a couple of years in tech school afterwards to learn tool & die making. It'll make you more valuable yet as an engineer.

You have a chance that few people get, take it and run with it.

Larry
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Old 11-08-2004, 10:00 PM
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Hold out for the engineers training.....machinists get their hands dirty, engineers don't.
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Old 11-08-2004, 11:44 PM
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Thoughts

Engineers who know the dirty side are much better engineers..and getting all the education and experience you can get is a good thing..

Knowing how to do your own maching will make you much more valuble to a future employer and besides you can build your own stuff..
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Old 11-09-2004, 04:07 AM
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Re: Career: engineer vs machinist

Quote:
Originally posted by fiscus

I'm wondering how much more valuable is the engineering diploma over being a machinist with 6 more years of experience?

I am a Master Toolmaker. I originally started college to become a Mechanical Engineer but quit because I wanted to get married and go to work. I ended up taking a Machinist Apprenticeship and finished that. I've been in this trade for over forty years and it has been good to me. However, what I am seeing in my area of the country is that many companies are no longer hiring Journeyman Machinist and/or Master Toolmakers, but prefer to hire machine operators for much less money to run CNC machines.

Finish the machinist training and then continue on to get the Engineering degree. You will be a much better engineer with the machinist experience.

To answer your question quoted above, a good engineer can make twice the salary of an excellent Machinist.

You also mentioned your interest in going into business for yourself one day. While the tooling (machinist) and engineering will help you there, you should also take some business courses. Most very skilled folks fail at their own business because they don't know how to manage the money end of it.

Good luck!
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Old 11-09-2004, 06:32 AM
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Tons of machining is being done out of the country. More so everyday. Engineering is going to be more stable. Stay in school and get the funny striped hat (engineer, train, oh, nevermind...)
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Old 11-09-2004, 06:39 AM
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Listen to all these guys. Im in my fourth year of a five year engineering program, and have already had an internship in an engineering field.
All the machine training you've had is even more valuable then you may realize as an engineer, expecially if you doing design work.

Check out my school http://www.rit.edu . there are two types of mechanical engineering programs (i even believe there is an automotive engineering program). If you want any specific info post back or PM me, ill be happy to help!
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Old 11-09-2004, 10:35 AM
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Re: Re: Career: engineer vs machinist

Quote:
Originally posted by Frisco

Finish the machinist training and then continue on to get the Engineering degree. You will be a much better engineer with the machinist experience.

To answer your question quoted above, a good engineer can make twice the salary of an excellent Machinist.

You also mentioned your interest in going into business for yourself one day. While the tooling (machinist) and engineering will help you there, you should also take some business courses. Most very skilled folks fail at their own business because they don't know how to manage the money end of it.

Good luck!
Couldn't agree more!!!!!
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Old 11-09-2004, 10:40 AM
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First of all you said school can be ruff for you, well than you will never make it through engineering school (its not easy)
I teach a couple classes a year to engineering students at three different universities.

First of all, a good machinist will make more money than most engineers, now understand there are rich engineers (exceptions) but highly specialized. Right now I would hate to be an unemployed engineer as my friend went through last year. He finally got a good job with a big international company for $53,000 a year!
YUK, in my book.

GM started back 15 years ago weeding out the high paid engineers and replacing with college kids to save money and they are still in that phase.
My youngest son is computer engineer , yea he gets a private jet with pilot and good benefits but salary what a good painter can make.

Its funny, but the classes I do, the students have this big idea of all the big bucks they are going to make and you talk to them a year later and its why waste the time.
I have 9 years invested in education (after work), if I had to do it again, I would be a rotten lawyer.
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Old 11-09-2004, 10:42 AM
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I agree with barry, I'm in college right now for a pre-manufacturing engineering deal and I hate it, going to be transfering to something different.
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Old 11-09-2004, 10:56 AM
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I just did your homework and talked to a high up at (car co) and
(oil co). (sorry I deleted names of companies as an after thought) 1:41

Here it is.

Car co.
Eng (standard not supervisory)
$45-75,000
Machinist (skilled trade)
75-120,000 depending on overtime.

Oil
48-75,000 (non PHD)

Last edited by BarryK; 11-09-2004 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 11-09-2004, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by BarryK
I just did your homework and talked to a high up at (car co) and
(oil co). (sorry I deleted names of companies as an after thought) 1:41

Here it is.

Car co.
Eng (standard not supervisory)
$45-75,000
Machinist (skilled trade)
75-120,000 depending on overtime.

Oil
48-75,000 (non PHD)
Just where are those machinist jobs located? I know 55 Master Tool & Diemakers that would sure be interested as our jobs are going to Mexico (some are already there).

In reality, I believe you were given greatly inflated wage info for Machinist even taking into consideration for wage differences in different sections of the country, union versus non-union and overtime.
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Old 11-09-2004, 12:11 PM
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Well, if the jobs are going overseas was not the question as about all jobs are.

PhD engineers in India make $20,000 a year.

That rate was from a big 3 for a Skilled trades position. UAW.

Lets face it, like you said if your a machinist or engineer in a rural
area somewhere the wages will be less.

Edit add-on:
Since you brought it up he also said Machine repair and Tool and Die are a higher classification.
No reason for him to inflate.

Last edited by BarryK; 11-09-2004 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 11-09-2004, 12:30 PM
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Job Satisfaction

Do you really enjoy what you are doing ..... is it something that you look forward to when you get up in the morning..Do you like the people that you work with..Is the job interesting to you..

Do you have a talent for what you are doing??

If those kinds of things can be answered in the affirmative then you will be more likely to be successful in what you are doing..my way of looking at this..
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