Hi, my name is Abigail and I am currently in 9th grade. I am in the pursuit of becoming an engineer; chemical engineering and environmental engineering interest me the most. Although engineering is appealing to me, but I have very many questions. What courses should I take in high school to help prepare myself? How long should I go to college for this occupation, and do I need a licence? If I do become an engineer, what would my weekly and daily work schedule look like? I am a very family oriented person, so how much time would I be able to spend with my family, and what could my vacation time be like? Thanks so much!!
by Abigail , Storm Lake, Iowa
on April 2, 2013
You can definitely have a great family life while being an engineer. You're young now and there is plenty of time to change your mind about which specific field to go in to; for now focus on taking math and science courses that you enjoy. I took calculus, physics and two years of chemistry when I was in high school.
When you apply to college, be sure to identify which major you want; there may be opportunities for extra scholarships for being a female in engineering. College will take about 4 years, maybe a little longer if you do a job experience (I worked in a paper mill!). As you get close to finishing your bachelor's degree, you might decide to go get a master's degree or even a PhD.
When you get into the engineering world, you should have a few options of which company to go to. Try to find a company that matches your ideals and respects their employees' dedication to a work-life balance. Work to live, don't live to work!