Is It Too Late to be An Engineer?

I have graduated high school and will be getting my bachelor's degree in geography in may 2010. I'm really interested in becoming a civil engineer, but it is too late to change majors. Is it too late to become an engineer? If not, What path you recommend I take? Go back and get another bachelor's degree in engineering? Will it take 4 years again or will some schools accept my previous credits? Or go to a community college for 2 years to take math and science, and then transfer to a 4 year school? Or will some graduate schools accept me without a bach.engineering degree? I'm just somewhat anxious because though I'm good at math, science isn't my strong area (Chemistry :(). And I feel like I'm too late. I will be older than everyone else in my class. But I really want to help improve the environment and the world around me. What do you think?
-Melissa
posted by Melissa on March 29, 2012

Answer by Kristin Malosh

Dear Melissa, It is never to late to become an engineer! I encourage you to pursue your interest and explore what options are available to you. Your strong skills in math will certainly support your pursuit of an engineering degree. I wouldn't let chemistry hold you back. First, consider contacting the engineering department at your current school- to review how many of your undergraduate classes would count towards a BS in Civil Engineering. Most likely, you have taken a good portion of the first/second year requirements already and another 4 years would not be necessary. Secondly, graduate programs in engineering often have students from other disciplines. However, given your background in Geography, there may be some undergraduate classes that would be required in order to transition into a Civil Engineering graduate program. It is hard to recommend which path to take, without knowing more about your specific situation. I can offer a few pieces of advice during your decision making: 1) Make a Pro/Con list, actually write them down- it is amazing how easy some decisions are when you see it on paper! 2) Choose an engineering program with a good intern/co-op program to gain some real-world experience while you finish your degree. 3) If financial support is a major decision-maker, investigate potential scholarships through organizations (e.g. Society of Women Engineers). Good luck to you! Kristin Malosh, P.E.