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Career Change Late in Life

  • 1.  Career Change Late in Life

    Posted 6 days ago

    I returned to school late in life to obtain a degree in Architectural Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Unlike other Architectural Engineering programs, this one has a singular focus on the structural engineering of people-occupied structures.

    A combination of family challenges, poor grades, and economic recession (2008) converged, and I never got the opportunity to work in the structural engineering field. The great advantage of engineering education is an acquired ability to learn and apply knowledge in other areas such as sustainability and energy efficiency, which I've been for the past 12 years. Even though I am at the age where many engineers consider hanging up their hard hats, I realize that's not me. I want a chance to practice my first love – structural engineering.

    I would appreciate suggestions that would help me make this goal a reality. Thank you for your guidance.



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    Valerie Gilbert EI, EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Columbus OH
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  • 2.  RE: Career Change Late in Life

    Posted 5 days ago
    Hi Ms. Gilbert,

    There's a program called "Career Reboot Program" by CDM Smith. You can find it on their company page or here:
    https://cdmsmith.com/en/Careers/Reboot-Re-Entry-Program

    Oanh

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    Oanh "Wan" Le, A.M.ASCE (She/Her)
    Rochdale, MA
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  • 3.  RE: Career Change Late in Life

    Posted 15 minutes ago
    You are in luck, Ohio is one of the states that charges a minimal renewal fee for PE registration, yet provides all of the same functions of most state boards in fairly populous states. The mid west also puts you in good proximity to a lot of the market.

    I am full retirement age but put off retirement, even after being semi-retired for 6 months, simply because I wanted to build a house (of my own design) and not have to scrape to get it done. Getting hired, direct or on contract, gets easier once you get that PE or SE or have even passed the exam. I took advantage of reciprocity registration early on since the firm I worked for at the time marketed truss manufacturing machinery and connector plates all over the US and had to provide engineering services to gain clients. Not the most ideal structural job, but it got me through initial registration and adding as many other states as the management felt they could afford. As I tell students, no experience is bad experience, you did something that people needed and it added to your potential. My point is make a list of everything you need to do to get the license and get 'er done. Having that established standing as a registered professional is what all manner of firms and government entities need. Since you have an EIT, you are already on the way. The prospect of an 8 hour exam may not be fun, but the mature brain has certain advantages with these things even if takes a little aspirin afterward. Get the study guides, tell the family this is where your headed, and plan accordingly.

    Good luck, keep us posted.

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    William Bala P.E., S.E., M.ASCE
    Owner
    Hawkins TX
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  • 4.  RE: Career Change Late in Life

    Posted 4 days ago
    Hello Ms. Le,

    Thank you for your suggestion. I didn't know this existed and will see if similar programs exist elsewhere.

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    Valerie Gilbert EI, EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Columbus OH
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