Masters or Bachelors? What Education Level is Important in Engineering Hiring?

By Jezabel Southard

Posted on December 3, 2013

Hiring managers who interview and hire engineers quickly discover that engineers undertake varying levels of formal education before launching themselves into the job market.  Some engineering candidates have completed only a bachelor’s degree.  Others have done graduate work, earning a master’s or similar degree.  Both sets of candidates may come with varying levels of experience as well.

For job-seekers, deciding whether to find a position after finishing a bachelor’s degree or apply to grad school can be a major life decision.  Both paths offer pros and cons for both engineers and the companies that hire them.  Consider the following points:

Bachelors Candidates

Engineers with a bachelor’s degree have completed less formal education than some of their peers.  However, many of these job candidates have committed themselves to continuing education, both on the job and through continuing education and certification programs.

Benefits of the engineering bachelor’s degree include:

  • For Employers: A candidate with a bachelor’s degree offers an opportunity to train a new hire and set him or her on the path to success within your particular organization and its company culture and values.  Candidates with bachelor’s degrees also typically start at a lower pay rate than candidates with a graduate education, allowing them to “earn their way” up the ladder.
  • For Candidates:  Heading into the work world after finishing the bachelor’s degree allows you to gain experience and pay a few years sooner than your grad-school-bound counterparts.

Master’s Candidates

Engineers with a master’s degree may have entered graduate school right out of their bachelor’s degree, or may have worked a few years before returning to school.

Benefits of the engineering master’s degree include:

  • For Employers: Master’s candidates often bring a depth of experience, research, and knowledge to the job that other candidates are hard-pressed to match.  They often offer leadership and communication skills that are indispensable to doing complex projects well.
  • For Candidates:  The master’s degree allows you to pursue a problem or field of study in more depth while developing your network with other engineers, academics, and similar key players in your field.  It may also lead to being hired at a higher pay grade, helping to level the playing field between you and the candidates who skipped grad school to start working immediately.

At TERRA Staffing, our experienced recruiters have help us earn a proud place on the “Best of Staffing – Talent” list, with a talent satisfaction score nearly double the industry average.  We earn this score by giving each candidate match the time and attention required to ensure a great fit between engineers and the companies that hire them.  TERRA’s team of engineering recruiters are all seasoned, experienced recruiters specializing exclusively in engineering and technical staffing. Contact us today to learn how we can help your company!

Categories: HR and Management Advice, Staffing Tips & Recruiting Trends

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