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Transition from process operator to engineer

troy16troy16 Registered User new member
Pls I need help on this subject matter especially from those who has prior experience on this or have friends or heard of those with similar circumstance.
I have an undergraduate degree in mech engineering but took a job as an process operator/technician. After working as a process operator for 6yrs in a petrochemical plant, I wish to pursue an engineering position but would like to pursue a masters degree for a more specialized degree in facilities engineering.
Will my experience as a process operator be counted as an engineering experience should i decide to transition?
I also 2.87gpa in my undergraduate degree and did not have any internship and got turned down for engineering job postings soon after my undergrad so i decided to settle for a process operator job.
Now that I've worked for couple of years although its non engineering but very close so to speak, will I be able to make that transition now or would getting a masters degree in mech engineer help boost my cv and put me into a better position to succeed. I need someone advice on the best way to transitioning into engineering position for one with my background. Thanks

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  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Moved this to the more appropriate Help/Advice forum.

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  • UsagiUsagi Nah Registered User regular
    So what position are you seeking? It's entirely possible with your degree, some self-education, and a really good resume that you could get into facilities--I know most of the facilities engineers I've worked with aren't degreed engineers unless they're actually designing equipment.

    I am all for more education! The tough thing here is that you may spend a shitwhack of money on a masters of engineering and then still not get the position you're seeking. More details about your situation would be great so we could help out!

    troy16
  • SoggybiscuitSoggybiscuit At the edge of spacetime lies a path with no end.Registered User regular
    troy16 wrote: »
    Pls I need help on this subject matter especially from those who has prior experience on this or have friends or heard of those with similar circumstance.
    I have an undergraduate degree in mech engineering but took a job as an process operator/technician. After working as a process operator for 6yrs in a petrochemical plant, I wish to pursue an engineering position but would like to pursue a masters degree for a more specialized degree in facilities engineering.
    Will my experience as a process operator be counted as an engineering experience should i decide to transition?
    I also 2.87gpa in my undergraduate degree and did not have any internship and got turned down for engineering job postings soon after my undergrad so i decided to settle for a process operator job.
    Now that I've worked for couple of years although its non engineering but very close so to speak, will I be able to make that transition now or would getting a masters degree in mech engineer help boost my cv and put me into a better position to succeed. I need someone advice on the best way to transitioning into engineering position for one with my background. Thanks

    To answer your question bluntly, probably not. It's experience with the company, but it isn't engineering experience in the strictest sense.

    To answer your question freely, yes! The one thing that can give you an edge over other potential candidates for a facilities engineering position is your knowledge of the process. Do you understand the process? Do you truly understand it? What each pump/valve/etc. does? Why it does that specific job? This separates the engineers from the operators. Showing your knowledge of the process and desire to improve it will be important. Any mechanical engineer worth his/her salt can do steel drawings. A facilities/process engineer cares about the plant and seeks to improve it.

    I'm not sure if your GPA is important at this point. It's useful for getting a job right out of school but as you accumulate more experience it becomes less relevant. I'm not sure a MSME would help either; the most important trait is experience for people that aren't fresh out of college.

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    troy16
  • KafkaAUKafkaAU Western AustraliaRegistered User regular
    If you were going to do a masters degree, why not chemical engineering? That degree relates more to the process operations than a mechanical engineering degree. I may be biased though as I am a chemical engineer (employed as a process engineer).

    Personally before going for another engineering degree, I would try the next round of graduate recruitment at some of the local companies and see what a bit of process operations experience does for your chances. I personally would rate that sort of experience quite highly (even if not directly engineering related, its exposure to how the plant works).

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  • troy16troy16 Registered User new member
    Thanks for all your comments @ kafkaAU, @ soggybiscuit, @ usagi.
    Yes I know the process extensively. But I'm more interested in projects and turnarounds. A process engineer is usually responsible for managing process. However I wanted to use the experience I have to improve equipment, vessels, piping, exchangers and plan/implement turnaround and project opportunities. I don't want to be fully committed into d process itself as that will be conflicting with a process engineer job but work to improve the tangible equipments that makes the process happy. I would like the design part engineering but don't want to be an office engineer either so a balance between office and field is my desired position.
    I work for a great company but bereaucrasy and dichotomy btwn operators and engineers is a major huddle; the company won't sponsor a Masters degree for an operator cause it's not relevant to their job. Also a switch to engineering is discouraged cos they have invested lots of training to become a sound operator. Nevertheless I still desire a switch as I feel I can do more but staying as an operator has limited opportunities and I feel cheated having an undergrad for a job requiring just a high school or associate degree.
    I have given details of my situation especially to Usagi who wanted to know more about it.
    Anymore advice or comments will be appreciated. Tnx

    Geth
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