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Peedo

How to make a really old foreign BSEE diploma valid here

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Hello everyone here and first off, what a wonderful site you guys have here. Too bad I didn't discover it before when I was busy doing my AOS paperwork. But better late than never so I'd run my situation by you guys here. Maybe someone has had a similar situation.

I have a roughly Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and would like to eventually find work in this field here in the states. I have already tried to obtain employment a few times but have been told by prospective employers that even though my degree is technically valid, it's generally insufficient for finding work here in this field. They said that my diploma is simply old. True, back in the day when I got it, 21 years ago to be exact, programs were different; the whole social system was different (I graduated 1989 in Estonia, back then it was part of the old USSR and had SRR in its name). I think the whole math and physics courses have hardly changed but nowadays there are microprocessors and digital communications and so on, so I agree with what I was told that my diploma level is insufficient in reality.

Now the real question is what to do about it. I went to talk to people here in New York City at City College's School of Engineering. I asked them, after I have my degree course-by-course evaluated by WES and find out how many credits I have in reality, if can I take additional courses in areas that I'm lacking to bring my academics up to level needed for BSEE.

I was told however that one cannot take courses in the same major over again, it would have to be something else, IT or liberal arts or even accounting. This sounded quite a bit strange to me because what is the point in trying to work as an electrical engineer when one in fact has studied accounting.

They were quick to point out though that I could earn additional 30 credits with them (in other words bring them a whole lot more money) and work on Masters. At the same time they added that possibly my distant-past transcript would fall below that of graduate admission level.

The make whole story short, on one hand you cannot work in the field because your education is lacking and on the other hand you cannot jump from it because most likely you cannot get into the higher program. Is anyone here familiar with this? Anybody had a degree from former Soviet Union republics trying to make it valid here? I have to add that my first preference would be getting my existing BSEE up to par rather than going higher right away. The personal as well as financial commitments for that seem a bit far-fetched in today's economy.

What would you recommend me to do?

Thanks,

Peedo

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I'd play the ABET card -

go back, ask them -

Are you certain my degree from Estonia was or was not already certified by ABET?

(American Board of Engineering Technology)

If it was, hey - yer golden - can already sit for some masters program


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A friend of mine has a midwife BS diploma from Soviet (Ukrainian) Nursing training School - it was not valid in the US and she had to take the whole 2-years course from the American School (30k or so).

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What bothers me most about the whole things is that once I get the specific item by item report back from an American organization that specializes in putting foreign diplomas is American "terms", why isn't there a way or school to take the missing courses. Everyone involved agrees that parts of that diploma are perfectly valid. Moreover, I would even say that most of my disciplines are perfectly valid (I was a bookworm and graduated with almost all 5's, that's A's in American system).

Thus it seems to me that what I'm missing are only a few courses in specific areas. Those are the ones needed to bring everything up to par.

And why are they suggesting that one cannot take the same major over again. What's the rationale behind this? They want more money from me?

Thanks,

Peedo

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Thanks for taking time to read and answer. A few more things.

Nina - that's a good one. I have never heard of these things before. I tried to read a little bit about them but what I didn't understand was what is EIT good for? Is it a good certification/diploma to have when looking for a job or is it something that helps with enrollment?

Also, what I would really like to find out..... It there really a law or code or something that one cannot take courses over again in the same major like I was told or were the college folks just hogwashing me? Has anyone been told the same same thing?

Thanks

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Thanks for taking time to read and answer. A few more things.

Nina - that's a good one. I have never heard of these things before. I tried to read a little bit about them but what I didn't understand was what is EIT good for? Is it a good certification/diploma to have when looking for a job or is it something that helps with enrollment?

Also, what I would really like to find out..... It there really a law or code or something that one cannot take courses over again in the same major like I was told or were the college folks just hogwashing me? Has anyone been told the same same thing?

Thanks

You take the FE exam (Fundamental Engineering) and get a EIT designation (Engineer in Training). After a few years of experience, you can take the PE (Professional Engineer) licenscing exam. The requirements change from state to state, so you will have to check in with your local state agency. A lot of companies value EIT/PE license more than just having a degree, so I am sure it will help you.

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I think I can add something here. A few years ago I was working together with a Russian gentleman originally from Leningrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia). I told me his story which sounds almost identical to yours. He had gone to the DeVry University campus in New York City, asking about his BSEE diploma. As soon as he opened his mouth, they had started telling him that his diploma is insufficient but he should not worry because they have just a perfect program in Information Technologies for him. And fill out an enrollment application right then and there and the bursar is right around the corner and what not. They had not even almost let him talk. He had walked out on them... :dance:

I think the morale of the story is that beware, they are trying to sell here... Not necessarily what you want but where they have vacancies. Also, the educational system here is bit messy. Every school and college pretty much makes their own rules as they go. If they told you they can't do what you want that's probably because they are not interested in having you with them for a few semesters only. You said that you wanted to learn and they smelled the money, that's why they started to "guide" you towards the Masters. For your Masters you need to be with them for at least 4-5 semesters and that's longer and more income for them.

My advice, shop around some more, much more. Contact as many schools as possible. There could still be one that lets you build on what you already have...

Regards,

-Sunil-

Edited by Sunil

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I think I can add something here. A few years ago I was working together with a Russian gentleman originally from Leningrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia). I told me his story which sounds almost identical to yours. He had gone to the DeVry University campus in New York City, asking about his BSEE diploma. As soon as he opened his mouth, they had started telling him that his diploma is insufficient but he should not worry because they have just a perfect program in Information Technologies for him. And fill out an enrollment application right then and there and the bursar is right around the corner and what not. They had not even almost let him talk. He had walked out on them... :dance:

I think the morale of the story is that beware, they are trying to sell here... Not necessarily what you want but where they have vacancies. Also, the educational system here is bit messy. Every school and college pretty much makes their own rules as they go. If they told you they can't do what you want that's probably because they are not interested in having you with them for a few semesters only. You said that you wanted to learn and they smelled the money, that's why they started to "guide" you towards the Masters. For your Masters you need to be with them for at least 4-5 semesters and that's longer and more income for them.

My advice, shop around some more, much more. Contact as many schools as possible. There could still be one that lets you build on what you already have...

Regards,

-Sunil-

DeVry University is known as a bit of a diploma mill. If you are serious about your education, they are not worth it.


keTiiDCjGVo

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What schools then in BSEE field (that's what I still would like investigate) would you recommend, then?

Thanks,

Peedo

Look for any reputable state-run universities. What state are you in?

n.m: saw on your profile that you are living in NYC.

http://www.progressiveengineer.com/schools/schoolny.html

Edited by Nina~

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Thanks for taking time to read and answer. A few more things.

Nina - that's a good one. I have never heard of these things before. I tried to read a little bit about them but what I didn't understand was what is EIT good for? Is it a good certification/diploma to have when looking for a job or is it something that helps with enrollment?

Also, what I would really like to find out..... It there really a law or code or something that one cannot take courses over again in the same major like I was told or were the college folks just hogwashing me? Has anyone been told the same same thing?

Thanks

Who validated your degree? Was it a random academics board, or was it NCEES? (NCEES is the organization that runs the FE/EIT -- fundamentals of engineering (formerly known as engineering in training, which is not discipline-specific) -- and PE/P&P -- professional engineering (formerly known as principles & practices, and is discipline-specific) -- exams, the exams required by most states to be a licensed engineer (also known as professional engineer or PE). I don't know what it is you do in EE, but unless you're in utilities, you usually do not need to be a PE, though holding the EIT designation can open doors in the career

If it was not NCEES, you should have them evaluate your degree. It will cost around $300 as I recall. As they set the standard and are the professional organization that works with evaluation in licensing, they're the best people to do it. However, if you were talking to a SUNY-type university and not someplace like DeVry and they were telling you it's insufficient, it's quite likely that NCEES will do the same -- SUNY's ABET accredited, and NCEES works with ABET for the academic standards. For the record: my state requires that all non-ABET degrees are evaluated by NCEES before they will accept your application to sit for the FE (which is required to pass to get the EIT designation, and it's required to have passed the FE in order to sit for the PE).

If they are the ones who told you it was insufficient, if you want to work as an engineer in the US, you have two options: to transfer in a BSEE program or start a MSEE program. The MSEE program which will take one to two years and will cost between books-only (if you get an assistantship, you may have no tuition expenses & will be paid between $14k-25k/academic year) and $15-30k, and if it takes two years, you might be able to find a local internship for the summer, which (if you're paying for your tuition) would probably cover most of the tuition and might be able to turn into an academic year part time job (or even a full time job). The BSEE program would probably require at least a year at the university (maybe two if you don't have the general education requirements met or if there's a prerequisite chain you don't meet) and will cost between $2-8k/semester.

While there's no law about taking the same courses again, it's usually against university policy if you passed the class the first time.

All of that said, I don't know how many employers will ask for a degree evaluation for foreign degrees.


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Thank you all who have spent time here, following this conversation, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you! These forums are INVALUABLE. In the short span of time this thread has been active I have collected more useful knowledge than in my ~2.5 years of wondering the system here... :)

If they are the ones who told you it was insufficient, if you want to work as an engineer in the US, you have two options: to transfer in a BSEE program or start a MSEE program. The MSEE program which will take one to two years and will cost between books-only (if you get an assistantship, you may have no tuition expenses & will be paid between $14k-25k/academic year) and $15-30k, and if it takes two years, you might be able to find a local internship for the summer, which (if you're paying for your tuition) would probably cover most of the tuition and might be able to turn into an academic year part time job (or even a full time job). The BSEE program would probably require at least a year at the university (maybe two if you don't have the general education requirements met or if there's a prerequisite chain you don't meet) and will cost between $2-8k/semester.

While there's no law about taking the same courses again, it's usually against university policy if you passed the class the first time.

K and L, you brought out an interesting thing when you said that I have and option "to transfer in a BSEE program." Well, that's what I REALLY want (wanted) to do but SUNY folks said that that's impossible, one cannot take take the same major over again. Can you elaborate on the "transfer into" option, please? What's required? I'm a little confused here. You say I have an option to transfer in (I understand this statement as being able to simply add to my foreign BSEE to bring it up to US BSEE level), thay said, I don't. If I want BS degree, it would have to be in accounting... That's why I'm a little confused.

Also, my diploma evaluation transcript hasn't come back yet. I submitted it to WES (http://www.wes.org) but when it does come back, I suspect it will not come back with sufficient grades because as I said, my disciplines were quite a bit different...

Thanks again,

Peedo

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FYI, WES does not list engineering as one of the professions that they can give certification evaluation for.

Transferring into the program is completely different from starting over -- transferring in, you'd get credit for the courses you completed, and you'd take your deficiency courses & some others that will help you update your skill set until you hit their minimum number of credits for a degree. You wouldn't need to retake courses you've already passed, because they (theoretically) would be giving you credit for it.

Do consider shopping around for other universities if this one isn't willing to work with you -- every university has their own requirements. I know for a fact that my present university gave me full credit for courses I had taken in pursuit of my BSME when I started the BSEE program (before I started my graduate program) -- so, for instance, I didn't have to re-take calculus or circuits 1 or statics as I'd already completed those classes. (I also got to use my BSME courses as breadth technical electives, which helped to minimize the number of courses necessary to graduate.)


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FYI, WES does not list engineering as one of the professions that they can give certification evaluation for.

Thanks, once again I didn't know it... Who would YOU recommend to do my BSEE course-by-course certification evaluation, then? I have understood so far (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that the first step I have to take is to have my courses put in American terms so that a prospective school can see what I have studied and craft a plan of what I have to study next. I thought WES was pretty much universially recognized in that field.

Thanks,

Peedo

Edited by Peedo

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