"If you're working for an HVAC company … or working for a general civil firm doing grading or drainage … a bachelor's degree will work fine for that," he adds.
Engineers considering a master's degree should explore options outside of their discipline, too, says Wittliff, who earned his bachelor's in mechanical engineering from Southern Methodist University, then got an MBA from the University of Oklahoma.
"The MBA sets the tone for you to get into management in larger corporations. You could do it the purely technical route, but at some point they see you as a technical specialist," he says. "If you want to get to the top you have to have some management and business acumen—otherwise it doesn't make any sense."
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