What's next after engineering

Study after the technician

In order to be able to study without a high school diploma, detours in the résumé are no longer necessary. With a technician in your pocket, engineering studies are now easily possible. Depending on the federal state and university, master craftsmen and technicians graduates may even apply for the so-called general university entrance qualification. This means that any course of study could be included at the university. However, this is often combined with an application process, an entrance examination and / or a trial semester.

Most state-certified technicians, however, choose a course that fits their previous job and makes sense for their own career. Apart from that, you don't want to completely reorient yourself with your studies. Therefore, it is usually a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or electrical engineering that comes into question.

The further training for technicians builds a meaningful bridge between vocational training and studies. Nevertheless, one would not even necessarily need a technician to be able to study without a high school diploma: In the meantime, professional training (at least two years) and three years of professional experience are sufficient for this. However, this means that you are technically restricted to the respective training and under certain circumstances an examination and / or trial semester may be necessary again.

Why study after the technician?

There are many reasons for adding a degree after completing further training as a technician. The additional qualification itself offers new perspectives in terms of tasks and salary. On average, however, an engineer earns significantly more than an employee without academic training. As far as work is concerned, that of technician and engineer can certainly overlap. In management positions, for example, both can be represented. Even a technician can be enough to make a career in an industrial company, while a university degree, regardless of whether it is a bachelor's or master's degree, is not necessarily a guarantee for a steep career leap. Whether the effort is worthwhile for a university degree always depends on where you want to go professionally.

Be that as it may - engineers and technicians, like any higher technical qualification, are still in high demand on the job market. Both degrees are not necessarily comparable with each other. A bachelor's degree is therefore not “higher” than a technician, but simply different.

Differences between technician and Bachelor: is the technician equivalent?

The German Qualifications Framework (DQR) was introduced in 2012 to make professional qualifications within Germany and across the EU (EQR) more transparent and comparable. The technician and master is on the same level as the Bachelor (level 6 of 8). According to this, one could say that the degrees are basically equivalent, but in practice they are in fact not: All three qualifications, i.e. technician, master and bachelor, differ both in technical content and scope. While the technician can be completed full-time in two years, a bachelor's degree usually has a standard study period of three and a half years. The course is not only longer, but also more theory is chewed through, such as pure mathematics or the basics of physics, electrical engineering and other natural sciences.

Studying for a master’s degree right after the technician?

The bachelor's degree is also one of the admission requirements for a master’s degree, a technician qualification is usually not sufficient - despite the aforementioned same level in the qualification framework. If you are aiming for a master’s degree in engineering, you cannot avoid the bachelor’s degree.

For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned that, in a few exceptions, a master’s degree can also be studied without a bachelor’s or diploma: Most of them are management masters at private academies that lead to the degree “Master of Business Administration” (MBA). Many years of professional experience and a good justification can possibly replace the bachelor's degree as an entry requirement. This is the case, for example, when a technician moves up into the management of a company and his position requires a corresponding university education. The Euro-FH, for example, offers master’s courses without a first degree, but requires ten years of professional experience, six of which must be spent in a management position. In addition, a six-month introductory program has to be completed.

These courses can then be completed part-time and are accordingly expensive - usually around 10,000 euros. Such degrees are intended for specific management positions and are not suitable for early career planning directly after the technician qualification.

Allow the technician to count towards your studies

As already mentioned, you can enroll in a course of study with the technician without any problems. It is certain that the contents of the two courses overlap. However, when it comes to having specific qualifications credited towards the Bachelor's degree, there are no clear regulations across Germany as to when and what is possible. The university always decides that on an individual basis and often the bureaucratic and time-consuming discussion with the examination office is not worthwhile, so that one often prefers to come to terms with being able to do something and getting the upcoming examination over with all the easier.

Almost every engineering degree requires (at least) one practical semester. Here it is usually easy for the technicians to have their work experience credited to them. Proof of the duration and type of activity from the employer should be sufficient for this, so that no technically experienced technician has to go back to a six-month internship during their studies.

Foreign universities recognize technicians

Some schools also have direct cooperation with foreign universities, which then recognize the content of the technical training course without objection - in contrast to German universities. Such opportunities are interesting for technicians qualified in this country in order to get to a Bachelor's and Master's degree quickly. While the standard period of study for both together is at least five years, a technician abroad can achieve a master's degree after just two years.

For example, the Erlangen Technical School recommends studying at Glyndŵr University in Wrexham, North Wales. After just one year of study, a technician can already have a bachelor's degree in his pocket, as some credits (ECTS) are already recognized at the technical school. While tuition fees quickly disappeared in this country, you are not (no longer) exempt in Wales. A semester there costs a good several thousand euros. However, tuition fees in Wales are significantly lower than in England. With funding from the EU and BAföG abroad, this burden can be dampened somewhat - the option abroad is nevertheless expensive.

How to study as a technician - part-time, full-time or distance learning?

Anyone who would like to add a degree is faced with the same question that arose before continuing education to become a technician: How should the training be completed? As with the technician qualification, the three options are again available:
- Full-time: quickly but without
- Part-time: only half as fast, but part-time
- Distance learning: fully flexible, but a double burden

Even if the three options are the same as for the technician course, they have different advantages and disadvantages when it comes to university studies:

A full-time study is the classic variant for high school graduates and even for technicians with employment and / or family it is not necessarily the most unfavorable variant. While the schedule of the technical school is still tightly organized, lectures and seminars of a degree offer a little more freedom. Only a few courses are required to be present and are occasionally offered several times at different times in major courses. Therefore, a full-time study and a part-time permanent position do not necessarily have to be mutually exclusive - on the contrary with the (full-time) technical school.

So if a part-time course with twice as long the standard period of study is not fast enough for you, you can definitely dare to try this sporty variant. In addition, every now and then some exams can simply be postponed to the next semester. A “long-term study”, as it was possible in the past, is no longer feasible today because of a fixed maximum length of study. A bachelor's degree with a standard study time of around seven semesters is usually limited to ten time semesters. Without exemptions or vacation semesters, you can take a maximum of three semesters more time. However, these should not be planned in advance. Because if some exams have not been passed and have to be rewritten in the next semester, you are happy to have some room for improvement in terms of time.

Since the maximum length of study is usually limited, many universities also offer part-time studies. They usually only differ from the full-time variant in that a student has twice as much semester time to graduate and can only complete half of the exams (or credits) per semester. There is then talk of a “false part-time course”, since it is not an independent course parallel to the full-time version. For those who work part-time and possibly also have their own family at home, it is probably the most practical study solution. When it comes to childcare, a lot has happened at the universities. For students who are single parents (but not only for them), there are childcare options available directly from the university.

For those who have already got to know and appreciate the technician in the distance learning course, a distance learning course for a bachelor’s degree is a good option. In principle, it works in exactly the same way as the technician course: Learning is done exclusively with the help of books and (online) documents provided by the distance learning university. Depending on the course, there are also some face-to-face events and the exams are also written on site at certain times. The advantage of distance learning is the full flexibility, which also enables you not to have to give up a full-time job. In return, it is far more exhausting to acquire the knowledge on your own and only on the basis of the material. While in the regular on-site study you benefit from the exchange with fellow students and the lecturers.

The distance learning courses for technicians are offered exclusively by private universities. As far as distance learning is concerned, there is one or only state alternative with the Hagen Distance Learning University, which is therefore much cheaper than the private one. An entire course of study there costs around 1,500 euros, whereas at a private university that much can only cost one semester. As far as engineering courses are concerned, the selection at the Fernuni Hagen is not exactly abundant: Bachelor degrees are only offered in mathematics, computer science and business informatics. For most technicians, studying mechanical or electrical engineering should be interesting. But there are also a few state distance learning courses for this purpose: in mechanical engineering, for example at the TU Dresden or TU Ilmenau - in electrical engineering, for example at the HS Anhalt or HTW Dresden.

Funding option: Promotion grant

The advancement scholarship supports skilled workers with vocational training and practical experience in their first university studies. Many of our scholarship holders gain access to university studies through a technical degree.

Around 1,000 scholarships can be awarded annually. There are now scholarship holders at over 300 universities.

Information is available at www.aufstiegsstipendium.de


FAQ: Studying after the technician

What can I study after the state-certified technician?

In principle, any course of study is open to a technician, the subject area of ​​which fits the technical training. A mechanical engineer can therefore enroll in mechanical engineering.

Depending on the federal state and university, you can (only) start a non-specialist course with a technician. However, this may require entrance exams, trial semesters or selection interviews. Each university has its own requirements for studying without a high school diploma. Apart from the fact that this is now basically possible in every federal state, there is no uniform access regulation.

Do I even need advanced training for technicians to study?

Not really. Anyone who can demonstrate vocational training and three years of professional experience can, under certain circumstances, be admitted to a subject-related degree. That means again that the training has to match the course - the IT specialist can study computer science, for example.

After completing your training, there are other ways to go to university: In some federal states there is a vocational college, where you can obtain the technical college entrance qualification after one year or the subject-specific or general higher education entrance qualification (Abitur) after two years after completing vocational training. Anyone who knows after their training that they definitely want to study does not have to complete further training first.

Does the qualification as a state-certified technician even make sense if I want to become an engineer anyway?

If the technician fits the respective course, the qualification is never wasted time. You are not necessarily better off than engineers without further training as a technician, but it is an indication of additional practical experience. This makes it easier to start studying. Especially in theoretical subjects such as mathematics and physics, the demands are enormous - even compared to the Abitur - so that any kind of preliminary course or previous education is helpful. Technological students therefore have it easier than students who come from high school or technical college. In addition, the technician shortens the course by at least the practical semester - that is, by half a year.

Is full-time, part-time or distance learning the best option?

That always depends on your own living environment. Master BAföG is independent of age and income. However, the regular BAföG is not. This is only available up to an age of about 30 years. So if you are still young and flexible enough, you can dive into the classic full-time course. Those who have the opportunity to work part-time at the same time also study part-time. Distance learning offers the greatest possible freedom, but it is demanding and can be expensive.

Is it worth studying after the technician?

That cannot be answered in such a general way. You can certainly make a career with just one technician, while engineers, on the other hand, are sometimes fobbed off with technician positions. The bachelor's degree is a higher degree that, depending on the position, can provide better salary prospects, but does not necessarily have to be. The master’s degree is also no guarantee of this. Although higher degrees do not necessarily open up better, but mostly different perspectives.

The best example of this would be a doctorate, i.e. a doctorate. Apart from the flattery of always being able to use a different address, it is a rather nonsensical title for the free economy. A master’s degree is usually sufficient. A doctorate is only worthwhile for a career in science or research that is different but not necessarily more lucrative.

The straight hierarchy of “higher qualifications” goes at best from school leaving qualifications to vocational training and continuing education. In addition, it is more accurate to refer to them as “other degrees” when comparing technicians and degrees. It therefore always depends on where you want to go. So if the technician position is no longer good for you and does not shy away from theory, a degree can be worthwhile for you - even if it is only for a change of professional scene.

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