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Engineer (P.Eng.) to Teacher?

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[OP]
Jr. Member
Dec 10, 2009
106 posts
14 upvotes

Engineer (P.Eng.) to Teacher?

Hi guys, sorry if this ends up being a bit long. I'd love to hear some of your stories and advice, and this is partially a bit of venting for myself.

A bit about myself. I'm 30 male, with 7+ years of Engineering experience and a licensed P.Eng., so not a newbie and have figured out what I don't like at least in this point of my life. As with many immigrants, I pursued Engineering in hopes of stability and was very fortunate to remain gainfully employed, but truthfully I don't have the passion for it anymore especially after the corporate environment. I've been through many industries as an engineer, and when I look back the only time I was fully engaged and happy (subjective) was at school. I can't say I'd be a good teacher, but I value the community aspect that a school brings. I enjoy learning and would be happy if I can even encourage one student to see learning and knowledge as a lifelong pursuit. School to me is a comforting second home, and a place to be enlightened (socially and academically).

I would prefer high school, with teachables in Math and Chemistry. If I'm adamant about staying in the GTA, what are my chances and time horizons of full time employment? I'm not too worried about salary, but what's holding me back is my personal financial commitments and being effectively unemployed for at least 2 years. Would my experience and license help at all in this market? Am I just being delusional as to what being a teacher is like? Perhaps I am just burnt out more than anything, there's no doubt that teaching is a lot of work and there will be periods of stress and frustration as any other job.

What'd you guys think? Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks.
15 replies
Deal Fanatic
Jul 13, 2009
5078 posts
3324 upvotes
Science and Maths are high in demand, but teaching positions in the beginning will be a challenge as you hold zero seniority. You may need to prepare yourself to teach outside the GTA to start.
Deal Addict
Apr 7, 2011
2029 posts
521 upvotes
Hamilton
I looked into teaching 10 years ago. I'm an engineer with an MBA in accounting.

What I found was that I would not be able to teach math or any of the sciences because I didn't have enough Science courses nor Math courses even with a B.Eng. They wouldn't accept any of my engineering courses towards a teachable. Teaching is extremely picky on stuff like that. I'd have only been able to teach accounting or business.

I'd suggest you look into the College of Teachers website for the requirements. For any of the boards you need to meet these requirements. Private schools don't always require them but that's contract labour in many cases.
Sr. Member
Nov 22, 2017
931 posts
683 upvotes
It sounds like you are just burned out. 30 is very young. You'll have to go back to school for teacher's college, are you prepared for that? After that it will be very competitive to get in especially in the GTA. You will spend a few years as a supply teacher and have to establish connections with principals and teachers.

You didn't say what type of engineering you practice? Look into leverging your experiences to do something else related like project management for example. I think that's the most logical path for most engineers who are tired of doing technical work. It sounds like you enjoyed school. Have you thought about doing post graduate studies?
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 1, 2001
1150 posts
470 upvotes
Toronto
HyperMegaJet wrote: Hi guys, sorry if this ends up being a bit long. I'd love to hear some of your stories and advice, and this is partially a bit of venting for myself.

A bit about myself. I'm 30 male, with 7+ years of Engineering experience and a licensed P.Eng., so not a newbie and have figured out what I don't like at least in this point of my life. As with many immigrants, I pursued Engineering in hopes of stability and was very fortunate to remain gainfully employed, but truthfully I don't have the passion for it anymore especially after the corporate environment. I've been through many industries as an engineer, and when I look back the only time I was fully engaged and happy (subjective) was at school. I can't say I'd be a good teacher, but I value the community aspect that a school brings. I enjoy learning and would be happy if I can even encourage one student to see learning and knowledge as a lifelong pursuit. School to me is a comforting second home, and a place to be enlightened (socially and academically).

I would prefer high school, with teachables in Math and Chemistry. If I'm adamant about staying in the GTA, what are my chances and time horizons of full time employment? I'm not too worried about salary, but what's holding me back is my personal financial commitments and being effectively unemployed for at least 2 years. Would my experience and license help at all in this market? Am I just being delusional as to what being a teacher is like? Perhaps I am just burnt out more than anything, there's no doubt that teaching is a lot of work and there will be periods of stress and frustration as any other job.

What'd you guys think? Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks.
Do you have teacher friends that have left ? Might be good to hear their side too
[OP]
Jr. Member
Dec 10, 2009
106 posts
14 upvotes
Sum_guy wrote: I looked into teaching 10 years ago. I'm an engineer with an MBA in accounting.

What I found was that I would not be able to teach math or any of the sciences because I didn't have enough Science courses nor Math courses even with a B.Eng. They wouldn't accept any of my engineering courses towards a teachable. Teaching is extremely picky on stuff like that. I'd have only been able to teach accounting or business.

I'd suggest you look into the College of Teachers website for the requirements. For any of the boards you need to meet these requirements. Private schools don't always require them but that's contract labour in many cases.
Really? That sounds pretty unreasonable. Were your courses labelled as something like "Calc X for Engineers"? Which school/program did you graduate from?
Extrahard wrote: It sounds like you are just burned out. 30 is very young. You'll have to go back to school for teacher's college, are you prepared for that? After that it will be very competitive to get in especially in the GTA. You will spend a few years as a supply teacher and have to establish connections with principals and teachers.

You didn't say what type of engineering you practice? Look into leverging your experiences to do something else related like project management for example. I think that's the most logical path for most engineers who are tired of doing technical work. It sounds like you enjoyed school. Have you thought about doing post graduate studies?
I'm a chemical engineer by education, and have been doing project management type roles for awhile. I had some stints in manufacturing / heavy chemicals, but those are typically outside of the GTA and not sustainable longer term.
ranjeet2000 wrote: Do you have teacher friends that have left ? Might be good to hear their side too
Nope, none that I'm aware of that has left Teaching. I know Teaching is hard to break though, but are you (or anyone) aware of the timeline to begin earning steady money at least? For example from the start of the B.Ed program to my first supply teaching gig, would that be 2-2.5 years worth of time?
Deal Fanatic
May 18, 2009
7323 posts
2309 upvotes
Richmond Hill
what about technical colleges? the small private ones would be easy to get in
Deal Addict
Apr 7, 2011
2029 posts
521 upvotes
Hamilton
HyperMegaJet wrote: Really? That sounds pretty unreasonable. Were your courses labelled as something like "Calc X for Engineers"? Which school/program did you graduate from?

I'm an aerospace grad from Carleton. Except for math all of my classes from 2nd year onwards were not taught in the Science faculty but we're in the Engineering faculty so they didn't count.

Maybe you'd qualify in chemistry as a Chem Eng but that depends on the specifics of the program.

Teaching is an odd profession with a rigid set of rules for stuff like this. Reasonable is not their vibe, it's very checklist.

So far as changing careers, don't not do it if you're unhappy. I figured out after third year of never enjoy engineering and graduated mostly because it'd be faster to do so and do two years of grad school then start fresh in a B.Comm.

Since then I'm on my third career and planning for the jump to the next one.
Deal Addict
Apr 7, 2011
2029 posts
521 upvotes
Hamilton
I'll mention a couple of things - colleges like Humber or Sheridan will expect grad degrees to teach there. I had a lecturer that moonlighted at Mac and taught at Sheridan and she said that to get into Sheridan she needed her PhD.

Private schools don't always have the same requirements as teaching for a board. You could look at one of the international schools that cater to kids looking the get an Ontario diploma. (They want the diploma because it makes it easier to get into schools in America or Canada or elsewhere). Even then they'll want experience. The pay is less typically and it's session based so little job security.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Apr 1, 2015
1637 posts
929 upvotes
NOYFB
You said you are not very picky with salary .. then private high school could be an option.

no I'm not talking about UCC or Branksome Hall .. check out those private schools that take international students

they are not as strict with designation and such..

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-re ... -list.html

my European friend with no teaching certificate got a computer science teaching job in one of them midtown
plz don't touch my signature.

don't make me less of a human just cause i don't share your "idiotologies".

👮‍♂️👮‍♀️lives matter
[OP]
Jr. Member
Dec 10, 2009
106 posts
14 upvotes
Sum_guy wrote: I'm an aerospace grad from Carleton. Except for math all of my classes from 2nd year onwards were not taught in the Science faculty but we're in the Engineering faculty so they didn't count.

Maybe you'd qualify in chemistry as a Chem Eng but that depends on the specifics of the program.

Teaching is an odd profession with a rigid set of rules for stuff like this. Reasonable is not their vibe, it's very checklist.

So far as changing careers, don't not do it if you're unhappy. I figured out after third year of never enjoy engineering and graduated mostly because it'd be faster to do so and do two years of grad school then start fresh in a B.Comm.

Since then I'm on my third career and planning for the jump to the next one.
I see. I did look online and Chem Eng courses were acceptable for chemistry (most of it is just applied chemistry). If you don't mind me asking, how long have you been working and what career fields have you tried so far / are considering? How did you know you weren't just burnt out vs finding the right career? How did the career changes work out? Sorry about all the questions, it just nice to get some perspective from an eng that went through the same teaching considerations as myself.
Terabithia wrote: You said you are not very picky with salary .. then private high school could be an option.

no I'm not talking about UCC or Branksome Hall .. check out those private schools that take international students

they are not as strict with designation and such..

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-re ... -list.html

my European friend with no teaching certificate got a computer science teaching job in one of them midtown
That definitely is a last ditch option. What I meant by not picky on the salary is that I'm ok with starting low with a big pay cut, and even doing supply teaching for a year. But I'd need something stable long term (hence public) and want to be involved with clubs and events and other community activities.
Member
May 29, 2017
464 posts
367 upvotes
Sum_guy wrote: I'll mention a couple of things - colleges like Humber or Sheridan will expect grad degrees to teach there. I had a lecturer that moonlighted at Mac and taught at Sheridan and she said that to get into Sheridan she needed her PhD.
I think in this case they just advertise that they require graduate degrees or prefer but its not really written in stone. MANY of our teachers were just either students who went to humber and had a science or an engineering degree. Mind you this is purely for the electronics engineering program, but several teachers only had just their undergraduate and 1 just had his college diploma. Mark rector only had college and several other teachers were just previous humber students who had a degree. Randy G (mr g) just did had a bachelors of science and did the electronics program. Goerges Livanos went to humber college and lakeshore university. These 3 teachers are core teachers and they also were also the program coordinators. Many others I can name just had regular degress.
Deal Addict
Oct 24, 2010
2566 posts
2517 upvotes
Ottawa
Do you like research?

To throw an option out there, you'll have to go back to school to get your teaching degree anyway if you go that route, so have you considered pursuing a masters or PhD and heading down the path of lecturing at the university level?

Alternatively, I have a former classmate whose career path looked like this:
  • Electrical Engineering degree
  • 8 years of Engineering and PM experience
  • Academic Chair in the Electrical Engineering Technology department at a trade school (SAIT in Calgary)

So straight into academics at this point is not out of the realm of possibility. He's since left that role and is now a founder and part owner of a micro brewery and a capital investment advisor, so a bit of a unique career trajectory.

I have other former electrical engineering classmates who have gone to law school and now practice things like patent law. I have another classmate who decided to follow Engineering with a degree in medicine and now runs a family practice.

Teaching is hard, and insecure at the start. I married into a family of teachers (in-laws, sister-in-law). Almost all have gone through the process of having to teach somewhere remote, or be on a substitute list, for years. It was no different 30 years ago than it was today. If you're flexible, though, some northern communities (particularly in northern Alberta) pay quite a bit.

You're also working pretty long hours, as much as everyone thinks teachers only work 6 hours a day. Granted they're free for the summer, but they put in 50+ hour weeks during the school year. But then in retirement - my in-laws are retired teachers and gross $100k+/year in pension income as a couple, and they're not yet 60.
Deal Expert
Feb 29, 2008
19099 posts
17432 upvotes
Tarrana & The Ri…
I see so many engineers bailing.
Newbie
Apr 16, 2013
27 posts
1 upvote
Richmond Hill
seems to be the norm nowadays. But with engineering you are able to given its versatile nature. It's just the personal belief that has to follow through.
Member
Jul 7, 2020
372 posts
195 upvotes
I think it would be a good idea to consider moving to a different province to do your teacher training and then stay there for a job. Ontario is tough, even someone like yourself with high-value teachables.

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