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What would be a good plan for someone wanting to become an acoustic/noise control engineer?

I was planning on getting two degrees: one in math and the second in physics. Then I want to get a masters and doctorate in acoustics from Penn State. I then started researching the Institue of Noise Control Engineering. Would it be a good idea to apply for membership to INCE after graduate school? Should I do it earlier? Should I wait? Should I do it at all? Then I want to complete all three INCE courses in noise control engineering. Is board certification worth it?

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Antigone’s Answer

Dear Alaric,

Consider your education as an investment, with the ultimate goal being a successful career. The aim isn't just to accumulate knowledge and potentially debt, but to gain practical experience that will make you more employable. So, it's crucial to understand the job market for your chosen field. If you're interested in becoming an acoustics engineer, for instance, you might want to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering. Try to get some hands-on experience in the field, ideally while you're still studying, as much of the noise-related work involves understanding current flow.

Joining professional societies related to your chosen career path is also highly recommended. These societies often offer discounted memberships for students and provide excellent networking opportunities that you might not otherwise come across.

Additionally, start researching what skills and knowledge companies are looking for in your chosen field. This will help you tailor your studies and work experience to meet these requirements. Here's an example of a job posting to give you an idea: https://g.co/kgs/YNWovTt

Take good care of yourself!
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Sheila’s Answer

Hi Alaric,

Thanks for the great question. It is great to hear of your interest in acoustic/noise control engineering.

One idea is to explore/consider going into Mechanical Engineering. Mechanical engineering has many focus areas, so you can pick the area(s) that you find the most interesting. Some examples include: Noise and Vibration/Acoustics, Thermal systems/fluids, Mechanical Structures, Materials, and Automotive design. I personally have a mechanical engineering background. I recall that as part of my curriculum I took Noise and Vibration classes. I have spent many years as an engineer/engineering leader in the automotive industry and as part of this experience, I have worked alongside many engineers whose focus was N&V.

After you acquire your Bachelor of Science degree, you could determine if/what advanced degree specialty to further study. Note that some manufacturing companies will pay for your continued advanced education. So, you may want to consider this as well. (ie..If you attained a technical engineering degree, went to work for a manufacturing company, then you may be able to leverage that company’s advanced education program for your future advanced degrees)

Engineering is an exciting field to go into! Best wishes as you explore your future career options.
Thank you comment icon Hello, thank you for answering. I have been considering mechanical or architectural engineering instead of physics. I’m considering physics because I like math and was under the impression that acoustics is physics related. Should I look more into ME and/or AE? Should I minor in physics? Alaric
Thank you comment icon Hi Alaric, I would suggest you explore both Mechanical Engineering or Architecture to learn more about them. I am more familiar with Mechanical Engineering which may offer the foundational N&V skills and is applicable in many areas/industries. If you are more interested in buildings/structures – you may want to consider architecture. Another thought – you could start your university studies choosing one of these majors. In your first year at university, you will have foundational classes that likely could apply to both mechanical and architecture paths. So, you can always evolve your journey along the way if you started in one major and wanted to shift to another. Also, as you progress in your education, you could decide if you want to have a minor. Best wishes! Sheila Schultz
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