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Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)

Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)

(OP)
Hi everyone. I’ve followed this forum for many years and I think it's one the best in the engineering field. I don’t know if this is the right part of the forum to post this. Well, let me tell my story.

I am a BSc (a 5 years degree) Mechanical Enginer from Spain with a 5 year experience in a manufacturing company ( metalworking sector). We have clients in France, Germany, as well as in Spain, of course. Well, I’m moving to the US in the next months because of my fiancée (US citizen). I already have an approved visa to go there so I’ll have the work permit in some months and I’ll be able to apply for my green card right after getting married. So I’ll be there with work permit, residence and so on….. I’ll be living in PA (close to Philly). So I don't need sponsors......

Basically, I would like to know whether employment opportunities are approximately equal for foreign and native engineers when it comes to an employer, or employers don't even look at foreign applications and I need to obtain a MSc in order to successfully enter the market? I contacted some recruiters there and they told me different answers: it doesn’t matter where you come from and yes, they normally prefer US engineers.
Is it also necessary to take the PE exam? I know it is only required for certains jobs but it may improve my employability. I’m slightly “lost” regarding engineering licensure in the US.

Thank you in advance for your opinions and advices.

RE: Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)

Exeleror,

Contact tne office of the State of Pennsylvania Attorney General. This office usually handles licensing. They will let you know requirements and instructions to obtain you Professional Engineer's license.

dogtop
An Inversion of Top Dog

RE: Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)

My opinion, based on my previous work experience:

You have resolved most of the roadblocks to getting hired as a Foreign National in the US: green card, visa, work permit, no sponsorship required, English language. The previous companies for whom I worked would certainly consider you.

A PE license is not needed unless you will be doing the kind of work that affects the Public (bridge design, building design, HVAC design, etc.). Metalworking (machining?) is Manufacturing technology and a PE is not required. It may help as a recognized measure of competence, but is not required. I've had my PE for 30 years and never had the need to stamp a drawing because I've worked in Manufacturing. But it helped set me apart from the masses.

The challenge you will face will be convincing potential employers that your degree program content is equivalent or better than that obtained in the US. Be prepared to do that: course listings, academic transcripts, portfolio of work.

A Master's degree is not necessary. In some areas it may be a disadvantage because the salary expectation is higher. In other areas, it may open future doors to advanced assignments.

I have a very negative opinion about recruiters, no longer use them, and can't recommend anyone else should, either.

TygerDawg
Blue Technik LLC
Virtuoso Robotics Engineering
www.bluetechnik.com

RE: Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)

One additional thing that might be an impediment is communications skills. While you are proficient in your native language, how are you in spoken English? If you have a "thick" accent, there may be sub-conscious, or even conscious, reluctance to hire you. If you fall into that category, you might consider engaging a voice coach.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)

(OP)
Thank you for your replies.

ok, I think the "PE" question is clear for me. It's not that I need to get if i want something more than an entry level position.

The company where I work in now has laser cutting machines, plasma, machining, bending, laser 3D, 3D printers, welding..... There are 150 of us, so it's not a little one.

I am fluent in English but of course I am not native. I talked with my girl, her family, foreign suppliers and clients with no problem. Of course, things will be different there, but I don't think it will be a problem.

RE: Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)


Quote (Exeleror)

Basically, I would like to know whether employment opportunities are approximately equal for foreign and native engineers when it comes to an employer, or employers don't even look at foreign applications and I need to obtain a MSc in order to successfully enter the market? I contacted some recruiters there and they told me different answers: it doesn’t matter where you come from and yes, they normally prefer US engineers.

It depends. If a manufacturing/engineering company has many federal government contracts, it may be required that all the staff of that company is comprised of US citizens. That said, you do not need a MSc. I suspect the recruiters are thinking more about sponsored visa positions. In that case the company would need to show that they could not find a suitable US employee. Requiring higher (and/or specialized) qualifications is one way to show that and thus they are allowed to sponsor a visa employee. Since you will already have a visa, this shouldn't be an issue for you. Finding something that fits your experience in that area (outside Philly) might be an issue though. You may have to commute into Philly, which has an additional 4% income tax if you work there, and the traffic is horrible.


Quote (Exeleror)

Is it also necessary to take the PE exam? I know it is only required for certains jobs but it may improve my employability. I’m slightly “lost” regarding engineering licensure in the US.

It is not necessary, but will open more doors and lead to higher pay if you have it. In your case, you will need to have a degree evaluation done by the state board of engineering and you need to have verifiable work experience with professional references to become a PE. The doc below summarizes your options.



RE: Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)

You might want to check with working for the State of Pennsylvania. From my experience working for the State of Indiana, a fair percentage were not born in the US. I've worked with engineers from the Middle East (Iran, Iraq), Eastern Europe (Poland, Romania) and Asia (India, China).

RE: Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)

Quote (zelgar)

You might want to check with working for the State of Pennsylvania.

The state of PA typically only hires civil/geotech for work related to transportation projects. It is extremely rare they would hire a mechanical and they definitely wouldn't hire one for manufacturing. The state is also on the very low end of the pay scale. I would not consider working for the state if I were the OP.

RE: Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)

I'll agree that State employment is not the road to riches, but may be a place the OP wouldn't originally look. In my section, we have Civil, Mechanical and Chemical engineers by training working on environmental issues.

RE: Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)

(OP)
Thank you for your answers. Right now, working for the State is not my main goal. I think it would be better if I start working in a company, gaining experience and let's say, re-starting my career in the US. That's why I am concern about the way companies will see me as a potential employee.

RE: Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)

I wouldn't worry much about perception, folks in the US are no better or worse than other countries regarding nationalism. US manufacturing has a large number of immigrants, I'd wager ~25% of my colleagues have been foreign born with many older ex-pats having foreign citizenship. The bigger issue in my opinion is location, I cant comment specifically on Philly but the northeast US in general has done a great job of taxing and otherwise legislating manufacturing out of business and/or overseas so the job market may be tough at times. On the plus side US manufacturing has been booming since our last election and hopefully will continue to do so.

RE: Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)

If you earn your PE in the US, your education will be verified by the state. If your undergrad education was accredited by ABET, you should be good to go.

Most engineers don't get their PE so it would set you apart. You'll need it, if you decide to start your own company. Always look to prepare yourself for the future and running your own company. Never be too complacent about your career, your development, and how you conduct yourself. It pays to be proactive. It all matters.

Good luck to you and your future!

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)

I think that anywhere you go in the world you will always as a foreigner be measured to a different scale than the "locals". However, in any job seeking process you application/CV is only the ticket to get you to an interview where its your personalty (and skills in selling your self) that will be measured.

In your application make sure to emphasize your good sides and how they relate to the position etc.

Best regards and good luck, Morten Andersen (PS i dont live in the US this is just my personal observations)

RE: Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)

Been there, done that. Fiancée, Green Card, the whole shebang.

I was able to quickly find a job in an engineering/consulting firm. I would suggest you try international firms first. Recruiters in small firms may not always realize there's a whole world outside the US, and that it is possible to have a foreign degree. wink

As for FE/PE, it'll depend on the State. I was able to take both exams in California, no issues. For other states, you may need to have your credentials evaluated:
Link

I'm reading some comments about accents. My opinion: don't worry about it. Again, if you end up in an international firm, you'll hear accents from all over the world. I have a very thick French accent. As long as you can communicate and people can understand you, you'll be fine. There are a lot of Spanish speaking people in the US, anyway. Btw, I'm sure Spanish accent is not as bad as Irish. tongue

Congrats and good luck!

I design aqueducts in a parallel universe.

RE: Migrating to USA from Spain (Mechanical / Manufacturing Engineer)

(OP)
Thank you everyone for your replies smile

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