I thought about this scenario in the past but I want to see what you guys think.
Would it be possible to practice as a patent agent for a couple years in an area, say, chemistry, and then decide that another area might be more interesting, and then get a degree in that new area, say, EE, and then practice as a patent agent in EE? Has anyone done this? Would such a person be looked upon as a "fresh" patent agent in that area?
It's clear under what scenarios your plan would give you a leg up over competing candidates with otherwise the same background, assuming the firm handles both chemistry and EE:
(1) The position calls for an agent with a chemistry degree and X years of experience as an agent. Your second degree in EE gives you a leg up because you have the potential to expand into EE work. You get hired and migrate to EE work. This is your best scenario.
(2) The position calls for a newly minted EE with little or no industry experience and little experience as an agent. Your experience as an agent and ability to handle chemistry cases gives you a leg up .... but you may have to accept a lower salary than in (1) because you will have to come up to speed on EE patents.
That said, I can't imagine why anyone would get a degree in EE solely to enhance his career as an agent. Especially when, judging from your other posts, you don't seem to be too happy as an agent now. If you're interested in EE, it would make sense to get a degree in EE, work in industry as a EE, and then decide whether you would prefer to be an agent. You will be well positioned to return to life as an agent if you so desire.
Agents I'm familiar with fall into two main categories:
(1) Engineers and scientists (often with advanced degrees) with two or more decades of R&D experience who got downsized during the hi-tech meltdown (which is still on-going in some fields, unfortunately) and became agents because it didn't require going back to school (especially law school). I'm in that boat.
(2) Engineers and scientists who got their BS, worked in industry for a year or so, and decided they didn't like it. They didn't want to go through law school and became agents. This scenario is especially true of comp sci guys who found writing line after line of code to be mind-numbing. But I could say the same
about responding to office action after office action. :-)
But getting a BS with the end goal of becoming an agent or a second BS with the end goal of enhancing his future as an agent? I really don't see why anyone would want to do that.