There is no doubt that mechanical engineering is one of the most popular engineering degrees today. As technology advances, the skills and knowledge of mechanical engineers in making sure mechanical devices work properly are very important in businesses.
Mechanical engineering deals with the designing, developing and manufacturing for mechanical devices. These engineers also have to do repair and maintenance. Since mechanical devices are used in different industries, mechanical engineers have a wide range of job prospects. They can work in the transportation industry or manufacturing industry. As a mechanical engineer, you can create your own engines and even robots. Your work is aimed to improve the quality of life. Your work greatly matters to the world.
Why Choose To Become A Mechanical Engineer?
With all the engineering fields out there, why should you choose mechanical engineering? If you are someone who wants to solve technical challenges of the world, this is the degree for you. Mechanical engineers have the ability to make innovations that can change the world. You can make a lasting and positive impact in the world with mechanical devices you create. By earning a master’s or doctorate degree, you can earn 20-50% higher than those with bachelor degrees can. Mechanical engineers have a wide range of career opportunities. They can work in research, consultancy, and management and even put up their own business.
As a mechanical engineer, you get to enjoy life since you love what you are doing. There is nothing better than doing what you love for the rest of your life. Not only that, you enjoy the job flexibility and great pay. Moreover, mechanical engineers have the opportunity to lead a team to create life-changing mechanical devices.
Becoming A Mechanical Engineer
To become a mechanical engineer, you should complete a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. This is the most basic requirement for all entry-level mechanical engineering jobs. Mechanical engineering degree programs are focused on mathematics, physical sciences, engineering principles and design concepts. The degree program will take around 4-5 years. In the last years of school, mechanical engineering students will have to complete internship hours.
There are engineering schools that makes students study liberal arts and pre-engineering subjects for the first 3 years and then focus on engineering core subjects by the last 2 years of college. On the other hand, there are 5-year mechanical engineering programs that will reward you with both bachelors and master’s degree after completion of the degree program.
The mechanical engineering program that you should enroll in must be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). This is a requirement to qualify for the licensure examinations for engineers.
Apart from the technical skills and knowledge that you will learn from the mechanical engineering program, you must work on developing essential qualities as well. These qualities will be very helpful in achieving a successful career. As a mechanical engineer, you have to be creative. Mechanical engineers work on unique mechanical devices that can be used to enhance the quality of life. Mechanical engineers should have great problem-solving skills. They have to identify problems and seek solutions immediately. Mechanical engineers must have great mechanical skills so they can visualize mechanical processes easily.
If you believe you are ready for the career ahead, you must prepare for the licensure exam. This is required for mechanical engineers who offer their services to the public. There are two stages of this engineering licensure exam. The first is the Fundamentals of Engineering, which you have to take once you complete the degree program. If you pass, you will get the title of EIT or Engineer In Training. Now, you have to gain 4 years of work experience to qualify for the next exam that is the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam. If you pass this exam, you will be given the title of professional Engineer.
The license is to be renewed every year but some states will require you to complete hours of continuing education to be eligible for renewal. Certifications for added competency of mechanical engineers can be obtained through the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. This professional organization offers certification programs for mechanical engineers who want to specialize on specific fields of mechanical engineering.
The Duties Of A Mechanical Engineer
On a typical day, a mechanical engineer analyzes the possible problems of a mechanical device and they solve it. The engineer specializing in mechanical engineering also design or redesigns devices. He or she can make a prototype and test it. Mechanical engineers analyze test results on the prototype and perform changes if necessary. They also oversee the manufacturing process for the mechanical device.
Engineers focusing on mechanical engineering work with a bunch of mechanical tools, machines and engines. The long list includes electric generators, steam and gas tribunes, internal combustion engines, refrigerators, air-conditioning systems, robots, production machines, elevators, escalators, conveyor systems and other machine tools used by engineers. Mechanical engineers always use the computers to help them create and analyze mechanical device designs. The computer also helps in simulating and testing a prototype device.
The Career Of A Mechanical Engineer
Engineers under mechanical engineering hold the second largest engineering occupation. It held 243,200 jobs back in 2010. Most mechanical engineers work in an office setting but sometimes, they can go to work sites as well. 21% of mechanical engineers work in architectural, engineering and other related services. They work full-time while some work for 60 hours or more in a week.
The employment outlook for mechanical engineers will grow by 9% until 2020. Although considered a slower growth, mechanical engineers benefit from working in different industries and projects. The growth rate in these industries differs.
Mechanical engineers will be needed in the transportation industry and machinery manufacturing industry. There will be a good demand for mechanical engineers due to the need to design next generation vehicle systems like hybrid-electric cars. In addition, with human labor becoming more expensive, companies want to cut overhead costs by using more machines that are industrial instead.
The median annual pay for engineers in the field of mechanical engineering is $78,610. The top 10% earned more than $119,480 while the lower 10% earned less than $50,550. Those mechanical engineers who work for the federal government earns around $91,910 a year while those in research and development earns $88,190.