How to Become a Mechanical Technician: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a mechanical technician. Research the education, career requirements, and experience required for starting a career as a mechanical technician.

Should I Become a Mechanical Technician?

Mechanical technicians, also referred to as mechanical engineering technicians, are responsible for assisting mechanical engineers in the design of machinery, products and equipment. Any designs created by mechanical engineers are tested by technicians to ensure they are safe, reliable and used properly. The duties of mechanical technicians may include creating the drawings or sketches used in production, recording data, making estimates and analyzing test results. Safety precautions must be followed to prevent injuries from toxic materials or equipment.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Associate's degree, employers may prefer mechanical technicians with bachelor's-level training
Degree Field Mechanical technology
Key Skills Communication skills, creativity, problem solving, operating different types of machinery and software programs
Salary (2015) $53,910 per year (median salary for mechanical engineering technicians)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); Monster.com (December 2012)

Step 1: Earn an Associate's Degree

Employers typically look for applicants with postsecondary training, which may include an associate's degree in mechanical engineering technology (MET). The curriculum usually involves mathematics classes, such as algebra and calculus, and mechanical-related courses, like fluid mechanics and mechanical engineering design. An associate's degree program normally takes two years to complete, and graduates should be prepared to install, maintain and perform tests on mechanical systems.

Step 2: Participate in an Internship

Students can gain hands-on experience by participating in internships through their school's MET program. This is an opportunity for technicians to begin applying what they learned in a classroom environment to real world experience. Interns may shadow an experienced mechanical technician who can help them gain the skills necessary to obtain professional employment.

Step 3: Obtain Employment

Upon graduation, individuals can find work as mechanical technicians in various industries, including research and development, testing laboratories and manufacturing. According to the BLS, two of the fastest growing fields for technicians include remanufacturing, the process of restoring nonworking products into workable conditions. and alternative energy, which focuses on solar and wind power.

Step 4: Look Into Continuing Education Opportunities

Mechanical technicians interested in advancing their career or pursuing a mechanical engineering job should consider earning a bachelor's degree. A Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology includes advanced courses in the field and additional laboratory time. Examples of advanced classes include 3D modeling, manufacturing processes and project engineering, among others.

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