Undergraduate programs in mechanical engineering technology provide students with a foundational understanding of machine design, robotics, computer-aided drafting, and product design. The degree programs available in this field include a two-year Associate of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology and a four-year Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology. These programs require high school diplomas or GEDs for admission in addition to a strong grasp of mathematics, computer science, physics, and chemistry.
Coursework for these programs can prepare graduates for careers involving applied engineering techniques, including manufacturing engineers or tool designers. Graduate programs also exist for aspiring academics.
Associate of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology
An associate's degree program in the field highlights topics such as physics, control systems, and computer-aided drafting. Much of the learning included within an associate's degree is hands-on and takes place in a laboratory or workshop setting. Credits from this program may be transferred to a bachelor's program in mechanical engineering technology. Classroom lectures mixed with practical seminars might consider topics in:
- Machine and process design
- Control systems
- Electromechanical design
- Computer aided drafting
- Fluid mechanics
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology
Students enrolled in a bachelor's degree program in mechanical engineering technology learn about the technologies, processes, and skills involved in designing and manufacturing industrial products. Students are required to attend classroom lectures in mechanical engineering theory, in addition to completing laboratory assignments. They learn how to perform materials testing, design mechanisms, and develop products in laboratory settings. They also receive instruction in software used by mechanical engineers, such as computer-aided design (CAD) software. Specific courses might include:
- Engineering design and graphics
- Computer aided drafting
- Electronics laboratory
- Applied fluid mechanics
- Machine design
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
An associate degree in mechanical engineering technology can prepare graduates for entry-level positions as mechanical engineering technicians or technologists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), mechanical engineering technicians held almost 49,000 jobs as of May 2015. They worked for architectural and engineering firms and scientific development services as well as motor vehicle parts and instrument manufacturers. They earned a median annual salary of $53,910 as of 2015.
Popular Career Options
Mechanical engineering is a very broad field that can encompass the research, design, production, and manufacture of systems ranging from engines to power tools. Specific careers open to graduates of bachelor's degree programs may include:
- Mechanical engineer
- Tool and component designer
- Manufacturing engineer
- Manufacturing plant manager
- Mechanical products tester
Continuing Education Options
Mechanical engineers who are interested in gaining positions as professors or researchers might consider enrolling in graduate programs in the field. Master's degree programs in engineering can provide students with the skills necessary to further research in the field or teach others about the basic principles of mechanical engineering.
Associate's and bachelor's degrees in mechanical engineering prepare graduates for work in a number of fields or to pursue master's-level education in engineering.