Through study of subjects such as physics, computer-aided design, manufacturing processes and industrial safety standards, programs in mechanical engineering prepare students for a career as a mechanical engineer, technician or aide. A mechanical engineering technology certificate prepares graduates for careers in fields like manufacturing, product testing and sales, computer-aided design and product analysis.
Mechanical engineering technology associate degree programs focus on the various technologies that are associated with a variety of manufacturing industries. Placing an emphasis on manufacturing methods, component analysis and analytical thinking, bachelor's degree programs in mechanical engineering technology equip students with the skills to support engineering research, design and production on mechanical systems.
Few prerequisites are typically required at the certificate and associate levels; an associate degree may be required for entrance to a bachelor's level program.
Mechanical Engineering Technology Certificate
Topics covered at the certificate level include materials and manufacturing processes, production tools, engineering graphics and computer numerical control programming. Students gain valuable critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills. There are normally no significant educational prerequisites for a mechanical engineering technology certificate program, but students are expected to demonstrate basic mechanical and technical skills.
Mechanical engineering technology programs include instruction focusing on math, science and manufacturing processes. The following courses are common in a mechanical engineering technology certificate program:
- Engineering graphics
- Tool design
- Electromechanical control systems
- Technical algebra
- Industrial safety
- Solid modeling
Associate of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology
Students at the associate level are equipped with the broad knowledge base needed to assist in the design and manufacture of devices, products and systems. Upon completion of an associate degree program, students will be able to operate and test basic mechanical systems, measure mechanical properties of materials, prepare machine component drawings and read and produce blueprints, sketches and drawings.
Many associate degree mechanical engineering technology programs require that prospective students have completed college preparatory math courses in algebra and geometry. High school courses in physics and chemistry are also strongly recommended. Students are also expected to have basic computer literacy.
Emphasizing a strong foundation in science and mathematics, common mechanical engineering technology courses include:
- Mechanical design
- Manufacturing processes
- Computer-aided design
- Solid modeling
- Design graphics
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology
Students at the bachelor's level gain extensive experience using computer software such as CAD, FEA and CIM. Due to more advanced study, graduates of bachelor's degree programs are prepared for quicker career advancement, more advanced design projects and more responsibility.
Graduates of mechanical engineering technology bachelor's degree programs work in areas such as manufacturing, plant management, structural analysis, quality assurance and product design. It is possible to find master's degree programs in mechanical engineering technology.
Prior to beginning the advanced core mechanical engineering technology coursework, many schools require students hold an associate degree from an accredited university or college. Prerequisite coursework often included computer-aided drafting, college algebra, manufacturing processes, physics and geometry.
Combining classroom instruction, laboratory projects and demonstrations, common coursework as part of a mechanical engineering technology bachelor's degree program includes:
- Advanced CAD modeling
- CNC programming
- Business communications
- Robotics technology
- Engineering economics
- Plastic and composite manufacturing
Popular Career Options
Graduates of associate degree mechanical engineering technology programs are able to work in areas such as manufacturing, equipment testing, computer-aided design, construction and quality improvement. Career options include:
- Mechanical engineering technician
- Machine designer
- CNC operator
- Engineering laboratory technician
- Quality management technician
- Engineering assistant
Graduates of mechanical engineering technology certificate programs can find entry-level employment in settings such as manufacturing companies, government agencies, engineering firms, equipment sales organizations and consulting firms. Job titles include:
- Engineering technician
- Research aide
- Construction aide
- Detail drafter
- Production aide
Continuing Education Information
Credits earned as part of certificate program normally transfer towards a more advanced degree. Mechanical engineering technology associate programs prepare students for transfer to a 4-year bachelor's degree program, either in mechanical engineering or related areas such as industrial technology management and facilities operation.
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reports that the job market for mechanical engineers is expected to grow by 5% between 2014 and 2024, which is as fast as the average rate for all occupations. Mechanical engineers had median annual earnings equaling $83,590 in 2015, according to the BLS.
For prospective students seeking an education in mechanical engineering, certificate, associate, and bachelor's options are available.