Education

What Degree Do You Need For Mechanical Engineering

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 3 minute read

Overview

It doesn’t matter what type of machine you’re dealing with; mechanical engineers are involved in all kinds of machinery. Mechanical engineers can find work in a variety of industries because their field is so wide-ranging. Machines are built to solve problems regardless of the industry in which they work. Prototypes are built and tested to see how well their ideas work before they go into production. Mechanical engineers are in charge of supervising the production of a machine after it has been designed to perfection.

Education

ABET, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, accreditation is required for undergraduates who wish to pursue a career as a mechanical engineer. Those who want to work in mechanical engineering can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering or a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that any undergraduate mechanical engineering program includes substantial coursework in engineering, design, life sciences, physical sciences, and math. Engineers must learn theory and principles, but they must also be prepared to apply those principles to real-world problems in order to succeed. As a result of the rigorous nature of engineering programs, students are often required or encouraged to participate in internships and coworker experiences. According to the BLS, even in programs that could be completed in four years, students often need five years to complete their mechanical engineering degrees.

A bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering is sufficient for many mechanical engineers to enter the workforce. They learn the theory they need to know and how to put it into practice in their work during their undergraduate studies. However, a master’s degree is required for some positions in mechanical engineering. A graduate degree is usually required for academic positions in academic institutions, as well as high-level research and development positions. Aspiring mechanical engineers who want to move into management positions may pursue a degree in a related field, such as business administration. When it comes to engineering, some students go straight into graduate school, while others take a few years off before returning to school for their masters. In order to achieve your long-term career goals, you may want to consider a five- or six-year program that allows you to complete both degrees at the same time.

The BLS says that if you plan on providing services to the general public, you will need a professional engineer (PE) license. To become an engineer in training, you must pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. This exam can be taken even before you graduate from high school. The Principles and Practice of Engineering exam, which is required to become a licensed professional engineer, can be taken after four years of professional engineering experience.

Employment

According to the BLS, mechanical engineers make an average yearly salary of $80,580. In industries that employ the most mechanical engineers, such as computer and electronic product manufacturing, architectural and engineering services and transportation equipment manufacturing, mechanical engineers can expect to earn the highest salaries. While the overall job outlook for mechanical engineers is below average, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects faster than average job growth in industries such as architecture and engineering services, machinery and transportation equipment manufacturing, and natural gas and oil extraction.

Bottom Line

Designing and building devices to solve real-world problems is the focus of mechanical engineers’ work. They take their concepts and turn them into working machines.

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