How to Become a Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical engineers analyze, create and produce mechanical devices, such as engines and machinery. Some of the most important feats of mechanical engineering include aircraft, automation, optimal energy utilization and robotics. In order to become a mechanical engineer you will need to obtain at least a four-year degree in mechanical engineering.

Licensing and Education

There are two year degrees in engineering technology, including programs for mechanical engineering technologists, but they work under the supervision of engineers. As a professional engineer, you need to complete and pass a licensing examination, and you will need to be a professional engineer to work as mechanical engineer in all fifty states.

According to the College Navigator database from the National Center for Education Statistics, there are over three hundred schools in the United States that offer programs in mechanical engineering. Choosing a school, transferring to another engineering program, or deciding to complete a graduate degree, will depend on the mechanical engineering specialty that you select.

Tips and Advice

If you are in high school, you will need to complete courses in mathematics and science, as well as complete and excel in any courses or exams required to gain admission to the college of your choice. You should also consider participating in engineering competitions offered by the Junior Engineering Technical Society, and you need a coach and a team to participate. These types of experiences will introduce you to a broad range of engineering problems and the methods that engineers will use to solve them.

If you are in college, you should also become a student member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers offers a career center, advice for engineers at the beginning of their careers, in addition to mentorship opportunities as well as scholarships, auxiliary student loans, and graduate teaching fellowships.

While in college, make an effort to attend career fairs or company sponsored meetings and presentations on campus. These events will let you meet and mingle with other engineers and the projects and products they produce for that company, as well as find out about internships, summer jobs and graduate positions. These events are some of the best sources of industry and insider information that you can find about potential employers.

Opportunities

From devices that can replace a human heart to enormous hydro electric installations that power entire states, mechanical engineers work with machinery and technology that has a daily impact on individuals and society at large. Mechanical engineers work for the government, the military, in academia and for large corporations.

They can be found in almost every industry: agriculture, automotives and aerospace, construction, education, energy production, healthcare and water management, to name a few.

If you decide to pursue a graduate degree, even a PhD, you can pursue research positions in academia, as well as in industry. Like all engineers and scientists, mechanical engineers will play an enormous role in the green industry or sustainability sector, creating more efficient engines, designing systems that produce energy from renewable resources and conducting energy audits and improving existing technologies.