How do I Become a Mechanical Engineer?

Y. Tolentino
Y. Tolentino
Mechanical engineering degrees often require a hands-on internship.
Mechanical engineering degrees often require a hands-on internship.

Mechanical engineers work in a wide and diverse range of fields and disciplines. They can design, analyze, test, and install mechanical devices or systems. Many mechanical engineers are also involved in the research and development such things as of aircraft, medical devices, and other machinery.

A person seeking to become a mechanical engineer should first consider if they have the characteristics and qualities needed to succeed in this career path. To do well in this profession, a person should be a creative problem solver, detail-oriented, and be able to comfortably think in mathematical terms. He or she should also have good communication skills and work well in a team.

Mechanical engineers engage in research, design, product development, and testing.
Mechanical engineers engage in research, design, product development, and testing.

If you want to become a mechanical engineer, and feel you have the basic characteristics necessary for the job, the next step is to learn about the requirements needed for this career path. The minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Admissions to an undergraduate program will require students to have a good background in mathematics and the sciences.

Mechanical engineers may design and inspect parts for vehicles.
Mechanical engineers may design and inspect parts for vehicles.

In the U.S., most students can obtain this undergraduate degree by enrolling in an accredited full time or part time program of study. These programs usually take between four and five years to complete. To be accredited, mechanical engineering programs must meet certain quality standards set for the profession by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). This ensures that graduating students have competency in mechanical engineering core subjects.

A junior mechanical engineer may observe, study and document the current processes of his company.
A junior mechanical engineer may observe, study and document the current processes of his company.

To get a job as a mechanical engineer, you will be required to take many other courses in addition to core engineering topics. During the first two years of study, students will take introductory courses in a variety of fields such as computing, chemistry, social sciences and the humanities. Physics and math courses that include advanced calculus, and partial differential equations are also essential. In the last two years of study, students concentrate on subjects like vibrations, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, solid mechanics, thermodynamics, and stress analysis.

An individual interested in becoming a mechanical engineer must take courses in computing, chemistry and engineering.
An individual interested in becoming a mechanical engineer must take courses in computing, chemistry and engineering.

When a mechanical engineering student earns his or her degree, he or she can choose from a broad range of entry-level mechanical engineering jobs that can include technical sales, manufacturing or robotics. Once you get a job as a mechanical engineer, advancement in most disciplines will depend on technical knowledge, work experience, and in some cases obtaining a license or postgraduate degree.

An entry level mechanical engineer may be asked to perform calibration and testing in a manufacturing facility.
An entry level mechanical engineer may be asked to perform calibration and testing in a manufacturing facility.

Some mechanical engineers may decide to become licensed in their fields. To obtain a license, an engineer has to have a certain amount of work experience and must pass a series of tests. The first exam is the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE). Most people who want to become a mechanical engineer and planned to get licensed in the future are urged to take this test before graduating or right after graduating. Once an engineer has a number of years of work experience, he must take and pass the Principle and Practice of Engineering (PE) test to get licensed.

An aspiring mechanical engineer should have good communication skills and work well in a team.
An aspiring mechanical engineer should have good communication skills and work well in a team.

After you become a mechanical engineer, another way to advance in your field may be to obtain a postgraduate degree. Depending on your career path, there are various masters and doctoral degree programs available. For example, a mechanical engineer with a doctorate in engineering may pursue a career in either research or academia.

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Discussion Comments

chuckchipner

Thank you so much for sharing this. My son just graduated from high school last fall, and he is wanting to go to school to become a mechanical engineer in Calgary. I have been looking for any information that would help point him in the right direction, and I think what you wrote will really help him.

anon150649

what should i do to become a great manufacturer in an engineering field. because in my sch mechanical is split into two, which are manufacturing and powerplant. --David

anon138309

Is it possible to continue after your ME tech to get a bachelor's degree in ME? (like another two years)?

anon107074

Having worked in Silicon Valley for almost 30 years I noted that many of the very talented ME did not have degrees. That is also true of many of the company founders. Their creative talent, and the ability to look at a problem from all directions is what matters.

anon98787

it is true that after completing a b.tech course we can join an international company?

anon64071

after getting degree in BE mechanical,

what is the next step? Please do give reply in detail.

anon49737

I was wondering how much does it cost to become a professional mechanical engineer?

syauqi

what shold i do to be an engineer

ummer

What is the cost of online Mechanical engineering course & what is value of online mechanical?

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    • Mechanical engineering degrees often require a hands-on internship.
      Mechanical engineering degrees often require a hands-on internship.
    • Mechanical engineers engage in research, design, product development, and testing.
      Mechanical engineers engage in research, design, product development, and testing.
    • Mechanical engineers may design and inspect parts for vehicles.
      Mechanical engineers may design and inspect parts for vehicles.
    • A junior mechanical engineer may observe, study and document the current processes of his company.
      A junior mechanical engineer may observe, study and document the current processes of his company.
    • An individual interested in becoming a mechanical engineer must take courses in computing, chemistry and engineering.
      An individual interested in becoming a mechanical engineer must take courses in computing, chemistry and engineering.
    • An entry level mechanical engineer may be asked to perform calibration and testing in a manufacturing facility.
      An entry level mechanical engineer may be asked to perform calibration and testing in a manufacturing facility.
    • An aspiring mechanical engineer should have good communication skills and work well in a team.
      An aspiring mechanical engineer should have good communication skills and work well in a team.