If you are curious about how
things work or how things are made; marvel at seeing ideas transformed
into physical reality, find yourself stimulated by the process of trying
to improve the way something works; have enjoyed being a part of a team
that work together to accomplish something; or if you are stimulated by
your math, science and technology studies, even though, and perhaps
because, they can be challenging -- you have already started down the road
toward becoming a mechanical engineer.
Some people choose
mechanical engineering because they see it as the best way to put to use
their interests in math, physics, and technology. For many, however, it
all begins with a fascination for things that move -- cars, trains,
planes, spacecraft, amusement park rides. And for others, family or
friends in the mechanical engineering profession provide the initial encouragement.
Virtually anything that can be imagined, designed, and built has a
mechanical engineering aspect to it.
A bachelor's degree in
engineering is required for almost all entry-level engineering jobs.
College graduates with a degree in a physical science or mathematics
occasionally may qualify for some engineering jobs, especially in
specialties in high demand.
Mechanical engineering programs provide more than technical training: they
teach the more sophisticated skills of analysis and problem-solving that
apply to most any type of engineering, manufacturing, business ventures,
management, or even legal practice. They teach you how to learn, thought
processes and approaches that will serve you throughout your life and
career. From the very beginning, but especially in your third and fourth
years, you will be involved in projects that will give you experience in
the thinking and problem-solving processes that are the essence of what it
means to be an engineer.
Those interested in a
career in mechanical engineering should consider reviewing engineering
programs that are accredited by
ABET, Inc. If you choose to attend a program that is not ABET accredited, you should be sure that the university
is regionally accredited.
Work experience is one of the best ways to enhance your education and
employment prospects, perhaps through a co-op program, internship, or
summer job. Many co-op students and interns are hired after graduation by
the same employers, and best of all, they start with a clearer sense of
their interests, capabilities, and career paths to follow within a company
or industry. Employers prefer people whose practical and teamwork
experiences make them "ready to produce." Find out more about
from work experience, students should consider an elective course in
public speaking, or get into student organizations such as an ASME Student
Section on campus, where they can practice their presentation and "people"
skills. Engineers are expected to present ideas and plans to other
engineers, management, bankers, production personnel, and customers. Even
great ideas are worthless if they cannot be communicated.
Note: Some resources
in this section are provided by
and the US Department of Labor, Bureau
of Labor Statistics.