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Mechanical Engineering Overview - The Field - Preparation -
Day in the Life
- Earnings - Employment - Development - Career Path Forecast - Professional Organizations 

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.

Studying Mechanical Engineering
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.

Accredited Programs
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

Maximize the Experience
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 co-op programs...

Apart 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 ASME and the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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