Although this is one of the oldest engineering disciplines, a field that has great respect, and a career that offers incredible opportunities, mechanical engineering is sometimes a little confusing simply because of the broad roles. Because of this, we felt it would be beneficial to provide mechanical engineering information to clear up some confusion but also show people why this particular career is one worth pursuing.
The first piece of mechanical engineering information we wanted to address is the incredible diversity this field offers. Without doubt, of all engineering careers, mechanical offers the most opportunity. Along with a person working as a conventional mechanical engineer, there are multiple fields. A few examples of additional disciplines include environmental control, transportation, automated manufacturing, computer, fossil fuel, biomedical, nuclear power, and much more.
Now, to work as a mechanical engineer, an individual would be required to have at minimum an Associate’s degree in this sector although most companies mandate a Bachelor’s degree. However, to work in one of the mentioned fields, additional education and/or training would be required but in exchange for more education, a person would be able to advance quickly and get involved with some of the most innovative and exciting projects in the world.
The Right Stuff
Because this field is complex, challenging, and involves heavy emphasis on science and math, certain people gravitate to it and reach success whereas someone without the right skills, natural ability, and interest would struggle. The best person to become a licensed mechanical engineer has great interest in designing, developing, and implementing devices and programs that actually make the world a better place.
This individual would be interested in working on diverse endeavors of all types and sizes. In the role of mechanical engineer, small or large parts would need to be identified, designed, and developed, which matches this person’s goals. In addition, the person who works this type of career would possess strong decision-making and problem-solving abilities, love actions of testing, analyzing, measuring, distributing, manufacturing, and marketing.
We also wanted to point out with mechanical engineering information that with a degree, an engineer could work as an independent contractor or consultant, or be an invaluable member of a team. This is also a huge attraction to this engineering discipline in that some people with the above traits prefers to work alone while others enjoy being a part of a group that comes up with innovative solutions.
Most people who work as a mechanical engineer get work done from an office environment but in this role, work needs to be performed in other settings as well. For example, it would be common for a mechanical engineer to spend time testing within a laboratory, developing solutions in a machine shop, implementing new devices at the installation site, or conducting research in a plant.
Regardless of the company being worked for, the type of mechanical job being performed, or the solution being designed and developed, it would be imperative for a mechanical engineer to stay current on industry advances and changes. In addition to this being possible through continuing education, memberships to various engineering organizations would also help, two of the best choices being the National Society of Professional Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Remember, there are a few companies willing to hire someone for an entry level position based on an Associate’s degree but the standard for this sector is a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering or BSME. However, having a bachelor’s degree in a related engineering field would also be accepted. The exception is for the person being hired for a specialized discipline or advanced position in which at minimum, a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering or even Doctorate Degree would be required.
There are also companies that only hire engineers who have at least two years of actual experience. This creates a difficult situation but most of these companies offer advanced positions. Now, there are times when a company such as this would consider experience gained through a long-term internship but this would need to be discussed. A person’s GPA and the school attended would also be considered. Typically, the GPA cannot be lower than 3.0 and degrees from top schools are given favor.
The final piece of mechanical engineering information we wanted to cover is that for the engineering responsible for making key decisions, someone working as a consultant, or the person holding a position with some government agencies, State registration would be required. For this, the person would need to have a BSME or higher, have a minimum of two years of experience, and pass the “Engineer in Training” exam.
Even for someone seeking a conventional mechanical engineering position, State registration although not required would certainly provide an edge against the competition. Remember, this field is in great demand, which means the number of students is tremendous so having something special to offer potential employers would be critical.