“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” ~ Albert Einstein.
Technology advancements have amplified over the last decade. The credit for this progress goes to engineers who design, create, innovate, and push the boundaries for what humanity can achieve.
Are you interested in riding the innovation wave and bringing real impact to the world? If you thought that mechanical engineering was a field with limited scope, think again! Just like many other fields, this has opened up with a plethora of choices within it.
There’s one right here – forget the old days of Mechanical Engineering, and learn how to become a great Mechanical Engineering Technician! A career in this field offers incredible fortune – both personal and professional. To start, pursuing a degree is often recommended.
Wouldn’t you like to know how it differs from mechanical engineering? While mechanical engineering is more about theoretical design principles, mechanical engineering technologists are all about the design’s execution.
Let’s find out more about this.
What is Mechanical Engineering Technology?
Mechanical Engineering Technology is the art and science of applying engineering principles and technological developments to the creation of useful machinery or products. Furthermore, Mechanical Engineering Technicians help engineers with the machinery, analyzing design drawings, preparing layouts, and estimating costs among all other things.
What’s the Growth Like in a Mechanical Engineering Technology Career?
The number of engineering technology graduates in the workforce has grown from 407,688 in 2017 to 409,670 in 2018. Potentially a growth field, the employment of mechanical engineering technicians is projected to grow by 3% over the next ten years.
The estimated median annual wage for mechanical engineering technicians is $56,980.
Colleges in the United States reported awarding 7,628 Mechanical Engineering Technology degrees in the year 2017-18. A difference of 851 over the previous year, this points to a growth of 11.2%.
What Roles Do I Fit Into Post the Degree?
After pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, there are several roles in today’s world that you can fit into, including:
- Mechanical Engineering Consultant.
- Product and Material Testing Technologist.
- Drafting and Computer Graphics Engineer.
- 3D Printing Engineer.
What Are the Skills Required to Become a Mechanical Engineering Technician?
Before you decide to pursue a career in the field, let us discuss the skills required to become a Mechanical Engineering Technician.
- Communication Skills — It is understood that as a mechanical engineering technician, you would have to hold conversations to understand design needs. You will have to communicate with many engineers daily. Hence communication is vital. For instance, you need to be able to talk about the desired changes in product designs while working.
- Critical Thinking — The art of using logic and reasoning to approach problems, identifying gaps, and solutions are important skills to attain.
- Complex Problem Solving — You need to identify complex issues and analyze related information to create and determine strategies and incorporate solutions.
- Quality Control Analysis — Evaluation of products, process quality, and efficiency through performing tests is necessary.
- Mechanical Skills — Since you will be closely working with the manufacturing machinery, you need to learn its operation. Even if you don’t deal with equipment directly, understanding its function is imperative.
A lot of subject knowledge and skills are required to become a Mechanical Engineering Technician. If you feel that you can ace the aspects mentioned above, this career is for you!
Educational Qualification Required
Even at the high school level, certain subjects are appropriate for a future MET student. Subjects like math, science, and computer skills are preferred. Courses that help students develop skills and hands-on knowledge are also valuable because these technicians build what mechanical engineers design.
Federal home school requirements ensure that a high school diploma or an equally recognized degree is a compulsory part of the admission criteria. School-based mechanical engineering technology programs range from a first-year certificate to a research/scholarship-based doctorate, the highest MET degree.
Associate Degree Program
In this program, students primarily focus on product design. They gain knowledge in the areas of electronics, manufacturing processes, and tool design.
Design is emphasized utilizing the latest in computer drafting technology (CAD). By providing abundant hands-on learning in a workshop setting, the associate’s degree prepares students for real-world jobs like mechanical engineering technicians or technologists.
Associate degrees typically offer up to 60 credits. They can be completed in 18-24 months and offer a foothold in the student’s career.
Most college programs offers a holistic associate degree program that provides students the opportunity to establish a robust mechanical engineering technology foundation. After earning an associate degree, you can proceed with a bachelor’s degree too.
Bachelor’s Degree Program
The program is an extension of the knowledge built at the associate level. The program focuses on the technologies, processes, and skills involved in designing and manufacturing industrial products.
It addresses today’s job market allowing the students to link the learning with the industry working and business aspects. It logically helps tie the design aspect of product development with production and customer delivery facilitation.
A Bachelor of Science Degree in mechanical engineering technology can approximately require 36-48 months to complete. The actual completion time depends on the program, which usually has 100-120 credits on offer.
Towards the end of the program, students are expected to complete a “capstone course,” a tangible, all-inclusive project that covers all the coursework taught in the program. This complete senior project can showcase a student’s talents and capabilities to a prospective employer.
Master’s Degree Program
The MET Master of Science (MS) builds upon the bachelor’s degree, offering high-level knowledge in mechanical system design and analysis to graduates.
It focuses on areas like:
- Instrumentation and measurement.
- Advanced materials.
- Mechanical design.
- Systems integration.
- Oil and gas applications.
Some of the key courses covered during the program further include:
- Methods of engineering analysis.
- Statistical applications and methods.
- Computer network applications.
- Industrial laser applications.
- Applied vehicle dynamics.
An educational qualification encourages students to make space for themselves in the competitive industry – boosting their chances of standing out.
The National Institute of Certifications in Engineering Technology (NICET) is the global leader in recognizing qualified technology professionals.
By now, you must’ve comprehended the diversity of MET programs; this, in turn, affects the tuition and fees. On average, students can anticipate paying at least $30,000 a year as part of their curriculum – this can alter depending on the program and university.
The MET degree focusses on the hands-on application and practical knowledge, with maths and physics being the core subjects.
Students are expected to acquire skills that are necessary to progress in the fields, including:
- Documentation of mechanical systems.
Communication and teamwork skills are critical to be able to expedite this job well. They are taught as part of the program and laboratory classes.
How to Choose a College for Mechanical Engineering Technology Degree?
Picking the college of your choice is as important as deciding the mechanical engineering technology degree you want to pursue.
A few factors that may aid in making your institute choice:
- Location — For the years to come, at least the 3-4 years, your college translates into your home! Consider relocating and choosing a destination that comforts you and gets you closer to your “dream job.” Factors like weather, cost of reaching the campus, accessibility, and proximity to your home town also need to be accounted for while choosing your college’s location.
- Campus Life — College life is beyond your degree’s curriculum. It is about exploring yourself, understanding your passion, and the areas of personal growth. Hence, a college that offers an excellent equilibrium between work and amusement must be your choice. The extracurricular activities, facilities, and culture are a few other essential considerations that require significant attention.
- College Reputation — The ultimate objective for obtaining a degree is receiving adept education from a marvelous institution. Conduct in-depth research regarding the college and your desired course before enrolling. Ideally, the institute should have a stunning learning environment, qualified professors, and promising placement records.
- Placements — Placement records are imperative – you need to look through it before enrolling. As after graduating, you will need promising employment opportunities. Consequently, choose a college that aids you with the same, thereby securing your future.
- Fee-Structure and Financial Aid — The college and course you want to pursue need to be financially viable. For this reason, colleges offer financial aid to take the money burden off of potential students.
- Length of Course — Students might wish to pursue a shorter duration to gain industrial exposure as soon as possible. Some see a longer course as a plus point as they get to acquire more knowledge. Whereas a few look for a degree that stands as a testament for their passion and skills. Therefore, select the course that fits in with your needs in terms of course length.
- Off-campus Attractions – A break is a must to cool-off the academic pressure. Look for colleges that have off-campus attractions nearby is a big plus. A little research about the surrounding attractions like – pubs, clubs, parks, etc. can come in handy prior to decision-making.
Applications of Mechanical Engineering Technology
Mechanical engineering technology can be applied to an assortment of industries and applications.
Here are some of the most popular industries that employ mechanical engineering technologists:
- Product development.
- Machine design and analysis.
- Alternative energy.
- Materials engineering.
- Thermofluids engineering.
- Marine systems.
- Plastics processing.
- Heating/ventilating/air conditioning (HVAC).
What are the Duties of a Mechanical Engineering Technologist?
As discussed earlier, after completing your degree, you would fundamentally be working with mechanical engineers and helping them with the designs and layouts.
The primary responsibilities of a mechanical engineering technologist include:
- Assist engineers in designing, developing, testing, or manufacturing industrial machinery, consumer products, or other equipment.
- Schedule equipment inspections, draw-up reliability schedules, work plans, or put-together other records.
- Prepare layouts and drawings using three-dimensional design software.
- Provide technical support to other employees – mechanical design, fabrication, testing, or documentation.
- Compare test results with design specifications and test objectives and recommend changes for products and test methodologies.
- Scrutinize or estimate production costs, such as labor, impedimenta, infrastructure, or work environment.
Career Opportunities and Salary of a Mechanical Engineering Technician?
A capable mechanical engineer technician is renowned for the evolution of technology. Mastering the latest technology and software acts as a fuel for career growth and employment opportunities. It is anticipated that the employment rate of mechanical engineering will exceed by 3% in the following decade.
The top industry salary figures for mechanical engineering technicians are as follows:
- Computer and electronic product manufacturing — $60,390.
- Scientific research and development services — $60,010.
- Transportation equipment manufacturing — $58,310.
- Architectural, engineering, and related services — $57,300.
- Machinery manufacturing — $56,310.
A graduate will be able to obtain entry-level positions in the area of:
- Design Drafting.
- Mechanical Design.
- Machine Design.
- Automation Design.
- Tool Design.
- Product Design.
- Technical Sales.
- Manufacturing Engineering.
- Project Engineering.
- Production Supervisor.
- Engineering Technician.
- Applications Engineering.
- Mechanical Engineering.
“Engineering stimulates the mind. Kids get bored easily. They have got to get out and get their hands dirty: make things, dismantle things, fix things. When the schools can offer that, you’ll have an engineer for life.” ~ Bruce Dickinson
Pursuing a Mechanical Engineering Technology degree opens up opportunities that you never even knew existed. Every significant technological advancement that takes place requires the assistance of mechanical engineering technicians.
If you wish to experiment with different technologies:
- Get your hands dirty.
- Enjoy practical applications and problem-solving situations.
- Enroll in a mechanical engineering technology college, and kickstart your future.
An up and coming field with great relevance in today’s world, the MET degree is your solution!
If you pursue a Mechanical Engineering Technician degree, you will have gained knowledge, problem-solving abilities, hands-on skills to succeed in fields like:
- Sales or documentation of mechanical systems.
The program arms you with the desired skill-set in the industry. It offers excellent placement opportunities to jumpstart your professional career.
Who are the Most Famous Mechanical Engineers?
- Willis Carrier — American engineer known for inventing modern air conditioning.
- Rudolf Diesel — German inventor and engineer famous for developing the diesel engine.
- Nikola Tesla — Serbian American engineer and physicist, known for his work in electricity.
- Kalpana Chawla — American astronaut and engineer, the first Indian woman to go to space.
- James Watt — Scottish engineer and chemist, famous for his work on the steam engine.
- Carl Benz — German design engineer, founder of the world-famous Mercedes-Benz.
- Charles Babbage — British inventor who introduced the digital programmable computer.
What are the Types of Software Used In Mechanical Engineering Technology?
Dealing with software and technology are the primary aspects of this field. This is a list of the most extensively used software:
- Auto CAD — A popular software options available in the CAD space, this is used to design complex parts in 2-D and 3-D.
- CATIA — A designing tool used in Automobile Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Tool Design, etc. This tool enables the creation of 3D parts, from 3D sketches, sheet metal, composites, molded, forged, or tooling parts to the definition of mechanical assemblies.
- ProE — Software with enhanced features and tools to design, sketch, assemble, weld, draw, etc. ProE is a good and complete software solution for the rapid prototyping of mechanical parts. This tool is also used to produce your end-use products.
- NX — NX is an advanced high-end CAD/CAM/CAE software package. It enables users to work on conception, simulation, and manufacturing. This software solution will provide you with all the necessary tools to work on free form designs or templates-based design.
Hope this article helped clear out your doubts about how to become a mechanical engineering technician! Drop a comment below or get in touch with us to learn more.