How to Become a Mechanical Engineer

This article provides in-depth information into What is a Mechanical Engineer? What Mechanical Engineer do? Degrees for Mechanical Engineer, Steps to become Mechanical Engineer and much more.


A Mechanical engineer is responsible for combining the mathematical and scientific principles to designing and development of systems with testing the machines and prototypes. He analyses the problem, researches and learns about the various concepts of manufacturing mechanical systems and innovates new ideas in his field to develop new systems.

A mechanical engineer can easily adapt to other industries he works in, such as in an automobile, energy, construction, electronics, robotics and other.

For example, he works towards designing engines for space crafts in the aerospace industry, he builds robots in the robotics industry and he works on improving the performance of vehicles in the automobile industry.

Steps to become a mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineers are in every field upon the skills they acquire, this is due to the knowledge they gain at every stage, Here is a detailed structure of the steps to be followed to advance towards your dream career, 

Step 1- Start your path from highschool

High school plays a major role in developing an interest in becoming a mechanical engineer. As a high school student, concentrating on math, science, computer science is important to pursue your career as a mechanical engineer. The core mechanical subjects involve the use of math and scientific principles. The computer knowledge is used in designing, simulating the systems developed by you.

Participating in the science fairs and math contest drives you more to the technical side.

Step 2- Earn a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical engineering

To pursue your dream career, you hop into the Bachelor's degree of Mechanical engineering which is the most common degree to students in this path. This four-year program gives you the basic education about the power tools, practical knowledge about the machines, problem-solving with the innovation of new ideas and developing your interest in various other fields of mechanics.

Step 3- Earn a Master’s degree in Mechanical engineering

A Master’s degree in mechanical engineering is a two years program that helps you build more theoretical knowledge on the subject. The coursework such as robotics, thermofluids adds up more to your core knowledge. 

However, it is not necessary for students to pursue this degree. At this point, you could start gaining experience by working at a mechanical related job or an internship to get On-the-job training.

Step 4- Professional courses

This optional to become mechanical engineers, but it elevates your skills higher by getting certified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in various courses of our interest. These professional courses help students to enhance their skills and employability to advance towards their career.

Some courses you can choose are advanced mechanics, stress analysis, heat transfer and dynamics in a system, designing and advances control systems.

Step 5- Get an Engineering license

After completing your formal education and certification, you must apply for the state license to offer services to the general public. You must clear the Fundamentals of Engineering(FE) exam by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying to earn the licence. Prepare for the interview for your dream job related and after four years of working experience you can become a Professional engineer by cracking the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam.

Step 6- Consider PhD

After gaining the professionalism, you could still be interested in learning the subject in-depth, then you choose the doctoral degree program in mechanical engineering. You could opt for this when you want to research more or want to teach students about the mechanical subjects or when you want to specialize in the topic of your choice. Engineers at this degree level are well versed about the topic and this degree helps them to innovate and contribute towards the advancement of technology in the mechanical field. 

Types of degrees to become a Mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineering is a diverse profession and deals with the structuring, designing, functioning and testing of the machine and system they prepare. It is good to learn new skills to innovate new ideas and it is gained from the various levels of degree programs. Here are details about the degrees for a mechanical engineer,

Bachelor's degree in Mechanical engineering

To be a mechanical engineer the most common degree to earn is the Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and this is pursued by 59% of the students. In this four-years program, you can get formal education for the first two years and then find related work. Most employers hire students who have a certification from the programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

This program includes courses such as advanced mathematics, science, design and lab classes such as Computer-aided design(CAD) Software.

Master’s degree in Mechanical engineering

A Masters degree in mechanical engineering can give you many opportunities in innovation, leadership, and research. However, it is not a necessary degree to be earned by students. 

It is a degree program for a period of 2 years and some colleges offer a 5-year program combining the bachelor’s and master’s degrees to students.

This program gives coursework on material science, robotics, thermofluids, and others. 

PhD in Mechanical engineering

Engineers seeking to specialize in the topics and go in-depth on the subject of their choice can choose the Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering. Engineering in this program research , gain knowledge about future advancement in technology. Before choosing a PhD, students must seek an experienced adviser to guide you through the program to learn about the outcomes in this degree.

Online mechanical engineering degree

Online mode of acquiring a mechanical degree is a great way to obtain an education on the accredited courses, this accelerates the period of study while allowing you to manage other responsibilities. This may also result in students taking the degree lightly. However, really interested students can get the best from this with flexible study time and credit hours.

Concentrations to be considered for a Mechanical engineer

Academic concentration

The academic concentrations to be considered for a mechanical engineer at various levels of degree are given below,

Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering: This degree is the first step and the common degree chosen by students for this career. The knowledge gained by students at this program is highest compared to any other program i.e. 88%, this is due to the courses offered and they are:

Introduction to engineering

It is a core topic that offers knowledge on engineering principles and profession to figure out personal interest. It also gives you ideas about problem-solving on real-world problems;

Skills acquired:

  • Understanding on engineering principles

  • Technical skills and innovating solutions

  • Understand real-world problems

Product realization

It is a curse offered to understand the product, its performance and how it is manufactured. Its main objective is to teach about the process and the management  of quality of that product value.

Skills acquired:

  • Convert the technical learning to develop product

  • Analysis of the product value and the process

  • Inspect the assembly techniques used.

  • Using softwares to build the product

Metal selection

Course to understand the properties and composition of different metals, its engineering applications and how to select suitable metals for the manufacturing process.

Skills acquired:

  • Understanding the properties of various metals

  • Comparing the metals for selection

  • Experimenting on the metal composition in labs

  • Analysing the design and structure to determine the type of metal.

Heat transfer

This subject deals with the modes of heat transfer such as radiation, convection and conduction and the objective of the transfer of heat from one body to another

Skills acquired:

  • Observation on heat transferred in components

  • Heat equations

  • Experiments and analysis of transfer of heat in components

Master’s degree in mechanical engineering: This degree is a two years program designed for students who want to specialize in other fields of interest in  mechanical engineering topics such as robotics,automobile or nuclear energies.

The courses offered are,

Product definition

This course is to understand the design and development of the product and responsible for overall success of the product. 

Skills acquired:

  • Drafting various designs of the product

  • Enhancing the value of the product

  • Learn about supply chain management

  • Analysing the lip of the product

Simulation modeling and experimentation

Course to make You understand the process of creating the model and analyze its features to predict its performance. Testing the model imitates the real-world project to understand where the system could fail.

Skills acquired:

  • Analysing the properties of model

  • Using simulation software to predict the results

  • Simulating the product to experimentation

  • Understanding the application of simulation

Patent Law

Understanding the relationship between the engineering inventions and patent laws, role of patents in protecting the new scientific innovations in mechanical engineering.

Skills acquired:

  • Patent the product created 

  • Designing products which won't be patent infringement

  • Determining if your innovation could be patented

Engineering project management

It is a course that deals with the management of engineering projects. It uses standard methodologies and processes to manage projects This subject is important for you if you want to be a specialise in project management

Skills acquired:

  • Learning to work in teams

  • Adaptability

  • Managing teams for various projects

  • Creating projects under the budget

Doctoral degree in mechanical engineering: This degree program is suitable for students who want to emphasize and research on specific topics of their interest. This lets you be a research professional or a college professor. The courses offered are,

Acoustics vibrations

This course focuses in-depth on the topics of Aeroacoustics, vibration, thermal loads induced in the avionics air loops. These are some severe factors encountered during launch.

Skills acquired:

  • Research on encountering the vibration and acoustics

  • Analysis of the factors causing noise and vibration

  • Vibrations at MEMS scale

MEMS and Nanotechnology

Micro-Electro-mechanical system is a course that deals with the research on miniaturizing of electrical components while nanotechnology is to use the properties of the compact materials as an advantage.

Skills acquired:

  • New invention is the budding fields

  • Provide broader view in the nanoscience and nanotechnology

  • Research on miniaturizing parts without altering its properties.

Biomechanic

The course that focuses on the structure, function, and motion of mechanical features of biological systems, 

Skills acquired:

  • Mechanism of biological systems

  • Research on motion of organism in biological system

Online courses for mechanical engineers: Choose accredited courses online gives you more academic focus and learning opportunity. Online courses can be very beneficial to students who want to gain knowledge in different fields of mechanical engineering with flexible study hours. Some courses offered are,

Associate System Engineering Professional

ASEP provides training for the certification form the INCOSE that targets the engineers with basic knowledge and experience with the professional tools.

Skills acquired:

  • Understanding the overview of the system

  • System engineering analysis 

  • Validating the engineering system

  • Architectural synthesis of systems

Test and balance engineer

Energy engineering has the subcategories of Testing, Balancing and Adjusting(TAB). This is related to design and developments of systems , improving the overall efficiency of the system. 

Skills acquired:

  • Analyse the balance report

  • Understanding technical operation

  • Supervising test and test reporting

Job concentrations for mechanical engineers

Diving into the field of mechanical engineering gives you various other career options, Hence you can choose career concentrations according to your interest such as,

Automotive engineer

Automotive engineer's concern is to design and develop new products and also modifying the existing ones. As a mechanical engineer, you can easily adapt to this job which is directly related to the design, research and innovation of concepts. An automotive engineer earns about $51,000 to $110,000 annually.

Maintenance engineer

The maintenance engineer is working towards the inspection, repairing and maintaining the machinery to avoid the breakdown. It also involves continuous control and monitoring of devices to help in maintenance for it to function smoothly. The salary for a maintenance engineer is about $45,000 to $91,000 per year.

Patent attorney

Mechanical engineers study this topic during their degree programs and by working as a patent attorney you could assist the clients in obtaining patents and to follow the procedures regarding patent law. The average salary for this job is about $78,000 to $198,000 per year.

Production manager

A production manager is responsible for planning, organizing, controlling and directing the processes. He is also responsible for the productivity and increasing the efficiency of the overall process with the reduction in the level of the cost. The salary of the production manager ranges from $75,000 to $130,000 per year.

CAD Technician

A mechanical engineer is well versed in modeling software to design the product. Designing is  essential for manufacturing parts, and it requires technicality to convert the 2D design to 3D models. Computer-aided drawing is important in every field and a mechanical engineer can make the most of it.

The average salary of the CADtechnician is $20.17 per year. 

Skills you need to stand out as a mechanical engineer

A professional mechanical engineer not only requires good education but also he must develop the additional skill to help though the career, some outstanding skills, they  are:

Innovative- Engineering profession calls creativity and problem-solving ideology. An engineer must be better at approaching the existing problems to analyze and come up with a solution. 

He must be able to relate the textbook knowledge to the existing problem to come up with new innovations. 

Attention to detail- Details play a major role in creating a design or developing a model. Hence a mechanical engineer who is closely related in designing and building the system must pay attention to the smallest details to produce an effective product.

Good technical knowledge- To stand out as a mechanical engineer, you could take online classes to enhance your skills. Good technical skills about the subject and combining the scientific principle and mathematics could get you a higher position.

Updated knowledge- He must be well aware of the latest technologies and software to come up with better solutions. For the problem. Updating the skills continuously helps in increasing your potential for the job.

Research skills- This is when you want to really go in depth about the subject and specialize in the topic. An active researcher brings new ideas with enhancing the overall concept, this could  also be helpful to get an alternate career as a teacher at the college after sufficient research.