Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers spend their careers researching, designing, developing and testing various mechanical devices, such as tools, equipment, machines and engines. Much of their work is done in offices, but they occasionally visit worksites when their personal attention is needed there. Mechanical engineers create dynamic systems by turning energy into work and motion. They could have a specific focus that puts them into the medical field, energy field or otherwise, but on a very general level their work is in the design of such devices.
But how exactly does one become a mechanical engineer?
Mechanical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. The first step is to go to college and get a degree in mechanical engineering. Most entry level mechanical engineering positions require a bachelor’s degree in the field. In some cases, you may be able to complete a two-year pre-engineering degree at a technical college and then find related work in the field before transferring to a four-year school to finish off the degree. But for the most part, employers want their engineers to have a bachelor’s degree in a program that has been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
Coursework in a mechanical engineering field can be quite difficult. Advanced mathematics, physical sciences, engineering and design courses are all necessities, and elective classes focusing on the use of computer-aided design may also be required. Classes often focus on specific areas of specialty in mechanical engineering, so the coursework a would-be engineer takes depends largely on the type of engineering specialty they chose before graduation.
It is highly recommended that students get internships and coops in the field as a part of their degree program to get some extremely valuable experience before hitting the job market. This will only serve to make them more attractive to potential employers.
All states and the District of Columbia require mechanical engineers who sell services to the public to be licensed. To become licensed, engineers must complete a four-year college degree, work under a Professional Engineer for at least four years, pass two intensive competency exams and earn a license from their state’s licensure board. To maintain their licenses, licensed engineers must take continuing education credits to retain their licensure.
After completing the degree, not all mechanical engineers go onto the next step and obtain an engineering license. Not all mechanical engineers hold a license in their state. Engineering licensure is done on a state by state basis. Students can apply for their license after completing their degree, and then must take (and pass) a Fundamentals of Engineering exam proctored by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. A professional practice exam must be passed before becoming licensed by the state board.
Finally, an optional step is to obtain additional certifications to show competency in particular disciplines within mechanical engineering. For example, one could become certified in advanced control systems design, stress analysis, dynamic systems and more. These certifications can help engineers boost their resumes and advance their careers.
Engineers at REDI are licensed in by individual states to practice engineering. REDI employs a team of highly qualified and skilled mechanical engineers. For more information about the services we offer or the states in which we’re licensed, contact us today.