What Are Mechanical Engineers?
Mechanical engineers are among the most versatile professionals. Their skill set extends to almost every industry. This is because mechanical engineers are responsible for building, developing and testing everything from tools to machines to engines which could be used in our day to day lives. From the power tools we use, to the engines in our automobiles, these engineers provide their input in many products.
What Skills Do I Need To Become A Mechanical Engineer?
Creativity is an important skill of a mechanical engineer. This is because the world is growing more complex, and innovative tools and equipment are needed to help us solve these complex issues. An engineer's task is to understand a given system and develop a novel way of tackling a problem within it. The same ingenuity is required in order to modify an existing machine for greater efficiency. Mechanical engineers must also have strong mathematical skills, particularly in the area of calculus, trigonometry, and advanced topics like numerical analysis. Math is to engineers what English is to a native speaker of the language - the method of communicating. Supplementing this is the need for a solid grasp of mechanical principles, which will be used to solve real-world problems.
How Can I Become A Mechanical Engineer?
Entering this field requires students to obtain an undergraduate degree in the field. These degree programs typically take four years to complete, but the duration may vary. Some students enroll in co-op programs which require students to gain practical work experience. While this allows them to understand how their learning may be applied in solving various problems, it extends the duration of the degree program to about five years. Some students also choose to enroll in accelerated programs which allow them to complete a bachelor's and master's degree within five years.
During the course of the degree program, students take courses in physics, mathematics, and topics such as statics and dynamics. All of these are designed to help students understand the mechanical principles behind different systems, and sharpen their ability to analyze and identify solutions to different problems. Students also learn how different materials behave, and which ones to use based on the scenario given.
Online Mechanical Engineering Degree
Gaining admission into mechanical engineering programs may be competitive, because of the large number of applicants each year. Some students may also want to pursue a graduate degree in the field, but may be holding full-time jobs as well. For these individuals, an online mechanical engineering degree may be quite feasible. Several universities and independent institutions across the US offer these types online programs. Course material is uploaded to a website accessible to students, and they may view lectures and work through the course at their own pace. There is more flexibility in these types of programs than traditional on-campus programs. It is also a good way for professionals to gain more educational experience without compromising their current lifestyle.
Growth in this field is generally positive, with mechanical engineers taking active roles in developing cost-effective energy provision solutions. The 2010 median annual salary was reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as $78,160.