Mechanical Engineering Coursework And Training
Most mechanical engineers will be required to complete a bachelors in mechanical engineering. At the college or university level, mechanical engineering majors take courses in advanced mathematics, calculus, chemistry, and physics. After finishing these fundamental courses, students take engineering courses in:
- Materials Sciences
- Kinematics and Dynamics of Machinery
- Instruments and Controls
- Advanced computer programming
Students should try to land a paid or unpaid engineering internship. An internship can help the student understand the real world of engineering and apply the theories and principles that were taught in the classroom. An internship can also help the student determine his or her professional preferences, strengths and weaknesses.
Once again, because good oral and written communication skills are essential to a successful career in mechanical engineering, the student should not neglect the liberal arts and humanities. Moreover, because many large industrial companies that employ mechanical engineers are international, a second language can be invaluable.
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Why I Gave Up My Engineering Career
A while back, I received an email from a reader who is going back to school for an engineering degree. He asked me to write a detailed post on why I gave up my engineering career. Engineering is a great field to get into. These STEM careers pay well and the world demands more engineers every day. However, an engineering career might not be a good fit for everyone. I enjoyed being an engineer, but I quit my job in 2012 to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger. Why did I make such a drastic change? Ill share my experience with you today.
*This post was originally written in 2013. Ive updated and expanded it to be more useful. I added my experience since I left the field and my hope for our son at the end. The comments on this post are excellent too. Check them out after the main post. I hope you enjoy this one.
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Salaries And Trends In Mechanical Engineering Careers
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics , employment in the field is expected to grow about nine percent over the next decade, bringing along 21,300 new positions. Additionally, many openings will result from the natural replacement of workers who transfer to other occupations or retire.
In 2011, mechanical engineers earned an average salary of $79,230 . The best-paid engineers earned about $119,950 the lowest-paid earned less than $51,340. Industries that paid the highest annual mean wage include:
- Lessors of real estate
- Oil and gas extraction
- Bakeries and tortilla manufacturing
Fields like biotechnology, materials science and nanotechnology are expected to create job opportunities for mechanical engineers. In particular, medical biotechnology is becoming more attractive to mechanical engineers who specialize in design mechanics.
This area involves the design of prosthetic devices and artificial organs. Mechanical engineers work with medical doctors to design and develop these products that will withstand stress and be compatible with the human body.
Is Mechanical Engineering Right For You
Ask yourself these questions to help you evaluate your potential future as a mechanical engineering major:
- Do you struggle in math and science? If the answer is yes, then choose another college major.
- Are you naturally curious about how things work? Do you take things apart and put them back them back together? This is a natural trait of a mechanical engineer.
- Do you enjoy discovering new or better ways to do things? If so, mechanical engineering may be the right path for you.
- Can you process visual information and create mental images of objects that are yet to be developed? These abilities are critical to engineering, especially in the area of product design.
- Do people trust your decisions? If so, then you have demonstrated the ability to make rational decisions, a necessary requirement for the mechanical engineer.
The following trade associations are great sources of information about the field of mechanical engineering:
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers
- American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
- Society of Automotive Engineers
Jobs For Retired Engineers
Do engineers really retire?
Not really. While some engineers may officially leave a job after attaining a certain age, the job hardly leaves them. Also, being a professional discipline, engineers hardly have a fixed retirement age.
An engineer is also one never to be found idle. So after retirement, it is not unusual for engineers to still look for employment.
Engineering is one of the professions which can be practiced well into old age. Thats why its never difficult for engineers to want to keep on working, albeit in the background or at a slower pace.
Engineering is a vast field with vast disciplines. While the most popular types are chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering and electrical engineering, other types of engineering like aeronautical engineering and computer engineering are more modern. Engineering as a field is intertwined, so no field is independent of the others.
That allows the engineer to work in lots of different fields. Interestingly, engineers are trained in multiple skills. So in an engineer, you have many things rolled into one.
Engineers have a wide range of disciplines that could be impacted by their skills and experience and also have an even more comprehensive range of services that could be rendered after their active service years.
Some jobs require the services of retired engineers who would serve in a supervisory role. Others are rather needed to guide and mentor upcoming engineers.
Retired Mechanical Engineer Jobs
- Furnish technical advice to other engineers and technicians.
- Coordinate with other engineers and architects during design development.
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Benefits Of Mechanical Engineers
Because of their professional status, mechanical engineers typically receive the same benefits as other professionals at their employers. These include medical, dental and vision insurance vacations paid sick leave and holidays and retirement benefits, such as a regular pension, contribution matches for a 401 and selection of individual retirement arrangement plans. Certain employers also offer profit sharing, which means employees get a part of the company’s profits. Other common benefits of mechanical engineers include disability insurance, education assistance and flexible work hours.
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Occupational Employment And Wage Statistics
The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.
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What Do Mechanical Engineers Do
Some of the most common job functions of a mechanical engineer are:
- Product Design: Designing products ranging from biomedical devices to internal combustion engines to fuel-efficient motor vehicles, motors and appliances.
- Research and Development: Researching new ideas and solutions that satisfy societys demands or improving or expanding older ideas and solutions.
- Manufacturing: Designing and building the machines that mass produce consumer products. Of prime importance is designing and building machines that improve operating efficiency.
- Systems Management: Managing the operations of a large system, such as a manufacturing facility or a power plant.
- Energy: Planning how energy is created, stored and moved in industries that produce and deliver electrical power, such as natural gas, oil and alternative energy.
In most of these areas, the mechanical engineers goal is to harness or create energy in machines such as boilers, air conditioners and refrigeration equipment. Product design is about designing and manufacturing tangible products, such as engines, personal computers and dishwashers.
Mechanical engineers must be comfortable making decisions. They decide the size, material and shape of every part of a machine or mechanical device. Some decisions are critical to human life, such as those concerning the safety features of an industrial machine or a consumer product.
Covid Guidance For The Us
In order to enter Leidos facilities in the U.S. and to attend Leidos events outside our facilities, employees are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or maintain proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 96 hours of entry. In addition, we are receiving guidance from certain customers that onsite contractor personnel will need to be fully vaccinated to access customer facilities. If you are not vaccinated, please consider getting your COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please contact your Talent Acquisition POC.
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Heres What You Need To Know:
- Employers are open to hiring retirees. A lot of retired engineers mistakenly believe companies only want to hire Millennials. However, many employers need the technical expertise, professional judgment, and in-depth knowledge that comes from years of experience. Moreover, some companies continue a decades-long work relationship past retirement because they want to retain company knowledge before its irretrievably lost.
- You dont have to work full-time or onsite. This is especially important if youre looking for a better work-life balance. As a consultant, independent contractor, freelancer, or other type of contingent worker, there are both short- and long-term engineering projects that allow you to choose your own hours. And while some companies may need you onsite occasionally, most use enterprise collaboration software that allow you to work remotely
- You must keep your technical skills relevant. As an independent contractor, you wont have the luxury of relying on an employer to pay for professional development. Read professional publications to stay abreast of all important developments in your field, and be prepared to invest in training and courses to advance your skills. This can make the difference between not getting any projects at all and being a sought-after consultant.
More Reasons Why I Quit Engineering
I dont think there is any way to know if an engineering career is right for you unless you try it out. Most of my engineer friends from college are still working for a corporation, but none of them are doing the technical work. One of my friends husband is still working in chip design and loves his job. He works for a small company, though. I think that makes a big difference. In a big company, anyone is replaceable and they dont really appreciate you. Employees are just resources. I believe the camaraderie and the tighter community make engineering much better in a small company.
Im sure some senior level engineers are happy with their jobs and still enjoy their time at work. Also, lots of people successfully made the transition from engineering to marketing, managing, training, or other peripheral jobs. However, engineering was not the right fit for me anymore. Luckily, I saved and invested diligently since I started working. Financial independence enabled me to become a stay-at-home dad and take care of our son when he was a baby. I may rejoin the workforce someday, but Im 100% sure I will never go back to engineering. Its too late anyway. My technical skills are outdated now.
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Licenses Certifications And Registrations
Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as a mechanical engineer. A Professional Engineering license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in oneâs career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers . A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires
- A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
- A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering exam
- Relevant work experience typically at least 4 years
- A passing score on the Professional Engineering exam.
The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelorâs degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training or engineer interns . After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.
Several states require engineers to take continuing education to renew their licenses every year. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the other stateâs licensing requirements meet or exceed their own licensing requirements.
Several professional organizations offer a variety of certification programs for engineers to demonstrate competency in specific fields of mechanical engineering.
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+ Years After Leaving Engineering
Its been over 7 years since I quit my engineering career. Life has been incredibly good for me. I spent a ton of time with our son when he was young. Ill always be grateful for that. Now that hes going to school full time, I can spend more time on Retire by 40. I really enjoyed that time with my son, but Im glad hes growing up too.
Did I miss engineering? Not at all! I havent done anything related to engineering since I left in 2012. I dont miss programming, designing, debugging, or any other engineering tasks. These days, my plate is full with being a dad and a personal finance blogger. Personal finance is still fascinating to me. It might lose its luster at some point, but Im enjoying it right now. There are some new challenges ahead, though. My mom is struggling with dementia. Its a stressful time for us. Well just have to stay positive and deal with it the best we can. Actually, its a good thing that Im not an engineer anymore. I couldnt work full-time and take care of my mom.
*Starting a blog is a great way to save money on your therapy bill, build your brand, and generate some extra income. Check out my handy tutorial if youre thinking about blogging How to Start A Blog and Why You Should.