Most employers prefer to hire someone with an associate’s degree or other postsecondary training in mechanical engineering technology. Prospective engineering technicians should take as many science and math courses as possible while in high school.
Prospective mechanical engineering technicians usually take courses in fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and mechanical design in a program leading to an associate’s degree. The Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accredits programs that include at least college algebra, trigonometry, and basic science courses. Associate’s degree programs are in the following types of institutions:
There are also programs in mechanical engineering technology that lead to a bachelor’s degree, although most technicians graduate from associate’s degree programs. Those who complete a bachelor’s degree work as mechanical engineering technologists, rather than as technicians. In some cases, they are considered applied mechanical engineers because they put current mechanical engineering concepts to immediate use. Completing an associate’s degree in mechanical engineering technology opens the way to studying for a bachelor’s degree.
Communication skills. Mechanical engineering technicians follow instructions from mechanical engineers or mechanical engineering technologists. They must be able to clearly understand and follow instructions or, if they do not understand, to ask their supervisors to explain.
Creativity. Mechanical engineering technicians help to bring plans and designs to life.
Detail oriented. Mechanical engineering technicians must make precise measurements and keep accurate records for mechanical engineers.
Interpersonal skills. Mechanical engineering technicians must be able to take instructions and offer advice when it is needed.
Math skills. Mechanical engineering technicians use mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.
Mechanical skills. Mechanical engineering technicians must apply theory and instructions from engineers by making new components for industrial machinery or equipment. They need to be able to operate machinery such as drill presses, grinders, and engine lathes.
Technical skills. Mechanical engineering technicians must be able to help engineers keep production machinery running and use equipment to record important data.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition