Earning a Degree in Mechanical Engineering vs. Mechanical Engineering Technology

June 18, 2020
While a career in either mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology (MET) are both great choices, there are some key differences between the two fields that will influence your decision.

Students looking for more hands-on careers and opportunities will lean towards engineering technology, while those who prefer calculus and theory based applications will lean towards engineering.

In this article we’ll look at the pros and cons of each degree, what graduates can expect, coursework, general questions, and more.

So, let’s get into it!

Mechanical Engineering Technology

If math and theory isn’t your strong suit and you prefer more hands-on learning, a MET degree programs is the way to go.  Engineering technologists focus on an applied learning style by solving technical problems, computer aided design, and creating molds that will be used for certain parts of a product.

Education

Associate in Science Degree (Technicians)

Students looking for an associate’s degree in mechanical engineering technology can expect courses that focus on design, materials, and technical math.

While you’re in school you’ll have the opportunity to learn design principles, problem-solving, sketching, and how both the engineering materials and manufacturing processes and machines are selected and scheduled.

University students should expect to attain a wide range of skills and concepts in areas such as tool design, manufacturing processes, metrology, as well as electronics and electricity.

 

Bachelor of Science Degree (Technologists)

A bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology is the next step in engineering technology which offers a different look at more advanced concepts that include courses in subjects such as the design of plastics, machine design, and operations management.

Courses at the bachelor level typically allow students to link the design aspect of product development to the production phase, and facilitate delivery to the customer.

Some of the areas you’re likely to get a better working knowledge of include:

  • Hydraulics
  • Pneumatics
  • Dynamics
  • Instrumentation
  • Thermodynamics
  • Heat transfer

 

What kind of jobs can you get with a mechanical engineering technology degree?

Engineering of technology degrees will prepare graduates for professional career opportunities in research and development and many forms of the design process, working in such fields as toy design, packing or container design, as well as machine design.  Technicians will also be prepared for jobs focused on production, processes, tooling, and automation.

While there are plenty of career opportunities out there for both technicians (associate degree) and technologists (bachelor degree), as you might expect, the pay will be different depending on experience.

Mechanical engineering technicians will earn on average $48k per year when they graduate.  On the other hand, a mechanical engineering technologist will earn on average $63k per year at their job.

Mechanical Engineering

mechanical engineering

Going to college for mechanical engineering offers much more of a theoretical learning style where you’ll learn how to create solutions to difficult problems. In terms of classes, mechanical engineers will rely on computer aided design (CAD), computer aided manufacturing (CAM), and development coursework.

At the university level, mechanical engineering majors can expect to learn advanced mathematics, chemistry, calculus, and physics.

Since engineers are much more about theory vs implementation, many college classes they take are focused on communication, business, and writing programs.  There is also a larger focus on mathematics and science for mechanical engineers, so subjects like calculus should be second nature to you if this is the field you plan on going into.

Education

Associate Degree in Mechanical Engineering

An associate degree program in mechanical engineering nurtures a student’s analytical and problem-solving skills. The course work mainly includes – physics, chemistry, math, and calculus. This prepares students for higher-level classes in the final two years of a bachelor’s degree program in mechanical engineering.

In addition to the core mechanical engineering classes students are also required to gain knowledge about social sciences, behavioral science, writing, and communication. Some of the main subjects you’ll get to learn include:

  • Engineering graphics and dynamics
  • Programming for engineers
  • Circuit analysis
  • Statics and differential equations
  • Mechanics of materials
  • Thermodynamics

Bachelor’s Degree Program

A bachelor’s degree includes more advanced levels of applied sciences and mathematics. This degree prepares students to enter the workforce as professional engineers with varied skills and knowledge. Students usually complete their associate and then pursue a bachelor’s degree program.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a bachelor’s degree is usually required for entry-level jobs in the mechanical engineering field. A majority of employers prefer employees to complete their bachelor’s degree from a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

The coursework includes subjects like:

  • intermediate and advanced mathematics
  • life and physical sciences
  • engineering and design

What kind of jobs can you get with a mechanical engineering degree?

After completing the mechanical engineering degree program from a university, you’ll be qualified to work as a mechanical engineer. This entails researching, designing, developing, building, and testing tools, engines, as well as machines.

The mechanical engineering degree also prepares you to start your own business, develop a new device, or work with a team of researchers. You even qualify for positions in several engineering fields like – industrial, system, manufacturing, and more.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that mechanical engineers can earn on an average $88,430 per year and the employment is expected to grow by 4% from 2018-2028.

There are several MET career opportunities for freshers and your salary will likely improve with experience. You can even participate in new innovations and research after graduation.

New England Institute of Technology offers bachelor’s and associate’s degrees in mechanical engineering technology. These degrees are designed to help students develop their professional and personal skills for a fulfilling career in the technical field. With state-of-the-art campus infrastructure and stellar placement record, New England should be your go-to for a degree in mechanical engineer technology.

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FAQ

Can a mechanical engineer technologist become a mechanical engineer?

Yes, mechanical engineering technologists can seek jobs as engineers. So, after completing a degree in mechanical engineering technology you can research about mechanical engineering jobs, see what suits your interests and abilities, and apply for those.

Is mechanical engineering technology hard?

It solely depends on your passion. The focus of mechanical engineering technology is more on hands-on and applied learning. You can expect less physics and maths and more practical projects too. If you see yourself working in the technology-driven world – then, no this shouldn’t be a “very” difficult degree!