However, there are a few different degrees available across the United States for you to choose from, and each of the different degrees suits a specific purpose.
We understand that the presence of these different degrees could lead to no small amount of confusion, especially for students who’ve just graduated high school.
Choosing the appropriate mechanical engineering technology degree can be one of the biggest steps towards a promising career.
So, to help ease this quandary and provide some guidance/knowledge to students, here’s a bit of insight into the mechanical engineering technology degree offered by several universities and colleges.
Types of Mechanical Engineering Technology Degrees
This section covers all the four major mechanical engineering technology graduate degrees aspirants can explore.
Associate Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology:
The college associate degree is the most basic degree that can be taken up by individuals, aspiring to be mechanical engineering technologists.
The requirements to qualify for this undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering technology typically include either a high school diploma or an equivalent GED. An aptitude and interest towards learning science, physics, and math in high school is also seen as beneficial apart from having the minimum education level requirements.
Depending on the institute you apply to, your high school GPA may be taken into consideration, and there may be a requirement for a minimum score qualification in additional tests such as SATs or ACTs.
An associate‘s degree program typically lasts for 18 months to two years and may include up to 60 credits to complete the course. An associate‘s degree in mechanical engineering technology can get you entry-level jobs such as a mechanical engineering technician in product development, quality control, manufacturing and more.
Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology:
The second rung of degree programs available to candidates aspiring to enter the mechanical engineering technology space is a bachelor‘s degree program.
This undergraduate degree program lays in-depth emphasis on the subject and requires between 36 months – 4 years to complete. The admissions overview for a bachelor‘s degree in mechanical engineering technology is on the same lines as the requirements listed for an associate‘s degree.
This means a high school diploma is a must and minimum scores in post-high school entrance exams may apply.
If you have already completed an associate degree program, it will count as part of the credits for a bachelor‘s degree when you apply for one. A bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering technology typically offers 120 credits.
There’s scope for more prestigious employment opportunities and careers in the mechanical engineering technology space for aspirants who have earned a bachelor‘s degree.
Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology:
A Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology degree program is one that professionals tend to apply for after they have spent a few years out in the field gaining hands-on experience.
You need a Bachelor’s of Science Degree to qualify for a master’s degree in a mechanical engineering technology program.
A master‘s degree is less practical and more theoretical and explores the nuances of engineering principles rather than focusing on experiential education practices.
Unlike an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, a master‘s degree isn’t a requisite for a career in the mechanical engineering industry.
This graduate degree is useful if you are focusing on a specific subject area of mechanical engineering that requires a deeper intellectual understanding.
A master‘s engineering technology degree program would typically take between 1-3 years to complete and may include a thesis or project component.
Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering:
A doctorate is the most prestigious mechanical engineering technology degree you can qualify for in this industry. A doctorate degree is typically sought by those who would like to take the opportunity to teach this specialty subject area in engineering at a university level.
A thesis or dissertation project of some sort is vital to earning a doctorate, and usually involves the exploration of engineering concepts and fields at a fundamental level.
Curriculum and Lessons Covered in These Degree programs
Depending on the college, mechanical engineering technology students will study the following subjects (theory+practical) in their curriculum:
- Civil Engineering
- Computer-aided Design & Computer-aided Technologies
- Advanced Mathematics
- Manufacturing Processes
- Fluid Mechanics
- Advanced Computer Applications
- Design with Plastics
- Machine Design
- Design for Manufacture and Assembly
- Automotive Engineering
Engineering projects and internships will also most likely be part of the course structure depending on the school or college you are enrolled in. Such internships provide professional training essential for several job roles in the mechanical engineering technology industries.
The fees and financial aid options will also vary with institutions. The length of the courses, the aid options that you qualify for, and the type of engineering degree you have applied for will all impact fees and financial aid options.
According to DataUSA, the median fee ranges from $6,530 for in-state public schools to $32,182 for out-of-state private schools for a mechanical engineering technology degree.
Before you choose which college to enroll in, make sure you read the information shared on the college website including – the kind of certification they provide, the student benefits, the faculty, the majors they offer, the classroom-environment supported by them, campus-life, part-time work opportunities aided by them, etc.
Graduation and Career Outcomes
There are a variety of mechanical engineering positions open for graduates from these programs. Here is a definitive list of positions offered:
- Manufacturing Engineer
- Project Engineer
- Engineering Technician
- Applications Engineer
- Engineering Associates
- Mechanical Engineer
- CAD Mechanical Designer
- Production Management
- Process Engineer
- Automation Engineer
- Production Engineer
- Chemistry & Labs
As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary for engineering technologists and technicians is $59,160 (this may differ depending on the location and responsibilities).
According to the same resource, “those who gain skills to help deploy the latest technological developments, such as three-dimensional design software, should have the best job prospects.”
Here’s an example of the type of emerging 3D engineering technologies that students can learn as part of their coursework to help them gain an edge in the job marketplace:
An associate’s or bachelor’s degree, then, is a requirement to enter this exciting career space. You can consider going for a master’s degree later on in your career and a doctorate only if you feel the need. If you have any questions, leave a comment or get in touch via our Request Information section.
What is the difference between a mechanical engineering degree and a mechanical engineering technology degree?
This question comes up a lot when students are researching college degrees after graduating from school.
The main difference between the two disciplines is that mechanical engineers are more focused on the theoretical and inventive aspects of creating new technologies.
The Engineer applies math and physics principles to ideas to test their validity and the scope of their use in the real world.
On the other hand, engineering technologists are more concerned with the practical side of the vocation.
Once the engineer has decided to take a project forward and starts working on series production, the engineering technologist steps in to assist on the project.
They test the product and measure its efficiencies; they also concentrate on optimizing the production process and reporting to the mechanical engineer regarding any issues while also offering potential solutions to the issues that they identify.
In essence, a mechanical engineering technologist works in tandem with a mechanical engineer on their projects. You can read our in-depth article on this subject if you wish to understand the differences between the two profiles in greater detail.