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Mechanical Engineering Career: Mechanical Engineering Degree Online

A mechanical engineering degree program can provide the basic knowledge and disciplines needed for competency in the diverse field. Mechanical engineering college prepares students with fundamental subjects including static and dynamic applications, energy conversion, mechatronics, control theory, and even drafting. Direct application of physics and chemistry is a requirement in this field, and many specialized programs are also available. A mechanical engineer makes use of both problem-solving and decision-making skills for a variety of projects and methodologies. In addition to a standard mechanical engineering college, pursuing a mechanical engineering degree online allows many students to complete their education and training with more flexibility.

What Is Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineering is a specialization in the field of engineering involved with the design, manufacturing, and maintenance of various mechanical systems. The most common practices involved include kinematics, thermodynamics, energy, and general mechanics. Mechanical engineers are commonly involved with implementing and designing various engineering systems, such as cooling systems, industrial equipment and machinery, and manufacturing plants.

Job Description and Responsibilities of a Mechanical Engineer

A mechanical engineer is commonly involved with projects such as:

  • Development and design of various mechanical design projects
  • Product design and development
  • Manufacturing and production engineering
  • Installation of thermal fluid and mechanical systems
  • Design and analysis of energy
  • Working on mechanical engineering projects overseas
  • Collaborating with a mechanical engineering team
  • Overseeing a staff of other mechanical engineers

A mechanical engineering degree can provide students with a rich education in science, mathematics, statistics, and basic engineering science.

Typical Mechanical Engineering Careers

After completion of a mechanical engineering degree program, graduates can choose from a diverse range of disciplines within the mechanical engineering field. The most common mechanical engineering careers available include positions in:

  • General mechanics
  • Kinematics
  • Mechatronics and robotics
  • Structural analysis
  • Thermodynamics
  • Drafting
  • Acoustical engineering
  • Computer-aided engineering
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Automotive engineering

General mechanics is a subdiscipline of mechanical engineering, and usually involves the study of statics, dynamics, fluid mechanics, and continuum mechanics. Mechanical engineers in this area are commonly involved with the design and analysis phases of engineering. Kinematics is the study of the motion of bodies and systems, and those who pursue mechanical engineering careers in this field are often involved with the design, analysis, and implementation of mechanisms.

Mechatronics is an interdisciplinary branch of mechanical engineering, and is primarily concerned with creating hybrid systems. Common mechanical engineering careers in this field can be found in automation, robotics, and computer engineering. Structural analysis involves understanding failure and breakdown processes. Thermodynamics is the study of energy, and a mechanical engineer in this field studies energy conversion and processes. Drafting is a form of technical drawing, and this may be computer-aided or hand drawn.

Enrolling in Mechanical Engineering College

Mechanical engineering college requires a strong knowledge and background in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and even economics. Many mechanical engineering degree programs are segmented into two major areas within the department. One may focus on the fluid/thermal area where math, controls, economics, and lab courses are the key areas of study. The other may be the structure/motion area where physics, math, and controls are the primary area of study. Engineering itself is a cumulative degree program, and mechanical engineering specializes in the electrical and mechanical processes behind a variety of industries.

Mechanical engineering college provides training and curriculum in the areas of:

  • Kinematics and dynamics of machines
  • Machine analysis and design
  • Design of mechanical components
  • Design of mechanical engineering systems
  • Structures and motion studies
  • Momentum, heat transfer, and energy transport
  • Nuclear and industrial engineering
  • Cost estimation

Students interested in a mechanical engineering career need to have strong skills in advance mathematics, physics, and economics. They need to think and analyze with systems-thinking, and will need to develop strong communication and technical writings skills throughout their careers.

A successful mechanical engineering career begins with fundamental training followed by specialization. A mechanical engineering college can provide the basic training and knowledge required for lifelong studies in the field; many graduates of two and four-year programs choose to pursue research and related disciplines. An alternative to attending a campus-based mechanical engineering college is to complete a mechanical engineering degree online.

Mechanical Engineering College and Degree Accreditation

Mechanical engineering degree programs at colleges and universities are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Education and Technology (ABET). This organization is also responsible for monitoring and certifying various mechanical engineering education programs and specializations. A mechanical engineering degree online program is also accredited by the same organization.

Earning a Mechanical Engineering Degree Online

Earning a mechanical engineering degree online is a valuable way for students who are interested in pursuing their degree from a distance. A mechanical engineering college may offer an online format for students who require flexibility in their schedule, or for those who simply cannot attend a campus in their local area. A mechanical engineering degree online may also serve as a supplement to another degree in the engineering field, or help students further their education if they are interested in research or post-graduate studies.

Future Employment Prospects and Earning Potential for Mechanical Engineering Careers

The rapid advancement of technology and mechanical engineering fields allows those with a mechanical engineering degree to pursue a variety of disciplines. Employment prospects for mechanical engineering careers look promising, and a qualified mechanical engineer is projected to have an average rate of employment growth through 2014. Emerging technologies in materials science, nanotechnology, and biotechnology will create new opportunities for a skilled mechanical engineer. Research and advancement offer even more flexibility for a successful mechanical engineering career in the long term.

The average salary for a mechanical engineer with a bachelor's degree was $50,236 in 2005, and $59,880 for those with a master's degree.


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