Manufacturing engineering students tend to have a few things in common:
they're problem solvers and creative thinkers. They're good with computers
and meticulous about details.
Joan Zywina is the academic assistant to the associate dean of engineering
at a university. She says these are just some of the skills students are expected
to master by the time they graduate from their manufacturing engineering program.
Manufacturing engineering technology programs take a more hands-on approach
than straight engineering programs. Grads become engineering technologists
rather than engineers. They'll be more involved in the ground-level technical
aspects of manufacturing, rather than the more abstract design work that engineers
Manufacturing engineering programs teach students how to design manufacturing
processes and systems.
Charles Harrell is chair of Brigham Young University's manufacturing engineering
technology program. He says that by the time his students graduate, they will
be able to take a product specification and develop a plan and procure the
necessary resources (equipment, tooling, etc.) to efficiently manufacture
products according to specification.
Zywina's school looks for students who have a minimum 80 percent average
in high school, and have completed courses in calculus, algebra, chemistry,
physics and English. Being computer-literate will really help.
Donald Zook is a former professor in the department of industrial and manufacturing
engineering at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona. Zook says
high school students should be paying attention in English class.
"We have many students that are technically proficient, but hide it well!"
he says. In other words, you could have the greatest idea in the world, but
if you can't communicate it properly, it isn't going to work.
Bradley Kramer is head of the industrial and manufacturing systems engineering
program at Kansas State University. He suggests high school students try
to get involved in a variety of things ranging from drama to student government,
debating and sports, to help develop teamwork skills.
The main costs are tuition and books.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Industrial
Engineers, Including Health and Safety
Engineering: Your Future
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Graduating Engineer Online
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