What to Expect
From the design of specialized tools to the automation of factories, manufacturing
engineering students major in cutting-edge manufacturing techniques.
Amy Ingram estimates that she spent four to six hours a day, seven days
a week doing homework when she took manufacturing engineering. That might
sound like a lot, but it wasn't so bad. "Since most things are done in
groups, it becomes very social," she says.
She says a typical day involves four to six hours of class time. The rest
of your day is spent meeting with people and working on assignments.
But it can't be all work and no play. "You have to know what you enjoy
so when you do have time off you can do something you find relaxing and fun,"
Graeme Lake also majored in manufacturing engineering. "[In] my third year, I
needed to study every day after dinner until I went to sleep, then study during
the day on Saturday and usually all of Sunday," he says.
"I had time to go out at least once a week, and I had time to play sports
three or more times a week for an hour or so each time."
How to Prepare
"I think that the most relevant course would be physics," says Ingram.
"Overall math skills are required, but the problem-solving skills you
get in physics are crucial."
It's helpful to be computer-literate before you start, but don't
worry if you're not. "It is easy to learn, since you don't have a choice!"
Take any technology courses offered in high school, such as auto mechanics,
electronics, drafting, shop and most importantly, math, says Lake.
He also recommends looking for a summer job in a machine shop or any technically
demanding job. "Even a job on an assembly line. These jobs will give you experiences
in technical fields and union environments."