Mechanical engineering technology students learn to translate the designs
of engineers into actual products.
Both technicians and technologists implement an engineer's design. But
technologists have more education and tend to hold more supervisory and managerial
positions. They usually work more closely with the design engineers and planners.
You can attend college to earn a two-year associate's degree and become
an engineering technician. Engineering technologists must earn a bachelor's
Because engineering technology is more about application and practice than
about theory and design, many of the courses are directed towards practical
training. Courses for technologists consist of math and science, material
studies, computer-aided design and drafting. There are also technical courses
such as thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and manufacturing technology.
Co-op programs, which combine work and study terms, are also available.
In the U.S., programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering
and Technology. Accredited programs meet the requirements for national standards
of technology education.
Students thinking of entering mechanical engineering technology should
enjoy the hands-on and practical side of technology. "Students here are
exposed to more hands-on activities, and they spend a lot of time in the labs,"
says Magdalini Lagoudas, a professor of mechanical engineering technology
at Texas A and M University.
If you're more interested in theory and design than in hands-on application,
consider a mechanical engineering degree rather than a technology program.
"There is much more of this type of study in mechanical engineering," Lagoudas
Students generally spend 30 hours per week in the classroom. "We
like to think that they are spending at least that time again each week on
homework," says Catherine Henry. She is the coordinator of the manufacturing
and mechanical engineering technology department at a technical college.
In high school, brush up on math and science. "The way it is going
with more competitive admissions, it is important for students to focus on
doing well in these courses," says Lagoudas.
But don't neglect your English courses. "We find that people come
into our program with quite poor English skills," adds Henry. "Students think
that if they're going into engineering, English isn't important, but they
will soon find that it is."
Outside the classroom, students should also think about enhancing their
knowledge of machinery and mechanized equipment. Mechanical, automotive and
rocketry clubs can be useful.
Textbooks and supplies are the main expenses after tuition.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Engineering
Engineering -- Your Future
Info for students from the American Society for Engineering Education
Mechanical Engineering Magazine Online
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