Mechanical Engineering/Mechanical Technology/Technician  Program Description


Insider Info

dotMechanical 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 degree.

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 says.

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 Technicians

Engineering -- Your Future
Info for students from the American Society for Engineering Education

Mechanical Engineering Magazine Online
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Just the Facts

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