Mechanical engineering technicians play a key role in the design of mechanical devices, equipment and machinery. Under the supervision of mechanical engineers, they prepare drawings using computer-aided drafting, prepare layouts for assembly, test prototypes and plan the production process for mechanical products. Mechanical engineering technicians generally need an associate’s degree to start a career.
You need the right personal qualities to be a successful mechanical engineering technician. A mechanical aptitude and technical skills are critical for this occupation. Mechanical engineering technicians must also be creative. Good communication skills are required, because mechanical engineering technicians work with technical and non-technical staff to design mechanical devices.
A postsecondary education program approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology is generally required by most employers. Programs result in an associate degree in mechanical engineering technology. Accredited programs are offered through community colleges, vocational schools, colleges and universities. Coursework covers general coursework in English and advanced mathematics, as well as computer-aided design, thermodynamics, kinematics, hydraulics and pneumatics. Many accredited programs offer cooperative education with local employers. An associate’s degree in mechanical engineering technology generally takes two years.
Voluntary credentials for mechanical engineering technicians can increase employment opportunities. The National Institute for Certification of Engineering Technicians offers credentialing in nine specialties for technicians who have about six months of professional experience. Certification requires paying an application fee and passing an exam.
Careers and Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects about 4 percent growth in jobs for mechanical engineering technicians between 2010 and 2020. Although this rate of growth is slower than the average for all U.S. jobs, the BLS expects more opportunities in the remanufacturing and alternative energy fields. The average salary for mechanical engineering technicians was $52,810 per year in 2011, according to the BLS.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Mechanical Engineering Technicians
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Mechanical Engineering Technicians Occupational Employment and Wages
- Cincinnati State Technical and Community College: Mechanical Engineering Technology Curriculum
- National Institute for Certification of Engineering Technicians: Certification Programs
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