What Is the Professional & Education Background of a Mechanical Engineer?

by Terri Williams

Mechanical engineering was ranked the 6th best technology job of 2013, in addition to ranking 17th out of the 100 best jobs of 2013, according to ''U.S. News and World Report.'' As of May 2012 wage data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it also paid a lucrative salary of $84,770. However, a certain professional and educational background is required to pursue this career.

Lower-Level Coursework

While requirements may vary by school, mechanical engineering students at the University of Colorado, for example, need 128 semester credit hours. Classes taken during freshmen year at the university include Computer-aided Design, Calculus for Engineers, Chemistry of Energy and Matter, and Introduction to Engineering and General Physics. Sophomore-year classes include Experimental Physics, Materials Science, Statistics and Structures, General Physics 2 and 3, and a Professional Seminar.

Upper-Level Coursework

Core or upper-level coursework includes such classes as Dynamics, Component Design, Heat Transfer, Computational Methods and Thermodynamics. Other coursework includes such topics as Mechanics of Solids, Fluid Mechanics, Circuits & Electronics and Measurement Lab, in addition to Data Analysis, Manufacturing and System Dynamics. Students also take two general technical electives and two mechanical engineering electives.

Traits and Skills

Mechanical engineers need analytical and problem-solving skills to conceive solutions to various types of problems. They also need mechanical skills and the ability to learn and work well with a variety of tools and equipment. Mechanical engineers also need a certain level of creativity to design or build machinery. In addition, math skills, such as trigonometry and calculus, are vital in the design, analysis and troubleshooting process.

Licenses and Certifications

In the United States, mechanical engineers who want to work in public positions must be licensed as professional engineers. Licensing is provided at the state level. In addition, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers provides a variety of certification programs that allow these professionals to demonstrate competence and aptitude.

About the Author

Terri Williams began writing professionally in 1997, working with a large nonprofit organization. Her articles have appeared in various online publications including Yahoo, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report University Directory, and the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago. Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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