Engineering Mechanics

A career in engineering mechanics involves designing and producing safe and effective products and materials. Read on to learn more about academic and career options for experts in engineering mechanics.

Is Engineering Mechanics for Me?

Career Overview

As the foundation for many of the mechanical sciences, engineering mechanics shares a strong relationship with physics and mathematics. It is also applicable to most, if not all, engineering disciplines. Professionals who work in engineering science assess the response of particles and structures to torque and force in static and dynamic settings. As a graduate of an engineering mechanics program, you might pursue a career in the power, appliance, automotive or aerospace industries or work in civil and mechanical engineering.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for biomedical and petroleum engineers were expected to increase by a much-faster-than-average rate nationwide from 2012-2022. By comparison, a faster-than-average increase in jobs was projected for civil and environmental engineers during the same period. As reported by the BLS in May 2013, biomedical and petroleum engineers earned mean annual salaries of $93,960 and $149,180 respectively. In the same month, civil and environmental engineers had corresponding average annual incomes of $85,640 and $85,520.

As reported by the BLS, employment prospects for nuclear engineers were predicted to increase by an average rate nationwide between 2012 and 2022. However, aerospace and computer hardware engineers can expect a slower-than-average increase in openings through 2022. As of May 2013, nuclear engineers had a mean annual income of $106,860. In the same month, aerospace and computer hardware engineers earned corresponding mean annual salaries of $105,450 and $106,930.

If you're interested in teaching at the college and university level, you can look forward to a faster-than-average increase in job openings from 2012-2022. As of May 2013, postsecondary engineering teachers had mean annual incomes of $102,880 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in the Field of Engineering Mechanics?

Undergraduate Programs

In high school, you can prepare for college-level engineering courses by taking classes in computer and electronics technology, engineering physics, mathematics and design. To qualify for many engineering jobs, you'll need a bachelor's degree in engineering mechanics. A major in aerospace, biomedical, mechanical and civil engineering may also be relevant. Program emphasis in on the theoretical and applied aspects of mechanics, and your classes might cover topics in continuum mechanics, computational mechanics and engineering science. Undergraduate programs may also provide you with the opportunity to participate in research projects.

Graduate Programs

While a bachelor's degree is usually sufficient for most engineering positions, a graduate degree is usually required to obtain a research or college-level teaching position. Areas of research may include materials engineering, fluid mechanics and structural mechanics. Doctoral programs in engineering typically require a minimum of three years of study, which can include research-based work in multiscale materials modeling, molecular biomechanics or deformation and failure in thin films; you might also examine how microstructures evolve in materials processing. Graduate programs in engineering mechanics are often interdisciplinary in nature and incorporate the study of civil, chemical and environmental engineering.

Licensing

You can work as an engineer or engineering technician without a license, as long as you're supervised by a licensed professional. However, you can earn an engineering license after completing an accredited bachelor's degree program and obtaining at least four years of professional experience. Additionally, if you'd like to work as a high school teacher in a public school, you'll need to pass state teaching exams. Licensure isn't required to teach at the college level.

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