Mechanical Technologies

As a mechanical technician or technologist, you might design planes and cars or develop consumer products. Find out what kind of degree and training you'll need to qualify for a position, as well as what to expect in terms of job growth and potential earnings.

Are Mechanical Technologies for Me?

Career Overview

Mechanical technologies apply mechanical engineering principles to the design, operation and testing of machines and equipment. Mechanical engineering technicians and technologists have similar job duties, but a technologist requires more extensive education.

Job Duties

Mechanical engineering technicians and technologists assist engineers in designing and manufacturing industrial machinery, mechanical systems, equipment and consumer goods. In this position, your job may include testing equipment and products. You could also create technical drawings and layouts, study data, prepare calculations and estimate costs. As a mechanical engineering technologist, your duties might include helping engineers with equipment and systems that create or transmit mechanical and fluid energy.

Career Options

Mechanical technologies professionals work for industrial development labs, engineering firms and utility companies. They could also be employed in the manufacturing, construction, automotive and aerospace industries. For example, you could get a job designing and developing airplanes, cars, power systems or heating and cooling systems. Depending on your interests and skills, you might also qualify for a position as a mechanical drafter or engineering assistant.

Employment and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment opportunities for mechanical engineering technicians could increase by just 5% between 2012 and 2022, which is notably slower than average. According to the BLS in May 2013, most mechanical engineering technicians earned between $33,680 and $77,190 a year. By comparison, opportunities for mechanical drafters were expected to decrease by 5% nationwide through 2022. As of May 2013, most mechanical drafters earned between $33,170 and $82,160 a year, as reported by the BLS (www.bls.gov).

In September 2014, PayScale.com reported that most mechanical engineering technologists made between $37,706 and $83,197. Total compensation included bonuses and profit sharing.

How Can I Work in Mechanical Technologies?

Educational Requirements

Formal training in mechanical technology can be found at community colleges, universities, vocational schools or in the military. Program emphasis is on engineering applications, as well as mechanical theory, operation and design. You'll need at least an associate's degree in engineering technology or mechanical engineering technology to qualify for most jobs as a mechanical engineering technician. A bachelor's degree in engineering technology or mechanical engineering technology will qualify you for work as a mechanical engineering technologist or applied engineer.

Curriculum

Engineering and mechanical engineering technology programs may include instruction in the use of computer-aided drafting and design, machine design and thermodynamics. You might also study the properties of electrical systems, hydraulics and material mechanics. In addition to mathematics and physics, coursework in fluid mechanics and quality control in manufacturing may be part of your program. Keeping up with technological advances and developing your transferable skills can help you stay competitive in the field of mechanical technologies.

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