InTrans / Nov 16, 2010

Mechanical engineering

Go! Magazine

Mechanical engineer at workposted on November 16, 2010


Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Engineers apply principles of math and the natural sciences to develop economical solutions to practical problems. These problems are typically technical in nature. Mechanical engineers research, develop, design, manufacture, and test mechanical devices like tools, engines, machines, etc. They also design and develop tools that are used by other engineers in their work. A mechanical engineer’s job description depends upon the industry s/he works in. Mechanical engineers are essential for the transportation industry, and they can work in fields such as aviation, railroads, waterways, roadways, pipelines.


A bachelor’s degree in engineering is required for an entry-level job. For research or faculty positions, a graduate degree is required.
To obtain admission into an engineering college, you are required to have a strong background in mathematics (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus) and science (biology, chemistry, and physics), in addition to courses in English, social studies, and humanities.
Bachelor’s degree programs in engineering are typically designed to last 4 years, but many students find that it takes between 4 and 5 years to complete their studies. In a typical 4-year college curriculum, the first 2 years are spent studying mathematics, basic sciences, introductory engineering, humanities, and social sciences. In the final 2 years, most courses are in engineering, usually with a concentration in one specialty. (Occupational Outlook Handbook (Ed. 2010-11)
Engineers need to be licensed if they want to offer their services to the public directly. Continuing education is critical for engineers in order to maintain their license and remain competitive.

Career opportunities

There is a dire need for engineers in general. This need is only going to increase with time. Starting salaries for mechanical engineers are among the highest of all college graduates. The median salary for a mechanical engineer is $77,020.

Schools with mechanical engineering programs

Engineering programs are offered by several public and private universities, such as:

  • Iowa State University
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Stanford University

By Bennett Stone, Go! Staff Writer

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