Mechanical Engineering Technicians
Mechanical engineering technicians assist engineers with developing, designing, manufacturing and testing consumer products, tools, industrial machinery and other types of equipment. Mechanical engineering technology is a wide field and mechanical engineering technicians work on a wide array of products. Many mechanical engineering techs work in design and development.
Mechanical technicians work on the tools and machines that are utilized to make products. They work with tiny parts and large parts. Some mechanical technicians have a speciality. Some mechanical technicians spend a lot of their time preparing drawings and layouts of products being developed. They often use testing equipment, complex instruments and gauges.
Some of the common job titles include mechanical designer, mechanical technician, research and development technician, process technician, engineering lab technician and engineering technical analyst.
- Help install, operate and maintain machinery used to manufacture products
- Evaluate testing methods to determine if changes should be made
- Make cost estimates
- Help solve production problems
- Make detailed drawings
- Record and analyze data
- Test machinery and parts
- Study manufacturing processes to determine if they can be performed better or in a less expensive way
- Evaluate project instructions and blueprints to determine test specifications, objectives and procedures
Mechanical engineering technicians usually work 40 hours per week. They usually work in manufacturing plants and offices. Creativity is beneficial for those that are involved with design work. Engineering technicians are usually part of a team, thus the ability to work well with others and good communications skills are important.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 6 percent employment growth for mechanical engineering technicians from 2006 to 2016 which is slower than the average for all occupations. Mechanical components and products are becoming increasingly complicated and the demand for improving these components and products should create employment growth for mechanical engineering technicians. However, foreign competition in manufacturing and design services is expected to limit the growth for the occupation. In addition, the median annual earnings for mechanical engineering technicians in 2008 was $48,130.
Education, Certification, and Licensing
Most employers prefer applicants that have at least an associate degree in mechanical engineering technology or engineering technology. Most associate degree programs that have been accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) include at least college algebra and trigonometry along with one or two basic science courses.
For some jobs in the field, such as tool design, apprenticeship programs are provided that combine on-the-job-training and classroom learning. It usually takes two to four years to finish an apprenticeship program.
Beneficial courses for mechanical engineering technician students include thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and mechanical design. Graduates of ABET accredited programs are typically recognized as having an acceptable level of competence in the subjects of science and math and also technical courses that are required of the occupation.
A large number of public and private schools provide technical training and the type and quality of training varies significantly. Students may want to ask potential employers for their school preferences. Students should also ask a school representative about the types of jobs graduates have acquired.
Technical institutes usually provide a substantial amount of technical training through application and practice, however they usually offer less general education and theory than community colleges. A number of colleges offer bachelor's degrees in engineering technology, however graduates of these programs are usually employed as technologists or applied engineers and not as technicians.
Employers typically don't require engineering technicians to be certified, however engineering techs that have certification may have a competitive advantage. The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies offers certification programs for several engineering technology specialties.
- National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies
- American Society of Certified Engineering Technicians
The primary job sectors are machinery manufacturers, tool manufacturers, engineering services; navigational measuring, electromedical and control instruments manufacturing; aerospace products and parts manufacturing, and government agencies.
Schools for Mechanical Engineering Technicians are listed in the Browse Schools Section.