Online Degree in Mechanical Engineering

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Inventive Design through Online Education

Some people are natural tinkerers. They might pry open the computer to play with the circuitry, pop the car hood to work on the engine or visit the scrapyard to find discarded parts that can be converted into a working robot. These individuals are the next generation of mechanical engineers. But first they need the right college education. Read on to learn all about online mechanical engineering degrees and the careers they can lead to.

National Median Annual Salary & Job Growth for Mechanical Engineering

The bureau of labor statistics provides the following data about job growth in the Mechanical Engineering industry. As well as the following national median salary data for several different careers in the field of Mechanical Engineering.

Career National Job Growth (2014-2024) National Median Annual Salary (2014) Minimum Education
Project Engineer 5% $83,060 Bachelor’s Degree
Engineering Manager 2% $130,620 Bachelor’s Degree
Automotive Engineer 5% $83,060 Bachelor’s Degree
Mechanical Engineering Technician 2% $53,530 Associate Degree
Materials Engineer 1% $87,690 Bachelor’s Degree
EXPLORE ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAMS TO BECOME A MECHANICAL ENGINEER search programs

Sources: BLS.gov/oes and O*NET Online

Academic & Career Milestone Map

An online education in mechanical engineering can take you just about anywhere. Here’s what that path might look like:

High School

Takes AP Calculus and AP Physics

Award Winner

Wins 1st place at national robotics competition

Bachelor’s Degree

Majors in mechanical engineering, minors in computer science

Entry-level Job

Gets junior position at aerospace engineering firm

Master’s Degree

Back to school part-time for an online master’s in mechanical engineering

Promotion

Hired on as an engineering manager

Best Online Mechanical Engineering Programs for 2017

Online mechanical engineering degrees translate well to the virtual classroom by allowing students to utilize the latest area-specific technology as they receive the core knowledge needed to enter or advance their understanding in the field. However, with many mechanical engineering programs now offering online learning options, it can be difficult to sift through each program and their offerings. We’ve done the hard work and found the top mechanical engineering programs with online learning opportunities by analyzing schools across the country based on our methodology. Explore these top-notch schools for 2017 below.

RankUniversity Name Score Net Price Financial aid percent Online Programs Aavailable Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateUniversity Information Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services
1Missouri University of Science and Technology Score99.72
Net Price
Financial aid %81%
#Online programs6
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate65%

While there is only one bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering offered by Missouri University of Science and Technology, the degree can take whatever form students want. Because of the varied classes and diversity of the field, students can use their elective courses to focus on a section of mechanical engineering that is most interesting to them. By the time students earn their degree, they will be prepared to begin their career as a mechanical engineer. Missouri S&T also has plenty of research opportunities and internships that will connect students with potential employers.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
2Auburn University Score98.55
Net Price
Financial aid %65%
#Online programs4
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate68%

Mechanical engineering is a constantly changing field, so simply studying the basics of modern engineering isn’t enough to prepare students for the future. Auburn University has designed their coursework to combat this, teaching students modern mechanical engineering musts while also teaching them more about the background of the field. This helps students become more creative in their thinking, and it teaches them to adapt to situations and issues that might occur during their professional lives. Students will also learn about other fields during their studies if they want, such as economics or electrical engineering.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
3North Carolina State University at Raleigh Score98.26
Net Price
Financial aid %50%
#Online programs4
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate71%

North Carolina State University at Raleigh has structured its bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering to prepare students for any professional role they might be interested in. The curriculum combines research and design with hands-on experience, as well as plenty of theory and classroom teaching to make sure that students have the fundamentals of the field down. The program also has been structured to prepare students for the most modern changes in mechanical engineering, such as robotics and propulsion, so they can become leaders in the field as they continue to grow.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
4Michigan Technological University Score97.09
Net Price
Financial aid %94%
#Online programs4
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate66%

At Michigan, Technological University, students can pursue their education in mechanical engineering by enrolling in one of the many programs within the school’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. Available programs in this field include a Bachelor of Science and Doctoral program in Mechanical Engineering. All academics within the department are designed to teach the skills needed to excel in the field, including information such as functionality, safety, and the principles of motion, emery, and force. Upon successful program completion, graduates may be able to enter various disciplines in the field such as automotive, design, robotics or nanotechnology.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
5University of Delaware Score96.14
Net Price
Financial aid %54%
#Online programs6
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate80%

Through the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware, students are able to enroll in certificate, undergraduate, and graduate-level degree programs that give them the opportunity to learn all about the field and profession. The department’s areas of concentration include biomechanics and robotics, along with many other areas, so students are likely to have the opportunity to study their field of choice. Distance education is also an available option for students, so they can complete their academic program through an entirely distance format. Distance programs include graduate certificates and a Master of Science in Electrical & Computer Engineering program.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
6Columbia University in the City of New York Score96.05
Net Price
Financial aid %46%
#Online programs4
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate95%

At Columbia University in the City of New York, students are able to earn their credentials in mechanical engineering through The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. The department provides students with various research and instruction opportunities that are designed to teach them the area-specific information needed to enter or advance a career in the field. Available degree paths include undergraduate and graduate plans of study that result in bachelor, master’s, or doctorate degrees. All courses are kept small, so students can plan to receive specialized instruction while working closely with teachers and peers.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
7Stanford University Score95.37
Net Price
Financial aid %51%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate95%

The Mechanical Engineering department at Stanford University gives students the opportunity to study mechanical engineering at the certificate, undergraduate and graduate level. Each degree level is designed to challenge and equip students with relevant and comprehensive knowledge within the field, so they may enter or advance their career of choice. Students may also participate in various online seminars and webinars at no cost. The Student Services Office is available to help student with any questions regarding things such as academics, admissions, personal issues, academic advising.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
8The University of Alabama Score95.08
Net Price
Financial aid %53%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate67%

Prospective mechanical engineering students may be able to advance their understanding of the field by enrolling in one of the College of Engineering programs at the University of Alabama. Programs are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate degree level, which allows students to choose between basic to advanced knowledge of mechanical engineering. The department covers area-specific information including design, analysis, testing, safety, and manufacturing strategy. Upon successful program completion, students may be eligible to start their career or continue their academics in the Doctor of Philosophy program.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
9Case Western Reserve University Score94.90
Net Price
Financial aid %84%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate78%

The online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University allows students to study a career in this field while maintaining other time commitments such as family matters and work. This department’s programs are designed to prepare students for leadership roles in various environments including industry, government, private research and education. Upon graduation, students may be eligible to enter or advance their desired career in mechanical engineering, or continue their education through a doctoral program. To be considered for the online master’s programs, students must first hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
10University of Idaho Score94.69
Net Price
Financial aid %78%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate56%

Students interested in studying mechanical engineering are able to earn the credentials needed to enter or advance a job in the field at the University of Idaho. The Department of Mechanical Engineering challenges students by providing them with comprehensive curricula that is designed to prepare them to someday excel as mechanical engineering professionals. The on-campus, non-thesis master’s program is typically completed in three to four semesters. All applications are reviewed by the graduate committee, and prospective students can learn more about the graduate application process from the Graduate Admissions department.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
11Oklahoma State University-Main Campus Score94.34
Net Price
Financial aid %73%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate62%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
12University of Southern Mississippi Score94.09
Net Price
Financial aid %74%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate50%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
13Iowa State University Score93.92
Net Price
Financial aid %75%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate71%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
14Arizona State University-Tempe Score93.80
Net Price
Financial aid %86%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate58%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
15Colorado State University-Fort Collins Score93.31
Net Price
Financial aid %48%
#Online programs4
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate63%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
16Northern Arizona University Score93.16
Net Price
Financial aid %66%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate49%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
17University of Florida Score93.07
Net Price
Financial aid %29%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate85%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
18University of Massachusetts-Lowell Score93.02
Net Price
Financial aid %59%
#Online programs4
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate54%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
19Purdue University-Main Campus Score92.96
Net Price
Financial aid %47%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate70%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
20Clarkson University Score92.89
Net Price
Financial aid %99%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate70%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
21University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Score92.82
Net Price
Financial aid %47%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate91%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
22Lehigh University Score92.51
Net Price
Financial aid %49%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate88%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
23Indiana State University Score92.49
Net Price
Financial aid %75%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate43%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
24Illinois Institute of Technology Score92.46
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate68%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
25University of Virginia-Main Campus Score92.25
Net Price
Financial aid %29%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate93%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
26University of Kentucky Score92.15
Net Price
Financial aid %59%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate58%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
27University of Michigan-Dearborn Score92.12
Net Price
Financial aid %71%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate52%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
28University of Central Florida Score91.95
Net Price
Financial aid %44%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate65%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
29University of South Carolina-Columbia Score91.87
Net Price
Financial aid %47%
#Online programs4
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate72%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
30Texas A & M University-College Station Score91.85
Net Price
Financial aid %54%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate80%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
31Kansas State University Score91.84
Net Price
Financial aid %65%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate58%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
32University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Score91.79
Net Price
Financial aid %54%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate62%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
33University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus Score91.62
Net Price
Financial aid %38%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate79%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
34University of Houston Score91.42
Net Price
Financial aid %51%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate46%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
35University of Washington-Seattle Campus Score90.69
Net Price
Financial aid %34%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate81%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
36The University of Texas at Tyler Score90.65
Net Price
Financial aid %39%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate41%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
37University of Wisconsin-Madison Score90.51
Net Price
Financial aid %36%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate82%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
38Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus Score90.06
Net Price
Financial aid %32%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate79%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
39Rochester Institute of Technology Score89.83
Net Price
Financial aid %90%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate63%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
40University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Score89.58
Net Price
Financial aid %42%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate84%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
41University of North Dakota Score89.26
Net Price
Financial aid %30%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate52%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
42The University of Texas at Arlington Score89.21
Net Price
Financial aid %42%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate40%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
43University of Wisconsin-Stout Score87.04
Net Price
Financial aid %23%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate52%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
44Kennesaw State University Score86.73
Net Price
Financial aid %1%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate37%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less

Mechanical Engineering Degrees: Online vs. Campus

There are many online mechanical engineering degree programs. For the most part, online degrees in the field match up well with their on-campus counterparts. Math, science and computer work can all be done at home, with little lost in translation. However, there are some key differences:

Classroom

Mechanical engineering students, just like any other online students, can expect to access their program through a learning management system such as Blackboard. Through this single point of contact, they can communicate with teachers, collaborate with colleagues, and access coursework.

Timing

Many, but not all, courses are taught asynchronously, meaning that if a lecture is available on the learning management system, students can listen to or watch it at their convenience.

Labs

While advanced mechanical engineering degrees may be conducted entirely online, any degree below the master’s level typically requires time in the lab. Colleges often approach this by mandating that online students attend a summer program strictly for laboratory credits.

Student Body

Online programs were crafted for convenience. Therefore, students in online programs are quite often working individuals who attend school part time. This is a benefit to other students, who can collaborate and network with peers across industries. For instance, machine manufacturers mix with active computer manufacturers and aerospace engineers.

Examinations

To combat cheating, online mechanical engineering degree programs usually ask students to take exams in a proctored environment, which may be at an affiliated testing site, another college’s testing center, or under the supervision of a work manager or college official.

Technology

Although the technology used is pretty much the same at home as it is at school, some students will need to update their hardware and software systems. Given the heavy software needed for engineering programs, many schools wisely provide a list of minimum technical specifications.

Support Mechanisms

Some online students will need more one-on-one help than others. The best online mechanical engineering programs emphasize student support and will match their students with online tutors.

Online Mechanical Engineering Degree Levels

The emergence of online programs has resulted in a wider array of program offerings. Therefore, mechanical engineers of all levels — from beginners all the way to advanced practitioners — can find an online program that aligns with their educational goals.

  • Certificate
    (Less than 2 years)
  • Associate’s
    (2 years)
  • Bachelor’s
    (4-6 years)
  • Master’s
    (2 years)
  • Doctorate
    (4-6 years)

Online mechanical engineering certificate programs can be earned at both the undergraduate and graduate level. A high school diploma with math and science coursework is necessary for applicants to undergraduate-level certificate programs, while applicants to graduate-level certificate programs must hold an engineering bachelor’s degree from an ABET-accredited program. More often than not, these programs, which are designed for students looking to continue their education in a particular specialization, will be made up of four to 12 courses and take less than two years to complete. A certificate program focused on mechanical engineering should include courses in machinery dynamics and electro-mechanical systems. Students may also delve into subjects such as matrix theory and engineering analysis.

Academic Specializations in Mechanical Engineering

Machines, regardless of their size, can be incredibly complex. Therefore, it only makes sense that there would be many specializations to choose from in mechanical engineering. While individual schools use different names and course combinations, common degree specializations include:

  • Bioengineering
  • Design and Manufacturing
  • Dynamics and Controls
  • Energy and the Environment
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Robotics
  • Solid Mechanics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Transportation Systems

Mechanical Engineering: Common Online Classes

There are a handful of courses commonly found across programs because they provide the basic learning foundations for mechanical engineers. Below are a few examples.

  • Introduction to Machining This course covers the fundamentals of manual machine operation. Students learn how to properly use basic hand tools and to analyze a machine’s functions.
  • Fundamentals of Engineering. This course is an overview of many core courses taken by engineers, with topics covered including heat transfer, fluid mechanics and mechanical design. Additional topics, such as ethics and economics of mechanical engineering, are applicable across specializations.
  • Mechanical Engineering LaboratoryStudents will encounter multiple labs over the span of their degree. Laboratory courses let students experiment with instruments and measurements. Students participate in additional experiments with probability theory and physical phenomena such as distribution, correlation, supersonic flow and shock waves.
  • Introduction to Fluid Mechanics Fluid mechanics is its own specialization at many schools, but in this introductory course students cover basic continuum concepts, learn about liquids and gases in static equilibrium, and delve into equations of motion. Along with these topics, students will also get a handle on dimensional analysis and two-dimensional laminar flow.
  • Physics Mechanical engineers will take multiple physics courses during their degree because physics is the study of matter and energy, both of which are utilized by machines to function. Mechanical engineering students will learn about everything from heat and electricity to circuits and optics.

How to Pick a Mechanical Engineering School

After deciding to pursue an online mechanical engineering degree, it is essential to find a school that fits your needs. There are several ways to simplify the application process:

  • Think about specializationsAlthough associate and even baccalaureate degree seekers may prefer a general course of study, mechanical engineering runs the gamut from nanotechnology to airplane dynamics. Students looking for an advanced degree should stick to schools with their desired specialization.
  • Limit yourself to ABET-accredited programs Any mechanical engineering program from the associate to master’s degree level should be accredited by ABET. Indeed, a degree from an ABET program is required by many employers and a necessity to become licensed.
  • Determine how labs are handledEngineering programs involve a lot of work in math and science that can be done from home. But the coursework may also be loaded with hands-on engineering work originally intended to be done in a lab setting. Ask how the school approaches tactile coursework for online learners.
  • Read the sticker price Now that your list is looking smaller, research the financial requirements for your chosen programs. Are they realistic for your current situation? If not, find out what you are eligible for in terms of financial aid so that cost does not interfere with earning a quality education.
  • Ask questionsWill the program’s department help you find a cooperative education program or internship? Do faculty members offer research assistant positions?

Accreditation for Mechanical Engineering Programs

Accreditation is a highly important consideration for students. For one, it tells them ahead of time that the school and/or program has been properly vetted, saving applicants the time they might otherwise spend ensuring the program is academically sound.

Like other engineering disciplines, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, known more commonly as ABET, accredits both online and campus-based mechanical engineering programs. ABET is most concerned about students’ experience and how well they are able to learn from a given program.

Learn more about engineering accreditation.

Preparing for a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering

Having a step-by-step outline of what needs to be completed before the start of an application process can remove a lot of stress.

Time Before Program Start Date
Step 1

Decide to earn a bachelor’s degree.

2 years
Step 2

Take the SAT or ACT, if required.

1 to 1.5 years
Step 3

Choose several schools with a bachelor’s program in mechanical engineering. Take the time to research, understand and narrow down your options.

1 year
Step 4

Make sure you have the requisite GPA and SAT/ACT exam scores by checking the school’s admission guidelines.

1 year

Step 5

Give yourself enough time to apply. You may be asked to submit a personal essay, faculty recommendations and high school transcripts. Start gathering these materials as early as possible.

Up to 1 year

Prospective mechanical engineering students can take any number of preparatory steps — regardless of their desired degree level — to get an edge when applying to programs.

  • Participate in robotics competitions and science fairs in high school. Engineering-related extracurricular activities demonstrate an understanding of science and mathematics.
  • Take AP-level calculus, chemistry and physics. These courses are the building blocks to advancing a career in mechanical engineering.
  • Get your hands dirty and make something.Engineers use metals and plastics, not simply equations. Take all of the skills and notions you have acquired, and build something with them. If possible, do this with other people — it will help open up doors for contests and networking opportunities.
  • Take electives in drafting and computer-aided design. With so much being created via computers, it is important for mechanical engineers to have the skills to design machine parts and systems.

Mechanical Engineering Career Opportunities

When moving toward a future in mechanical engineering, it is important to have a general idea of what direction you prefer to go. Below are just a few job options to choose from.

Project Engineer

This career option supervises the technical staff of a given company when working on engineering projects. An important feature of this job is to make sure that these projects meet deadlines and stay within budget. Project engineers also make sure that effective communication is taking place among staff.

Engineering Manager

Analyzing technology, resource needs and market demands are a large part of this job. Engineering managers spend time consulting and negotiating with clients when preparing a project, coordinating and directing all types of engineering activities, and proposing new ideas and explaining reports to clients.

Automotive Engineer

These engineers apply their knowledge of mechanics specifically to cars, designing and testing everything from energy-efficient engines to durable suspensions.

Mechanical Engineering Technician

Technicians can jump into the field with just an associate degree. They serve as mechanical engineers’ assistants, recording data from experiments as they work together to design and test machines.

Materials Engineer

These engineers use plastics, metals and other existing materials to create new materials that can be used for specific products. They spend a lot of time designing and testing products, so mechanical engineers with hands-on experience in semiconductors might find a home in this career.

Mechanical Engineer Licensure and Certification

To advance in their profession, mechanical engineering grads can choose to pursue state licensure as well as several professional certification options.

State Licensure

Although there is no required licensure for entry-level Positions as a mechanical engineer, states do offer licensure, which is vital for leadership positions. To receive state licensure, applicants generally need to have an ABET-recognized degree, work experience, and a passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. The exam is essentially a step toward officially becoming an engineer because a passing score on the exam designates applicants as “engineers in training.” These engineers must then take a second exam, the Principles and Practice of Engineering to become “professional engineers.”

Professional Certifications

  • Certified Quality Technician

    Offered by the American Society for Quality, this certification is available to working mechanical engineers who are proficient in quality checking and solving quality problems.

  • Certified Systems Engineering Professional

    Mechanical engineers with a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of experience can earn this certification from the International Council on Systems Engineering.

  • Fluid Power Master Technician

    The International Fluid Power Society has nine certifications available for mechanical engineers specializing in fluid mechanics. For the Fluid Power Master Technician certification, applicants must pass a written exam and hands-on assessment.

  • Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing Professional

    The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has several certifications. The GDTP measures mechanical engineers’ understanding of drawings using the ASME Y14.5 Standard. A second, more advanced certification asks engineers to apply geometric controls to such drawings.

Similar Online Engineering Programs

Engineering is a large field with many disciplines and specializations, many of which are closely related. So before applying to a mechanical engineering program, it’s a good idea to check out similar programs, such as the three listed below.

Online Electrical
Engineering Degrees

Online electrical engineering degrees revolve around the notion of circuits. Topics will include the relaying of energy via circuits, circuit theorems and circuit applications.

Online Civil
Engineering Degrees

Online civil engineering programs are more geared toward structural design. Along with a full course load, students enrolled in these programs will become involved with the highly technical aspects of civil engineering, such as qualitative and quantitative statistics and soil mechanics.

Online Petroleum
Engineering Degrees

Because this occupation is one of the fastest growing in the nation, all higher education programs with the specialization are fairly intense. Topics include subsurface flow simulations, collaborative oilfield systems and oil recovery. Most online master’s programs in this area are less focused on a student thesis and more likely to require research projects.

Mechanical Engineering & Related Organizations