What do you need to study in order to become a Mechanical Engineer?
Most companies hiring Mechanical Engineers will expect the applicant to hold at least a Bachelor in Science in Mechanical Engineering and an EIT (Engineer in Training) certificate or preferably a PE (Professional Engineer) certificate.
A Mechanical engineering degree programs usually include courses in mathematics and life and physical sciences, as well as engineering and design courses. The programs typically last 4 years, but many students take between 4 and 5 years to earn a degree. A mechanical engineering degree program may emphasize internships and co-ops to prepare students for work in industry. Theory is often another main focus, in order to prepare students for graduate-level work.
There are colleges and universities that offer 5 year programs that allow students to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.
What do Mechanical Engineers do?
Mechanical Engineers apply the principles of physics and material science for the research, design, developing, building and testing of mechanical devices. They are involved in the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the design, production and operation of tools and materials. They will also contribute to areas such as environmental control and pollution abatement, power generation, energy conversion and noise control.
A Mechanical Engineer may be called on to engineer or maintain parts on complex machines like generators, engines, and other highly mathematical applications. Mechanical Engineers will spend a great deal of time in creation, design, construction, and installation of many of the mechanical devices.
Typical duties would include the following:
- Assess project requirements
- Agree on budgets, timescales and specifications with clients and managers
- Analyse problems and see how a mechanical device may solve the problem
- Undertaking relevant research
- Design or redesign mechanical devices, creating blueprints so the device can be built
- Producing and implementing designs and test procedures
- Measuring performance of mechanical components, devices and engines
- Testing, evaluating, modifying and re-testing products
- Writing reports and documentation
- Providing technical advice
- Analysing and interpreting data.
Mechanical Engineers working in the Mining Industry may specifically perform task that include the following:
- The design and construction of resource development projects
- Designing of new machines, equipment or systems
- Investigating the account costs and material suitability
- Conducting research in the use and application of different fuels, energy heating, and storage and pumping of liquids etc.
Mechanical Engineers will typically use many types of tools, engines, and machines, such as power using machines, such as refrigeration and air conditioning, power-producing machines such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines, industrial production equipment, including robots used in manufacturing
Machine tools and tools for other engineers and material-handling systems, such as conveyor systems and automated transfer stations. Mechanical engineers use computers extensively, mainly to help in design. They will often use CAD (Computer Aided Design software to design plants.
What working conditions can you expect to work in as a Mechanical Engineer?
Mechanical Engineers will spend a fair amount of time in the field, but will also spend time in the office. When working in mining, they can typically find themselves working onsite on mines, possibly in remote locations where they may be exposed to extreme weather conditions. Mechanical Engineers will generally work in a team environment with other professionals, depending on the project they are involved in. If in mining they can expect to work closely with mining engineers and metallurgists amongst other professionals.
What can I expect to earn as a Mechanical Engineer?
Mechanical Engineers salaries vary tremendously depending on what region they are working in, what industry and in terms of how much experience they have. There are other factors that will influence the salary of a Mechanical Engineer, including what company they work for, whether the position is FIFO, and whether they are in a contract or permanent position.