How to Become a Mechanical Engineering Technician
Mechanical engineering technicians help mechanical engineers manufacture industrial machinery and other equipment.
Most employers prefer to hire candidates with associate’s degrees or other postsecondary training in mechanical engineering technology. Prospective engineering technicians should take as many science and math courses as possible while in high school.
Mechanical engineering technicians typically need an associate’s degree or a certificate from a community college or vocational–technical school. Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes but include more theory-based and liberal arts coursework and programs. Community colleges typically award an associate’s degree. Vocational–technical schools include postsecondary public institutions that emphasize training needed by local employers. Students who complete these programs typically receive a diploma or certificate.
ABET accredits associate’s degree programs in relevant fields of study, such as mechanical engineering technology.
Completing an associate’s degree in mechanical engineering technology is good preparation for studying for a bachelor’s degree.
High school students interested in becoming mechanical engineering technicians should take classes in math, science, and computer skills. Courses that help students develop skills working with their hands also are valuable because these technicians build what mechanical engineers design.
Communication skills. Mechanical engineering technicians must be able to clearly understand and follow instructions or ask their supervisors for clarification if they do not understand. They must be able to clearly explain, both orally and in writing, the need for changes in designs or test procedures.
Creativity. Mechanical engineering technicians help mechanical engineers bring their plans and designs to life. This often requires helping the engineer to overcome problems that might not have been anticipated.
Detail oriented. Mechanical engineering technicians must make precise measurements and keep accurate records for mechanical engineers.
Math skills. Mechanical engineering technicians use mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.
Mechanical skills. Mechanical engineering technicians must apply theory and instructions from engineers by making new components for industrial machinery or equipment. They may need to be able to operate machinery such as drill presses, grinders, and engine lathes.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) offers four levels of certification through its technician certification programs. Mechanical engineering technicians can obtain certification in industrial instrumentation by passing an examination. In addition, an engineering technician’s supervisor must verify the competency of the candidate for certification.