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How Do I Become a Mechanical Design Engineer?

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  • Written By: Kenneth W. Michael Wills
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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Someone looking to become a mechanical design engineer will need to have a solid educational background in mechanical engineering with an emphasis on design. Many employers will also ask for mechanical engineering experience before hiring a candidate to take on an independent role. This usually means graduating with a bachelor’s degree and successfully completing an internship, or working as an assistant engineer on a team project related to mechanical design. Usually, employers look for self-starters in this role, expecting candidates to work without guidance when performing routine mechanical design duties and needing only introductory guidelines when approaching new projects. Given such requirements, candidates will need to demonstrate successful application of mechanical design engineering principles in order to compete for a vacancy.

The first step required to become a mechanical design engineer is to attend college and graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, preferably with an emphasis on mechanical design. Beginning college students can find these programs housed in the engineering department of most major universities, both private and public. Gaining acceptance into these programs is competitive; therefore, classes taken in high school are important. Applicants will need a strong foundation in mathematics and sciences, along with coursework in mechanics. Grades are important as well, with preference often going to students with excellent grades in advanced mathematics and sciences as well as high achievement records overall in high school.

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Upon acceptance into a mechanical engineering program, a student will usually need four or five years to complete the degree program. He or she can expect to take a diverse range of courses in advanced mathematics, physical sciences, mechanics, mechanical design and engineering. Upon graduation, students will need to complete either an internship working directly on a project related to mechanical design or accept an entry level position working under the supervision of a mechanical design engineer. During service, either as an employee or an intern, a candidate looking to become a mechanical design engineer will need to demonstrate thorough knowledge in the theory and application of mechanical design engineering principles.

After completing either an internship or a few years experience working under the supervision of a mechanical design engineer, aspirants are usually in a position to demonstrate the key skills, knowledge and experience employers look for in the role. At this point, those seeking to become a mechanical design engineer may begin applying for vacancies. Preference is often given to those with the most experience though, particularly those positions that require senior mechanical design engineers. Most often, it will take a new mechanical design engineer a few interviews before landing his or her first job in an independent role.

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