How to Become a Mechanical Engineer in 5 Simple Steps

What is a Mechanical Engineer

The engineering field covers a wide range of jobs and roles. Mechanical engineers in particular carry out research, and are involved in designing, developing and testing mechanical devices and machinery, continue reading to find out how to become a mechanical engineer.

It’s hard to narrow down this job role to a particular industry. Anything that is mechanical, moves, uses force, or carry out automated tasks probably falls under the umbrella of a mechanical engineer at some point in its life cycle.

Robotics and intelligent mechanical devices are being designed to help everyone in everyday life. So the demand for engineers is always on the increase. It’s a fast-paced industry in respect to the development of new tools and devices, presenting new opportunities all the time.

What Do Mechanical Engineers Do?

Mechanical engineers are heavily involved in designing and developing new products. This can include mechanical devices, new software systems to improve the manufacturing process, small tool and large industrial equipment.

It’s a broad role within the engineering job scope. Developing ideas, manufacturing items, building and testing are all aspects of the role. Some engineers will only focus on one area, like designing, or just testing.

A summary of some typical duties include:

  • Problem-shooting and resolving problems
  • Designing and implementing devices and equipment
  • Analyzing results of tests and making adjustments
  • Following through the manufacturing process

Important Qualities of a Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical engineers are responsible for some of the greatest inventions ever made. We live in a world that now relies on technological advancements and the ongoing reliability of technology and devices.

From bridges, computers, buildings, planes, the list is endless. Every product, device, and process likely had some form of engineering involved to design, refine, and test it. It’s a job with an incredibly wide scope of opportunity and satisfaction.

Good Attention to Detail

This is key to the role of a mechanical engineer. Designing products requires micro adjustments and measurements. Small details can be the difference between success and failure. So a good eye for detail and a making few errors is important.

Excellent Communication Skills

In line with the previous point about attention to detail, being able to communicate effectively can be the difference between success and failure. Mechanical engineers often work as part of a larger team. With an individual’s part of the process being once small link in a larger chain.

Good Problem Solving Skills

Designing and manufacturing products will always present problems. Being able to solve the problems effectively and efficiently is a key part to the role. Testing products, looking for faults and ways to improve products and processes we already use.

Willing to Self-Improve

A role such as a mechanical engineer is requires keeping up-to-date with the latest advancements in technology, and being aware of new invention and processes. Self-development and always learning is key to staying ahead of the curve and being successful in the role.

Excellent Technical Knowledge

Engineers require vast amounts of technical knowledge. They don’t just know how to carry out the processes of their job role, they understand the technical reasons behind them. There is a deeper layer of understanding that mechanical engineers peruse, and it’s a defining factor in their skill-set.

The average mechanical engineer salary is .

What is a Mechanical Engineer

Becoming a Mechanical Engineer

Step 1: High School Requirements

High School Courses for Mechanical Engineers


As a mechanical engineer student you will have to take at least three semesters of calculus and it probably will be the one of the first classes you will take in college. So make sure to form a solid foundation early on.


As you can understand mechanics must have thorough understanding of physics as they will have to study more advanced physics based courses like mechanic, energy, forces, thermodynamics, electromagnetics etc.

Lab science courses

Most mechanical engineer programs will require at least 1 year of lab science coursework other than physics. You have to check the admission requirements of your dream college as some colleges will ask for two semester of chemistry lab classes and other for one semester of science lab classes and one semester of chemistry lab classes.

Step 2: Get an Undergraduate Degree

Associate’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering Program 2 years

In order to graduate from an associates degree in mechanical engineering program students need to complete 60 to 67 semester credit hours of coursework. Candidates for admission will need a high school diploma and pass an interview with the college admissions office.


  • Precalculus Mathematics I
  • Engineering Graphics
  • College Writing I
  • Precalculus Mathematics II
  • Engineering Design & Graphics
  • College Writing II
  • Calculus A
  • Technical Physics I
  • Technical Communications for Engineering Technology
  • Calculus B
  • Technical Physics II
  • Materials Science
  • Computer Aided Drafting
  • Statics
  • Elements of Thermodynamics
  • Electrical Basics and Laboratory
  • Dynamics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Applied Fluid Mechanics
  • Thermo/Fluids Laboratory
  • General Psychology (SS)
  • Electronic Basics and Lab
  • General Education- Arts & Humanities (AHD)
  • Mechanics/Materials Lab

The cost of a BS in mechanical engineering degree program is $15,000 – $46,127.

BS in Mechanical Engineering Program 4 years

128 to 136 semester credit hours are required in order to complete a BS in mechanical engineering degree either on campus or online. Students for admission will need a high school diploma with a GPA over 2.5 and some prerequisite courses.


General Education Requirements (51 Credits)

  • Academic Writing I: Writing in Academic and Public Contexts
  • Academic Writing II: Writing for Inquiry and Research
  • Exploring World Cultures
  • Understanding the Creative Arts
  • Understanding the Past
  • Understanding the Individual and Society
  • Understanding U.S. Society course
  • Calculus I
  • Calculus II
  • Calculus III
  • Introduction to Differential Equations
  • General Physics I (Mechanics)
  •  General Chemistry I
  • General Chemistry Lab1
  • General Physics II (Electricity and Magnetism)
  • Fundamentals of Modern Quantum Theory
  • Applied Linear Algebra

Core Courses (69 credits)

  • Engineering Orientation
  • Statics
  • Strength of Materials
  • Materials for Manufacturing
  •  C/C ++ Programming for Engineers with MatLab
  • Electrical Circuit Analysis
  • Financial Engineering
  • Introduction to Thermodynamics
  • Engineering Dynamics
  • Fluid Mechanics I
  • Introduction to Engineering Design and Graphics
  • Mechanical Vibrations
  • Dynamic Systems and Control
  • Mechanisms and Dynamics of Machinery
  • Heat Transfer
  • Intermediate Thermodynamics
  • Experimental Methods in Mechanical Engineering
  • Introduction to Computer-Aided Design
  • Mechanical Engineering Design
  • Manufacturing Process Principles
  • Senior Design I
  • Senior Design Il
  • Numerical Methods in Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer-Aided Design
  • Professional Development Seminar

Elective Courses (11 credits)

  • Undergraduate Research
  • Probability and Statistics for Engineers
  • Electromechanical Energy Conversion

The cost of a associates degree in mechanical engineering program is $15,000 – $46,127.

Step 3: Get a Graduate Degree (Optional)

Master of science in mechanical engineering 2 years

Master of science in mechanical engineering is available both on campus and online, you will need to take 30 – 45 credits in coursework in order to graduate. Applicants for this program need to have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from an accredited university with at GPA of at least 3.25 -4.0.


  • Principles of Turbomachinery
  • Introduction to Combustion
  • Engineering Optimization
  • Automatic Control Systems
  • Finite Elements in Engineering
  • Introduction to Computer-Aided Analysis of Machine Dynamics
  • Heat Transfer — Conduction
  • Heat Transfer — Convection
  • Heat Transfer — Radiation
  • Two-Phase Heat Transfer
  • Foundations of Fluid
  • Foundations of Fluid Mechanics II
  • Numerical Solutions Applied to Heat Transfer and Fluid Mechanics Problems
  • Fundamentals of Combustion
  • Foundations of Engineering Systems Analysis
  • Automatic Control Systems
  • Solid Mechanics
  • Simulation of Mechanical Systems
  • Prerequisite:
  • Colloquium

The cost of a Master of science in mechanical engineering degree program is $35,200 – $178,200.

PhD in Mechanical Engineering 4 years

PhD is the most prestigious diploma you can get as a mechanical engineer and the one that will open you the doors for an academic career. PhDs are mostly available for students with a Master’s degree in a relevant field but it there are a few programs for bachelor degree programs graduates with a bit more coursework. You will also need a persona statement some recommendation letters and GPA more than 4.0.

Due to the nature of this diploma and the differences between universities we cannot give you a curriculum but you will more that often need to complete 32 credits of level 500 and higher in coursework and a certain number of hours doing research and teaching classes.

The 32 credits that you will need to complete will cover fields like:

  • Combustion
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Control
  • Dynamics
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Heat Transfer
  • Manufacturing
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Solid Mechanics
  • Biomechanics
  • Thermodynamics

In the majority of the times you will not to have to pay for your Phd as the university will cover your costs when doing your PhD.

Click the red button below and get free information about accredited PhD in mechanical engineering programs near you.

Step 4: Get Licensed

All mechanical engineers in the US need to become state licensed. The organization issuing licensed is the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying and it is a 2 step process. After you get your bachelor’s degree you must pass the (FE) Fundamental of Engineering Exam. Then work for at least four years to get some experience and pass the (PE) Principles and Practice of Engineering in order to become a professional engineer.

Fundamental of Engineering Exam (FE)


Have an ABET accredited bachelor’s degree.


110 multiple question 6 hours test

Cost: $225

Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE)


Have passed the FE exam + fur years of working experience


8 hour long test split in morning and afternoon sessions


Step 5: Get Certified (Optional)

Getting certified is not obligatory but is a great way to get specialized in a field and show competency. The organization that issue certification is the the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and you can get certified in the following fields:

  • Boiler and Pressure Vessel (BPV)
  • Nuclear Material Organization (QSC)
  • Bioprocessing Equipment (BPE)
  • Personnel Certification
  • Nuclear Component (N-type)
  • Reinforced Thermoset Plastic
  • Corrosion-Resistant Equipment (RTP)
  • Nuclear Quality Assurance (NQA)

How Long Does it Take to Become a Mechanical Engineer and How Much Does it Cost?

Option 1: Associate’s Degree

Degree Time Cost
Associates Degree2 years$15,000 – $46,127
License 4 years$225.00
Total 6 years$15,225 – $46,352

Option 2: Bachelor’s Degree

Degree Time Cost
Bachelor’s 4 years$43,161 to $67,212
License4 years$225
Total 8 years$43,386 – $67,437

Option 3: Master’s Degree

DegreeTime Cost
Bachelor’s 4 years$43,161 – $67,212
Master’s2 years$35,200 – $178,200
License4 years$225
Total10 years$75,886 – $245,637

Option 4: Phd

DegreeTime Cost
Bachelor’s 4 years$43,161 – $67,212
Master’s 2 years$35,200 – $178,200
Phd4 years
License4 years$225
Total14 years$78,586 – $245,637

Mechanical Engineer Training Video

Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith is a Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

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