How to Get an Online Associate’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering
Do you love machines and engines? If designing new technologies that will help business and society grow in this century sounds completely up your alley, you might just love the field of mechanical engineering. If you are looking to get started quickly in this field, you may find it worthwhile to do some research on earning an associate’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Mechanical engineers take on work in a variety of fields, and they work on many different types of projects. This field is heavy in math and technology, so it’s ideal for those who are good with numbers and are tech-savvy. By getting an associate’s degree in mechanical engineering, you will be equipped with a solid understanding of the basic engineering principles, as well as the math that you will be using on a daily basis.
An associate’s degree in mechanical engineering typically takes two years of full-time study to complete. However, if you choose to earn your credential online, you may be able to complete it earlier. Depending on how many classes you can take per quarter/semester, you may be able to finish a lot quicker.
If you are a busy person looking to attend school while still attending to your personal obligations, pursuing an associate’s degree in mechanical engineering online could be a great option. Distance learning can work really well for those who are motivated and independent learners. It is essential to make sure that the college you choose is accredited so that the credits you earn can be easily transferred to a four-year college should you decide to continue your education. By virtually attending classes online, you will have access to all course materials and participate in class discussions just like you would normally in a traditional classroom setting. The main difference is that you would be able to log into the classroom portal from anywhere and anytime to complete required coursework and exams. Students can easily communicate with other students and their professors via chat platforms and email.
Common Associate’s in Mechanical Engineering Curriculum
Because there is a lot of math and science involved in this degree, it would be best that you are strong in these areas. Ready to immerse yourself in many tech-heavy classes? By enrolling in the associate’s degree program in mechanical engineering, you can expect to take some of these common courses:
- Fluid dynamics and thermodynamics
- Tool design
- Circuits and logic
- Manufacturing processes
- Technical writing
- Construction technology
- Engineering software packages (including CAD and CAM)
In addition to engineering-related courses, students will also have general education requirements and electives to complete, which will vary from college to college. These classes are usually not directly engineering related, but will help you develop a well-rounded foundation of knowledge that will be useful in helping you understand real-life situations and succeed in whatever career you choose to be in. For example, students may have an introductory course in social sciences, history, language, and fine arts, to name a few.
Associate’s in Mechanical Engineering Careers
Your career options are endless in the mechanical engineering field. With an associate’s degree specifically, you could take on an entry-level role upon credential completion, or you can choose to continue on to higher education and earn your bachelor’s degree. Graduates of the bachelor’s program usually have even more work opportunities and options to choose from. In this field, you could work in the following industries:
Of course, there are many other industries not listed above that you can delve in, but this is just a quick glimpse of the variety of options available to mechanical engineer graduates.
The associate’s degree program is great because it helps you get your foot in the door at an engineering firm. You will most likely work as an assistant to main engineers, and this position will allow you to essentially “shadow” the work of engineers. In addition to observing, you will also get the opportunity to gain work experience. The salary for this career will vary greatly depending on a number of factors, such as who you work for and where you work.
Needless to say, you will have far more opportunities for advancement and competitive salary if you choose to stay in school and earn your bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. With a four-year degree, you could potentially work as a:
- Product designer
- CAD or CAM designer
- Tool designer
- R&D technician
- Manufacturing technician
If you love the idea of working from home and having your own business, you could even become a self-employed consultant while making a comfortable living.
Because mechanical engineering is such a diverse field with many different paths to choose, salary will obviously depend greatly on which industry you choose to work in.