What You Should Know About This Degree
Most mechanical engineering jobs only require a bachelor’s degree. However, earning a master’s degree can help you hone advanced skills, or prepare you for management positions. It can also be used as a transitional degree for individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, but want to become a mechanical engineer.
Mechanical engineers who want to move into leadership roles, or run their own engineering firm must have a Professional Engineer (PE) license awarded by the licensing board in the state in which they work. One of the standard requirements for licensure is a degree from an ABET-accredited program. If you did not attend an ABET-accredited program for your undergraduate degree, obtaining your master’s from a program with this accreditation fulfills the requirement. Consult with your state’s licensing board for other requirements and procedures for obtaining professional licensure, and to confirm that you are enrolling in a program that meets their educational standards.
If you are looking to advance your career into management roles, you may want to consider a degree that focuses on business and management skills, like a Master of Business Administration, or a master’s in project management. While these programs won’t cover advanced mechanical engineering skills, they will help you develop leadership, communication, and entrepreneurial aptitudes.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Master’s in Mechanical Engineering programs:
- Are there in-person requirements for this program? While most programs deliver all coursework online, some may have in-person requirements for experiential learning, research, or special classes. It’s important to review a program’s curriculum carefully to learn about any in-person requirements they have, and confirm that they will fit into your schedule and budget.
- Am I eligible for this program? Because master’s programs tend to build upon knowledge and skills that students already possess, many programs require students to have an undergraduate degree or professional experience in the field. As you research programs, check their eligibility requirements to make sure you meet the minimum qualifications for admission.
Another key step in this process is reviewing application deadlines, and gathering the required application materials. Every school has different deadlines and requirements, so review their websites or contact the admissions department to determine exactly what you need.
This is also the time to start thinking about financing your master’s degree. If you are currently working, find out if your job offers employee tuition benefits. You should also research and apply for any available scholarships, assistantships, loans, and grants.