Earning a Degree in Mechanical Engineering vs. Mechanical Engineering Technology

Posted on July 07, 2016  in  [ Engineering & Technology ]

Do you have a passion for engineering? You may be wondering what makes a mechanical engineering degree different from a mechanical engineering technology degree. Check out the information below to learn about the differences and to find out which degree is right for you:

Mechanical Engineering

With a mechanical engineering degree, you will learn the full cycle of an engineering project, from the design to the manufacturing stage. In learning this process, you will progressively advance your ability to create solutions to complex problems that help others in this world.  You will also develop professional skills, such as communication (verbal and written), team building, lifelong learning, which are necessary for today’s highly interactive workplace.

In addition, your mechanical engineering program will include an advanced and rigorous curriculum that integrates biology, chemistry, physics and computer programming with extensive coursework in engineering mathematics. With this STEM program, you will also study subjects like thermodynamics (heat, energy and work), materials engineering (developing, processing and testing materials) and transport phenomena (fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer). These subjects and others provide the foundation for a year-long design project where you will be able to demonstrate your abilities to perform as an engineer.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

When you complete this challenging yet rewarding degree program, you will be prepared to pursue a fulfilling career as a mechanical engineer. What is this career like? As a mechanical engineer, you will research, design, develop, build and test tools, engines and machines.

In addition, if you have the desire to start a business, dream of a new device or work with researchers, this degree can prepare you to do so. Other degree outcomes also include qualifying for positions in industrial engineering, system engineering, manufacturing engineering and more!

By choosing to become a mechanical engineer, you will experience many benefits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2015 annual median pay for mechanical engineers was $83,590. In addition, as STEM fields continue to grow and change, you can take part in exciting new innovations and research. Overall, this can lead to a fulfilling career.

Mechanical Engineering Technology

A mechanical engineering technology program is unlike a traditional engineering degree, as this program will provide you with opportunities for a more hands-on educational experience. In your courses, you will focus less on math and more on the application of the concepts you learn. While mechanical engineers are very design and theory-oriented, mechanical engineer technologists focus on putting ideas into action.

For example, a mechanical engineer may design a machine based on engineering principles. A mechanical engineer technologist will then analyze this design from the perspective of how the machine would be manufactured and provide feedback to the mechanical engineer. Next, they will solicit vendors to get the necessary parts, build a prototype and test it to ensure it meets the requirements. Over time, they may monitor the machine for quality control and make adjustments as needed.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

By fulfilling the requirements of this program, you will gain an understanding of the key concepts in computer-aided engineering, troubleshooting, quality control and ethical system implementation. With your newly advanced skillset, you will be qualified to work independently as a liaison between manufacturing and engineering teams, or as the design and testing partner to an engineer.

The future is bright for mechanical engineer technologists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2015 median annual pay was $53,910. In addition, as you see the positive outcomes of your work, you can pursue a rewarding career.

Which Mechanical Engineering Program is Right for Me?

Taking all of this information into consideration, you may be wondering which degree is right for you. When it comes to choosing a program, it is important to consider your interests and what kind of learner you are. For example, if you are motivated by concepts and you dream of designing machines or systems, earning a degree in mechanical engineering may be the right choice.

On the other hand, if you enjoy implementing plans and seeing ideas come to life, consider majoring in mechanical engineering technology. This degree can also provide you with opportunities to show Christ-like character as you help others succeed.

Overall, choosing to earn your degree in either mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology can prepare you for an exciting future!

If you have an interest in one of these highly stimulating degrees, visit our website or contact us today using the Request More Information button at the top of the page to learn about earning a degree through Grand Canyon University’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology!

Written by Jessica Meyer, a senior earning a marketing degree at GCU, and Lauren Abraham, a senior earning a communications degree at GCU.

Jessica Meyer

Jessica Meyer is a senior at Grand Canyon University. She was raised in Tucson, AZ, but recently moved to Phoenix to attend traditional classes at GCU. Jessica is majoring in marketing in the Colangelo College of Business. It is her first and last year studying at the main campus, and she wishes her time at GCU could last longer! She loves GCU so much, that she hopes to continue to work for GCU’s marketing department after graduation.

Learn more about Jessica Meyer

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