A Mechanical engineering education is a great pathway to begin a rewarding career of solving problems to help make people's lives better and more productive. It not only prepares you for an engineering career but can also serve as a valuable foundation for leadership and careers in any number of areas — industry, healthcare, academia, public service and even politics.

Mechanical engineering plays a critical role in solving the world's grand challenges by producing sustainable energy, providing a safe environment and clean water, building safe and effi cient transportation systems, designing new means of energy conversion and storage, and improving mechanical/electrical systems in homes and buildings. Emerging high technology fi elds of nano-materials and biomechanics are further examples of areas where mechanical engineering plays a vital role. Furthermore, established areas of mechanical engineering such as design, manufacturing, automation and control are essential elements to devising large-scale complex systems that drive the global economy.

This wide variety of careers and specialties — from medicine, to automotive, to energy, to aerospace — welcomes individuals with different interests and aptitudes. Mechanical engineers are not all alike, nor are the many educational paths you may choose to get there. You may want to pursue a 2-year degree or a 4-year degree. You may wish to focus more on hands-on, practical solutions to problems, or you may want to focus on a combined hands-on approach linked to theory and analysis. And after you complete your fi rst level of education, you may wish to continue, from Associate of Science (A.S.), to Bachelors of Science (B. S.), Masters of Science (M.S.), or Doctorate (Ph.D.) levels.

The most common paths to careers in mechanical engineering (ME) are through college-level programs in mechanical engineering (ME) and mechanical engineering technology (MET). There are many employment opportunities for degree-holders in both fi elds, starting with 2-year A.A.S programs in Engineering Technology, through Ph.D. programs in Mechanical Engineering (see diagram). The mechanical engineering spectrum continues to widen as technological development accelerates and professionals interface with other disciplines. That's why many graduates continue their education and pursue further degrees even after they've started working, depending on their workplace needs or specialties.

This brochure compares both mechanical engineering (ME) and mechanical engineering technology (MET) programs that are accredited or recognized by the international agency overseeing the accredited for engineering programs known as ABET, Inc. Both options represent viable professional paths — it's important for students to carefully assess their interests, personal objectives, and abilities, before selecting a program. These different educational paths better prepare students for different entry points into the Mechanical Engineering career spectrum, shown in this brochure.

ME programs are four years (or a minimum of 120 semester credits): sometimes at a community college, 2-year, pre-engineering program together with transfer to the upper-level baccalaureate program at a university. The MET programs are of two types, bachelor degree programs that are four years (or a minimum of 124 semester credits) at universities, and associate degree programs that are two years (or a minimum of 64 semester credit hours) at community colleges or university branch campuses.

ME programs award a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering or similar title. MET degrees depend on the length of the program. A 4-year degree program awards a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology, or similar title, and 2-year degree programs award an Associate of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology or similar title.