Online Mechanical Engineering Master’s Degree

Overview

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Mechanical engineers design and build anything with moving parts, including products as diverse as air conditioners and automobiles. Since mechanical engineering is the broadest of any engineering specialty, those who practice mechanical engineering can pursue careers in the biotechnology, automotive, nuclear energy and aerospace industries.

“One of the fun things about engineering is that there’s something in it for anybody,” Tom Loughlin, executive director of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, said in an interview with U.S. News.

An online master’s degree in mechanical engineering can enhance a professional’s financial and employment prospects. A graduate degree is also typically needed for promotion into management positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Course Work

Example courses
Computer control of machines and processes
Nanotechnology
Robotics
Manufacturing processes and systems
Linear control systems
Thermodynamics
Classical dynamics
Patent law and strategy
Automatic control systems

A bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or its equivalent is usually required for admission to most online mechanical engineering master’s degree programs.

The online mechanical engineering master’s degree curriculum consists of course work in bioengineering, thermodynamics, mathematics, fluid mechanics and computer-aided engineering, among other subjects. Students can obtain more specialized skills in specialties such as thermal and mechanical systems and manufacturing design.

Mechanical engineers who sell their services directly to the public, such as by starting their own company or through consulting, are also required to obtain a license. Professionals generally need to complete a degree program approved by the accrediting body ABET, have several years of professional experience and pass an exam to obtain a license, according to the BLS.

Job Outlook

Median salaries*
HVAC mechanical engineer $62,000
Mechanical design engineer $64,000
Manufacturing engineer $64,000
Mechanical engineer $66,000
Project engineer $67,000
Project manager, engineering $87,500
Chief mechanical engineer $109,000

*per Payscale.com

Employment growth for mechanical engineers hovers around 9 percent, slower than the national average of 14 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 21,000 mechanical engineering jobs are expected to be created by 2020.

Staying on top of the latest technological trends will give professionals the best chance of landing those positions, according to the BLS. In addition to the automotive, aerospace and biotechnology industries, mechanical engineers can find employment in the manufacturing, computer and environmental control industries, among others.

Median salaries range from about $62,000 for a HVAC mechanical engineer to $67,000 for project engineers. Those who advance to management positions such as a chief mechanical engineer can earn a salary of more than $109,000 per year, according to PayScale, an online salary database.

Professional organizations such as the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers offer networking, professional development and leadership training opportunities.

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