Mechanical engineers are a bridge between a creative world and the real world. Every manufacturer needs mechanical engineers to take inventive ideas and transform them into saleable products or parts to help make products.
Before a car is built, mechanical engineers must design each component, making sure that all the parts will come together to form a functioning automobile. Mechanical engineers were invaluable in the design and development of the space shuttle, but the product does not have to be complicated or sophisticated. Innovative plastic toys like water guns are another example of products designed and developed by mechanical engineers.
Mechanical engineers take a concept and see it through to completion. First they must visualize the idea. Then the design process begins. When final drawings are completed, the mechanical engineer will oversee the building of a prototype.
Graduates develop versatile skills that enable them to seek immediate employment or to do contract work at home.
The job market for mechanical engineering graduates has been steady and is expected to grow. While manufacturing jobs have declined, equipment design is a U.S. staple.
Locally, mechanical engineers work on a variety of products or tools. They are involved in the process of making automobile parts, faucets, pumps, and lawnmowers. They also design parts that enable manufacturers to improve processes or incorporate product enhancements.
Graduates of the CCCC Mechanical Engineering program are employed locally, as well as in the Wake, Durham, and Research Triangle Park areas. They work for industries like GKN, Moen, John Deere, Static Control, Magneti Marelli, and Pentair. Some are even able to work at home as designers.
Graduates of the two-year Associate in Applied Science Degree work as mechanical engineering technicians, drafting and design technicians, mechanical designers, CAD/CAM operators, manufacturing engineers, machine designers, tool and die designers, mold designers, engineering assistants, and mechanical illustrators.
According to Money Magazine, first-year salaries of computer-aided drafting and design graduates surpass the average salaries of university graduates. Starting salaries exceed $27,000 annually. With five years of experience, graduates can expect to earn $35,000 to $40,000 annually.
Mechanic engineering students will learn the art of visualization. They will need to understand the mechanics of precision drawings and they will learn a variety of software programs such as AutoCad, Pro-Engineer and Master CAM.
In recent years the introduction of computers has simplified the processes of mechanical engineering. Students learn the principles of computer-aided drafting and manufacturing, as well as technical drafting and mechanical design graphics. Theory is put into practice as students work on a variety of projects ranging from designing golf clubs to designing an electronic car.
Certificate, diploma and degree programs are available. Classes are offered at the Lee County Campus in Sanford. Program lengths vary, but are designed to be completed in two semesters to two years.
Students successfully completing the Mechanical Engineering Technology Program will be able to: