Mechanical engineering is a complex discipline that requires the knowledge from various spheres and its efficient utilization with the purpose of design, development, and assessment of devices. Professionals who work in this area are to be ready to work in office settings and deal with the problems with the equipment (What does a mechanical engineer do, 2016). Their job is hard and time-consuming, which means that it required a decent education.
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Taking into consideration the complicity of the work, it is critical to define if two years of technical studies (Diploma) is enough to prepare a mechanical engineering employee. The solution of this problem will allow to see whether the current educational programs are appropriate or they require improvement. It will also help professionals and students to make a right decision for their careers. It is critical, as people’s future and country’s development can be affected adversely.
This paper is aimed to prove that even though two years of technical studies (Diploma) is enough to work in the sphere of Mechanical engineering as a technician, it is not enough to prepare an efficient mechanical engineering employee and further education is required. This claim will be proved when answering such questions:
- Whether mechanical engineering is a complex discipline?
- What is the difference between mechanical engineers and mechanical engineering technician?
- What opportunities and duties do mechanical engineers and technicians have?
- Whether education obtained by technicians provides enough knowledge to become mechanical engineers?
Mechanical engineering is the oldest engineering discipline that includes various sub-disciplines. People who work in this sphere are efficient in many other areas such as physics or manufacturing and maintenance of mechanical systems. It deals with researchers, innovations, complex analyses and constant development. Engineering technology, in this perspective, is more limited. It deals with routine operations, manufacturing, evaluation, distribution and sales (Mechanical engineering & mechanical engineering technology, 2008). In order to become professionals in this spheres individuals mainly take college-level programs.
Many people believe that there is no difference between them and tend to choose the program that seems to be easier and less time-consuming. Still, it is critical to realize that mechanical engineers interface with other disciplines and often need to continue their education, receiving new degrees while mechanical engineering technicians have different entry points. Both professions require studying during two or four years but with various focuses (Sharma, 2011). It is impossible to substitute them because mechanical engineering needs more theoretical and scientific knowledge that is not provided in the framework of the programs for technicians.
Even though the majority of the scientists are sure that technicians’ education is not good enough to prepare an efficient mechanical engineer, the American Society for Mechanical Engineers state that “jobs obtained by graduates of both engineering and engineering technology programs are often similar” (RIT, 2016). In this way, it does not really matter what kind of program one chooses; the outcomes will be the same.
It turns out that mechanical engineers and technicians require a different scope of knowledge and different educational programs. Still, at the same time, it does not matter what kind of education they receive, as the jobs do not differ greatly (Handy, French, Corum, & Rodriguez, 2007). Such contradiction cannot be neglected and requires more thorough investigation. The problem can be solved with the enhancement of engineering technology degree completion (Mulski, 2016). Danielson and Kirkpatrick (2012) support such decision and believe that improvement of the education will place technical studies (Diploma) almost on the same level with mechanical engineering courses. Thus, it would be advantageous to find out how the issue is seen by the scientists and professionals who work in this sphere. Comparing their views and personal experiences, a conclusion can be made.
In order to find out whether technical studies (Diploma) that last for two years are enough to prepare an efficient professional who can work in the sphere of mechanical engineering, a quantitative research was conducted. It consisted of two parts. First of all, the information related to the topic was received with the help of the literature review. It allowed to see how scientists treat the issue in the theoretical perspective. Then, the survey was conducted to find out the views of people who work and study in this sphere to receive information based on personal experiences and practice.
The survey was used to gain the information needed for the research. It was assessed with the help of statistical analysis. The questions were designed so that people’s attitudes towards mechanical engineering and technical education were revealed. The survey consisted of four sections with various options of the answer, which ensured validity. Participants defined their names, ages, and majors to make the findings more reliable.
The research population included 30 people (engineers, students, instructors, and individuals with experience in the sphere). A convenience sample allowed to select appropriate participants from the volunteers.
Findings & Implications
According to the survey, the sample mainly believes that technical studies are part of the mechanical engineering department. The sample does not agree that technical diploma equals a mechanical engineering bachelor and considers that technician and mechanical engineer are different. 60% emphasized that mechanical engineering students do not have better knowledge than technical diploma students.
Experienced individuals tend to believe that a technical diploma has the same career path as mechanical engineering while students mainly disagree with this statement. 23% claimed that studying technical diploma is not easier even though industrial companies prefer to hire mechanical engineering students, who have more opportunities. A mechanical engineering course is considered to be more advantageous as it allows to get a higher salary, better career future and receive office job. Still, studying technical Diploma course requires fewer fees and years of education, and a chance to have overtime payment.
Thus, a mechanical engineering course is mainly preferred because it provides more chances to get a well-paid job in the office. Still, some experienced professionals believe that there are not so many differences in practice. People do not really focus on the education when they select a course. They are more concerned about the way chosen profession will influence their lives (whether they will be able to get a good job and have a wide range of opportunities). The fact that the sample does not consider that mechanical engineering students have better knowledge proves that technicians and engineers should not be compared as they have various focuses and need to know different information, which requires appropriate learning programs.
Thus, professionals believe that two years of technical studies (Diploma) in mechanical engineering is not enough to prepare a mechanical engineering employee as mechanical engineers require more knowledge, which allows them to have more opportunities in future. They separate mechanical engineering and technical education, pointing that they are not equal.
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People who want to become efficient mechanical engineering employees should study mechanical engineering course even though they have already had technical Diploma course. It is critical to define what profession they want to get and choose a program that fits it perfectly.
Danielson, S., & Kirkpatrick, A. (2012). Mechanical engineering technology: ASME vision 2030’s call for the future. Journal of Engineering Technology, 29(2), 42-48.
Handy, R., French, M., Corum, C., & Rodriguez, M. (2007). The near-term outsourcing of traditional BS mechanical engineering technology (MET) graduate employment in the United States. Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, 8(1/2), 5-10.
Mechanical engineering & mechanical engineering technology. (2008). Web.
Mulski, R. (2016). Improving mechanical engineering technology degree completion at Delaware Technical Community College (Order No. 10055788). Web.
RIT. (2016). Engineering technology or engineering? Web.
Sharma, A. (2011). Which path will you take? Web.
Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statements by circling the response that matches your opinion.
1. Name: __________________ 2. Age: ____ 3. Major _____________________
|1. I believe that technical studies are part of mechanical engineering department.|| |
|2. I think that a technical diploma equals a mechanical engineering bachelor.|| |
|3. I believe there are difference between technician and Mechanical Engineering.|| |
|4. I think mechanical engineering students have better Knowledge than Technical Diploma students.|| |
Please answer the following questions with a Yes or No
|1. Do you think a technical diploma has the same career path as mechanical engineering?||_____Yes _____No|
|2. Do you believe studying technical diploma easier than doing a Mechanical Engineering course?||_____Yes _____No|
|3. Does industrial companies prefer to hire a mechanical engineering student than a technical diploma student?||_____Yes _____No|
|4. Do you think a Technician employee has the same opportunities that the mechanical engineering employee has?||_____Yes _____No|
Circle three most important points that why you think studying a Mechanical Engineering course is better than studying technical Diploma course
- Better career future. 4- Higher salary.
- Better education. 5- Better qualification.
- Chance to complete higher studies. 6- Office Job.
Circle three most important points that why do you think studying technical Diploma course is better than studying a Mechanical Engineering course
- Less fees. 4- Does not require high GBA.
- Less years of study. 5- Opportunity to work in shift job.
- Easier studies. 6- Better chance to have overtime payment.