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Where will an Associate Degree in Mechanical Design take me?


I was wondering if anyone can explain where this degree will take me. I am going to school to get an Associate Degree in Mechanical Design. It teaches me Pro/E and Autocad. I have been a mold maker for the last 10 years. Am I making the right move? Just want to know if this will open more dorrs down the road.

Thank you, Ryan

It is generally understood by employers that an ASMET or BSMET both lack the rigor of an ABET-accredited mechanical engineering program (BSME). The associates degree certainly doesn't hurt but it doesn't carry the weight of the BSME nor does it signify that you have completed the rigorous subjects of mechanical engineering (calculus-based physics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, strength of materials, heat and mass transfer, et. al.)

On the other hand, I have worked with guys with no degree at all that managed to work their way up to an engineer title. These guys invariably started out as draftsman, were promoted to designer, then finally promoted to engineer. Even so, these guys never had the ability to do quantitative analysis (e.g. heat transfer, stress/strain analysis) and were never given that kind of work.

That depends on were you really want to go in your career. D you want to become a full engineer? or would you prefer just to stay at a designer level or cad admin?

(I know a few guys who work for certain defense contractor that will not be take the engineer title becuase it forces them to go salary and take a net loss by going salary, instead of hourly with OT.)

I guess for now I would like to finish my schooling for Mechanical Design. I am a mold maker at this same time. School and work get to be allot. I am hoping my experience in mold making can help me get a great design job. I do want to stick with mold designing.
Tunalover wrote

These guys invariably started out as draftsman, were promoted to designer, then finally promoted to engineer.

Thats me, it took me 10 years to get to the Big E but Tunalover is righ.t I still can't do all the serious analytical things, but my total of 14 years now of design give a real gut feeling which most (but not all) the time plays out well. My only 'degree' is a one year CADD and graphics Certificate from a com. college. But it got me in the door, my first real project was a mold base for a hand held race computer case. Did it all in Mastercam 386 direct to CNC with no dwgs with THOUSANDS of wireframe edges, water line, pins ejectors etc. The day at a job interview I saw an engineer do a blended sweep and shell it out to ready go in 20 mins what I would spend WEEKS doing all the radiused drafted intersections I WAS SOLD on Pro/E.

I would think that you might do well either with or without a BSME, perhaps the thermo and FEA and mold-flow skills you would have would make the effort worthwhile. But I'm sure there are mold houses with lots of fresh grads who have the head knowledge', but without 5% of your understanding of how plastic fills a mold cavity.
it all depends on how long it is going to take you. If you already went through calculus in high school or close to it and felt confortable with it, than I would recommend a degree in mechanical engineering. I have both an AS in automotive technology and a BSME. Both helped me a lot cause they're interrelated and opened the doors to both engineering and hands on technical experience. As for CAD, you can always self tutor it. I can say I am pretty confortable with proe without having taken any course. If you are passionate about a subject, you will learn it with your eyes closed......
I am in the same boat as doctordremel. I am what I call a home grown engineer / designer. I have spent many years working in manufacturing from a machinist (most of my carreer) to an inspector then into tool design. Now I am a Sr. Designer managing a new product start up taking it from an idea to reality.

I have a question for everyone... I know this will vary for each response, but what would everyone say the differances are between a designer and an engineer?
THE Biggest difference i have run into is getting in the door of a company. I only a 2yr degree and have worked as a lead designer. I have even started a few product lines. However since i did not have a BSME ony a ASMET alot of contract and Jobs have closed to me.

I still send off my resume for positions that say BSME Required and have gotten in a few doors. However they are few between compared to the amounts on sorry we are looking for a degree engineer

However after in this job market if you do not fit an Ideal mold the company is looking for, than it is a easy cut.

I am pursing my BS degree mainly for that reason. I am sick and tired of being looked over due to not have it.

My suggestion is to alway go for the higher education now because it can hurt if you don't have it

An Engineer has a degree (should have, IMHO) and a designer doesn't.

At my company, the Engineers do little actual modeling but do a lot of the grunt work to get the project out, like Engineering Releases, testing, retrofit kits, etc. Myself, since I'm a designer, does most of the designing of parts and putting them into drawings formats. I'm the one they come to for most of the work.

Steve C


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