Benefits of Continuing Education for MEs
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Engineers are eternal learners. Every day something new happens in the world, and if the last time you participated in a workshop or took a course was five years ago, that’s ancient history!
Technical jobs need guarantees that you can actually perform a task without any glitches. Having a certificate to prove your skill isn’t optional.
If you’re wondering about the benefits of continuing education, how to select the right course? and what are the possible fields of study? This is your ultimate guide to mechanical engineering continuing education.
Do Engineers Need Continuing Education?
Yes, absolutely. And here’s why:
- To update information
- To gain certifiable skills
- To pursue interests and passions
- To shift-gear their career
- To go into management
How to Choose the Right Mechanical Engineering Course?
This is a tough question. If you check out the courses offered by universities and institutes, you’ll find hundreds of different courses. Here are a few points to consider as you go through the selection process.
Is There a Job Opening?
Let’s say that the factory you’re working in is opening a solar system or smart homes division. If you take the right course in these disciplines, chances are, you’ll be the next technical manager for solar or smart homes.
Do You Have a Dream?
Engineers are driven by dreams. You might pursue your passion to become the next Malcolm Sayer, who is one of the best car designers of all time. So what’s stopping you? Look for the best automotive design programs, and get to it.
Do You Need to Fill in the Blanks?
College years are overwhelming and sometimes a subject gets a little less attention than it needs. Thermodynamics and Electrical engineering are well-known pet peeves for the mechanical engineering folks.
You can go back to the first principles, and strengthen the areas that need a bit more work. Truly good engineers are always revisiting the fundamentals.
Companies often subsidize training courses for their engineers and technicians.
Check out the continuing-ed program in your workplace. Mostly, they invite prominent professionals to give specially tailored courses in-house.
These are gems, so try to use them well.
What’s Your Budget?
Some degrees cost north of $50,000, while others stand at $50. There’s a course for every budget. But as a rule, online courses cost less.
However, theoretical knowledge isn’t always sufficient, and some courses are more beneficial when they’re hands-on.
Try to balance your budget with what you need. Knowledge is money, so you could also save up for a valuable course. In all cases, make sure that what you’ll learn benefits your future prospects.
Are There Any Time Constraints?
Some degrees like diplomas, masters, and doctorates take more than a year to finish. Plan your steps well to avoid feeling bored or restless.
A project that starts in a few weeks also presents a time constraint. If you want to be a part of the new agenda, then you’ll need to find and start a suitable course within that duration.
Is Distance a Limitation?
What if MIT is offering the best course in the world, but you live in California? Then you’ll think about relocation or taking a different course.
The best-case scenario is when the course you’re learning doesn’t require much traveling. If not, check out the online options.
What Are the Best Mechanical Engineering Courses?
There are hundreds of choices, but the best ones will satisfy at least two of the following points:
Going Back to the Basics
Engineers must return to the first principles on a regular basis. It’s like recharging a device. And oftentimes, you’ll need to revisit an obscure field of study or a rusty subject.
Getting a Degree
Your credentials are good predictors of your employability. Make sure that they come from reputable sources and have global acceptance.
Spending a few months on upgrading your educational profile is certainly worth doing. It boosts your market-worth significantly, in addition to changing your own perception of the industry.
Focusing on a Certain Field
Let’s say that you decided to work in HVAC. This field is heavy on certification and continuing education. Join a reliable society like the ASHRAE and they’ll guide you to the best courses and hottest work possibilities.
The same applies to all the other specialties. If you want to shine in your field, then you need to know more about it than anyone else.
Acquiring New Skills
Some fields are lucrative by nature. But to get there, you need some further training, maybe even going all the way through post-graduate studies.
Some skills like underwater welding don’t take that long to learn but earn you an insane paycheck. It’s a high-risk job though.
Learning the Latest Software
Engineers work with several software tools like SolidWorks, Inventor, and Fusion 360. These packages don’t come cheap and they aren’t as user-friendly as some might think.
To become a seasoned user of these various software applications, you’ll need intensive training. Online interactive resources are pretty good and worth considering.
These courses are necessary for almost all types of mechanical engineers.
Riding the Leading-Edge
Think about this for a minute: Elon Musk taught himself Rocket Science! So how much can we really learn? There’s no end of course.
The world is changing big-time, and engineers are the main players in these drastic advancements. Would you like to be a part of the new scene? Then learn what it takes.
Management is a talent and a gift. But it’s also a certifiable science. If you want a spot in the C-Suite, then you’ll have to study management.
A management background is always good, even if you’re in a purely technical job. It gives you the right mix of soft skills. That’ll come handy every single day at work.
One More Thing!
Who’s teaching the course? What’s the method of evaluation? Would you get an accredited certificate for your course? Would it make a difference in your career?
These are the main questions you need to ask regardless of the course. If you’re going to put in your time, money, and effort into something, you might as well make the best of it.
You don’t always have to study because you need that information or skill. As an engineer, you’ll be curious about a concept. So just follow your passion, it’s totally fine to study a course out of sheer interest.
There’s no such thing as useless knowledge. Mechanical engineering continuing education is rife with opportunities. Use them well!