What is the difference between mechanical engineering and mechanical engineering technology?

Although they're similar programs, here's how careers and coursework can be different

Inspired by how things work, mechanical engineering professor Aimee Frame shares the difference between engineering and engineering technology degrees. 

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/vmN1KM-fSzM?rel=0

What is mechanical engineering and mechanical engineering technology?

Aimee Frame: We deal with anything that moves, but doesn't necessarily fly. So that could be anything from the complexity of a car down to just a simple carjack. Anything that has a moving part probably had a mechanical engineer working on it.

What is the difference between engineering and engineering technology?

Frame: The difference between the engineering program and the technology program is really the applied part of our college name. The applied science versus theoretical. They'll work on similar systems and sometimes there is an overlap in their career choices. The engineering programs are going to do things from a more analytical and theoretical point of view.

How are the career opportunities different between the two?

Frame: Engineering majors tend to go on to PhDs or masters degrees or work in corporate research centers more often than mechanical engineering technologists (METs). Our technology Students are more on the applied side meaning that they use a little less upper-level math and science to solve the problems. A lot of times you can simplify problems and get a good result so they tend to be more well-versed in manufacturing areas and often have jobs in quality control or other areas of manufacturing.

What qualities should a student have to become an engineer?

Frame: Somebody that's really curious about how things work. That curiosity about how does this camera work? Can I take it apart? Then the different things that you're interested in help you determine which engineering might better fit you. One of my big motivating factors when I was in high school was amusement parks.

A few years back I was at Universal Studios and we rode the Harry Potter ride four times because I wanted to figure out how it worked. I think that natural curiosity of wanting to know how those things work is a good trait to have.

Learn more about engineering

Want to know more about engineering? Take a look at the 'What is Engineering?' video series to better understand just what engineers do.