Mechanical engineering internships offer students hands-on experiences that can lead to a job after graduation.
When you choose a mechanical engineering degree that offers the opportunity to participate in an internship, you gain many benefits that will last long past the internship itself or the degree that follows. Internships have become a valued and vital part of many mechanical engineering degree programs, including the one offered at Florida Institute of Technology.
Mechanical engineers learn how to analyze, design and create systems — machines, engines, products and technologies — that convert various types of energy into electricity or heat. Mechanical engineers might design power generators, wind turbines, engines, refrigeration and air-conditioning systems, or machines that automate labor.
Subjects studied by mechanical engineers include instrumentation, thermal systems, statics and dynamics, fluid mechanics, manufacturing and processing, hydraulics, pneumatics, robotics, product design, CAD and computer-aided manufacturing. Mechanical engineers must also understand and apply basic principles from mathematics, chemistry, physics, civil engineering, and electrical engineering.
Although theoretical knowledge must be learned and understood, the heart of mechanical engineering is in the hands-on application of learned principles in the real world. This is where internships become particularly valuable.
Not only do internships teach you skills in a hands-on way, they present real-world situations that might not arise in the classroom. You can work with professionals in the field and learn what it’s like to be a mechanical engineer.
A mechanical engineering internship allows you to make contact with companies that perform the work you are interested in learning how to do. If the internship goes well, the company may even offer you a job after graduation. According to Internships.com, 70% of internships lead to a job offer. At the very least, the companies you intern with can give you a positive reference for future job prospects.
According to the Houston Chronicle, employers looking to hire engineers may even require an internship as a prerequisite for hiring because they recognize the value internships bring. Students hired after an internship tend to stay with the company beyond typical industry turnover rates, according to Wood Group Mustang manager Sam Smith.
How to Score a Mechanical Engineering Internship
Summer is prime time for internships, which may be paid or unpaid — but February and March are the prime recruiting times for most summer internships, so that’s when you should start looking. Florida Tech hosts career fairs every semester where many students are able to score internships, some even lead to full-time employment after graduation.
The interview process for most internships is similar to a job interview. Companies want to choose candidates they think would be a good fit for their program and who are developing skills they can use. Many interns find themselves becoming valuable members of the company they are working with as the internship progresses.
“We treat our interns as regular engineers and scientists,” says Claire Moreau of Barr to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. “Over the years, we have hired 147 former interns as full-time employees.”
Mechanical engineering internships are an important part of a Florida Institute of Technology education. Connections built with local and regional employers can lead to experience and job opportunities in many instances. Florida Tech’s Career Management Services office hosts regular interview practice sessions and resume workshops to help students land career-building internships.