A mechanical engineering internship gives you hands-on experience that will benefit you when seeking employment after graduation. There are different types of internships and you may wonder what to expect when you start a mechanical engineering internship.
It’s impossible to know exactly what any particular internship experience will be like, but here are some general guidelines that may help you figure out what to expect from a mechanical engineering internship.
1. Apply Early
The first thing to know about internships is that it’s best to apply at least six months before you want to start. Because internships are so helpful in gaining practical experience, there is high demand for quality internships. Applying early will help you get your preferred internship. It will also create a favorable impression with the company for which you are interning.
2. Choose Your Area
You can find an internship in several different areas, including design (modeling), testing and manufacturing. It is helpful to know which area you feel would be most helpful in developing useful skills. You can also do multiple internships to cover different areas if the opportunities present themselves.
3. Expect Real Work With Supervision
Getting coffee and running errands for someone important is not the purpose of an internship. The idea is to do real work in the field of mechanical engineering under supervision of experienced engineers. Internships are a great way to learn real-world skills. And because you’re still a student, it’s expected you’ll ask lots of questions so you can learn even more.
4. It’s Okay to Be Considered Cheap Labor
Some companies will use interns as cheap labor but you should consider this an opportunity to learn and experience hands-on work situations. With each task you are given, you will learn a lot about the field you are entering and gain skills that your future employer will likely need, including a willingness to do what you are asked.
5. A Possible Path to Employment from your Mechanical Engineering Internship
Many companies look to hire their top interns on a more permanent basis, so an internship is not a good time to take it easy or slack off. You want to be sure to do your best work and put your best foot forward, treating the internship company as an extended interview situation with a potential employer.
6. Networking Connections
Whether or not an internship leads to a job, internships help students gain contacts and connections they can use when they begin networking to find a job. The networking process begins as a student and lasts all the way through your career and you never know when someone you’ve connected with in the past will become the connection to a future endeavor.
A Mechanical Engineering degree from Florida Tech offers internship opportunities, and our students have been recruited by companies including Boeing, GE, and Lockheed Martin for jobs after graduation. The admissions office would be happy to provide more information.