Aspiring mechanical engineer working on a design in a mechanical engineering internship

Get Ahead with a Mechanical Engineering Internship

Mechanical engineering is a degree that offers plentiful opportunities for future graduates. However, the job market is tough to break into right out of college. Finding a mechanical engineering internship will give you a competitive edge when seeking employment after college. If you’re looking for a leg up in mechanical engineering, then you need to know what is involved in an internship, how an internship can help jump start your career, and what types of internships are available.

What is a Mechanical Engineering Internship?

Internships provide experience that is similar to what an individual would actually do in an actual job. This means that most internships will be 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday. As an intern you will probably start out doing what might be considered the more tedious tasks. Depending on the position and your time there, you may have the opportunity to move on to things considered more challenging. Most likely you will work under the guidance of a mentor, but some interns may work with a team and assist with a variety of projects. A mechanical engineering internship can be found in manufacturing plants, automotive and aerospace companies, and even gas and oil companies.

How Can an Internship Help Your Career?

The majority of employers now view internships as the main method of finding new hires. An internship will give you practical, hands-on experience in the field of mechanical engineering. An internship bridges the gap between theory and what happens on a daily basis in the professional world. Simply sending out a resume and getting hired right out of college has become more difficult in recent years, and serving in internships has become the first step to securing full-time employment.

What Types of Internships are Available?

Some internships are paid, while others are not. Many will offer class credits or even housing subsidies. The length of internships also varies. Some may only be for a few months while others could last an entire year. Many engineering internships take place during summer break. Since there are different types of internships that offer various kinds of experiences, it's recommended to have more than one before graduating.

Taking part in an internship is definitely to your advantage and will make you more marketable to potential employers. Don't wait until your senior year of college to start looking for an internship; it’s beneficial to find internships as early as your freshman year. When looking for a summer internship, start searching and applying during the fall prior. Professors and advisers can also help you find suitable internships.

Last Updated: April 14, 2015