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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering

Majors Overview July 29, 2014

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in mechanical engineering and their educational requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and licensure choices.

Bachelor’s Programs in Mechanical Engineering

Students enrolled in mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree programs often have to complete coursework that covers the design of HVAC and air conditioning systems. Individuals may sometimes earn this degree in conjunction with an HVACR concentration that comprises heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration, or an HVAC certificate. Students enrolled in these programs can expect to become adept at designing various refrigeration, air-conditioning and heating systems for industrial and commercial buildings.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. An interested individual who has already completed a bachelor’s degree program or is in the process of completing one can qualify for a certificate program in HVAC.


Coursework is combined with laboratory studies, in addition to co-operative education and internships. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Pneumatic and hydraulic systems
•Building heating and cooling loads
•Refrigeration principles and design
•Mechanical design
•Heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems
•Heat transfer systems design
•Engineering thermodynamics
•Solar power systems
•Applied thermodynamics

Career Choices

Those who successfully graduate from mechanical engineering programs embark on engineering careers where their job duties engage them in designing, creating and testing mechanical systems, tools and equipment. Some may choose to focus on designing HVAC and air conditioning systems for industrial, commercial and residential settings.

Job and Wage Outlook

A 5% job growth rate has been predicted for mechanical engineers, including those working in air conditioning, over the 2012-2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, mechanical engineers brought home an average annual wage of $80,580.

Bachelor’s Programs in Architectural Engineering

Students enrolled in a 4-year architectural engineering program may be offered a mechanical concentration that would be particularly beneficial to individuals seeking careers in AC or HVAC engineering. Those who graduate from the program can seek entry-level jobs as architectural engineers.

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Coursework combines lab studies and courses and may require completion of thesis projects by students before they graduate. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Engineering drawing
•Heat transfer and fluid mechanics
•HVAC design
•Environmental control systems
•HVAC control systems
•Solar energy building system design
•Building construction

Job and Wage Outlook

Those who graduate from this program may seek employment as architectural engineers involved in designing, constructing and operating buildings; they may opt for specializations in either mechanical systems or HVAC design. In February 2014, architectural engineers brought home an average annual wage of $58,933.

Licensure Choices

Licensure is mandatory for architectural engineers who offer their services to the public. Each state may have unique licensure norms; interested individuals may also need to complete an ABET-accredited degree program, apart from the passage of the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, and completion of many years of experience, followed by passage of the Principles and Practice of Engineering examination. Once they complete these requirements, engineers can obtain the Professional Engineers (PE) designation.

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