What job is most relevent to 'Mechanical Engineer' but requires no degree?

I want to be a Mechanical Engineer in the future but was wondering which occupation i should strive for before i get my bachelors.

Would Wielding be the best choice?


Welder is to mechanical engineer as cosmetologist is to plastic surgeon.

What about drafting?

It’s good that you are looking for practical experience. I need more information, though. Are you planning to take time between high school and college where you will work full-time? If so, be careful since it’s much harder to stop and start school than it is to keep going straight through. You can, however, consider a trade as a way to earn experience that may help you in the future. If you are taking a non-traditional route to a degree (i.e. part-time), then working in one of the trades would be a way that you could put yourself through school debt-free. I know plenty of people who did construction or carpentry ahead of getting an engineering degree, and they all thought it was pretty helpful.

If you are going straight to college, then a trade is definitely a good thing, but you can also look into engineering internships while you are in school. You will get more direct exposure to the type of work you would do after getting your degree that way.


probably a car mechanic, but thats not easy stuff

Actually, I don’t know if I agree. I mean, absolutely, welding and mechanical engineering are different. Same with drafting and mechanical engineering. But, depending on the area of mechanical engineering in question (as ME is a broad field that encompasses many different topics and job descriptions), having a firm grasp of things like drafting and welding and machining can make one a better mechanical engineer.

If we’re talking about a controls engineer who deals primarily with software and control algorithms, or a fluid dynamicist who primarily performs CFD and flow simulations, then even though they might both be mechanical engineers, things like drafting and welding are generally useless. On the other hand, a lot of mechanical engineers are involved in mechanical design/analysis and structural design/analysis. It’s not uncommon for engineers who deal primarily in mechanical/structural design to value knowledge of welding, machining, and drafting processes. A design engineer who understands welding or machining will be better able to design components with an eye for the practical, with a firm understanding of what is easy or feasible to machine/weld/manufacture and what isn’t. Similarly, an engineer with good drafting/CAD skills may better be able to communicate her designs to the machinists, or to the manufacturing engineering department.

It’s the reason that, when looking for a mechanical engineering design job, having practical experience with machining, CNC, welding, drafting standards, etc. can be the difference between getting a job or not getting a job.

@gizmojc If you want to be a mechanical engineer, then you should work toward getting a mechanical engineering degree. Picking up knowledge about machining and CNC, welding, and drafting along the way won’t make you a mechanical engineer, but it is valuable experience and can help you be a better mechanical engineer (and can help you get a job as a mechanical engineer), depending on which type of mechanical engineer you become.