Becoming a mechanical engineer takes a lot of hard work. It all begins in High School. You have to have good enough grades to be accepted to a University that offers mechanical engineering as a course of study. Once you have put in your four years and graduated from high school with good grades, the next step is to start your University course work in mechanical engineering.
If you look on most college curriculums, they are outlined with eight semesters of course work. There are two semesters a year so this translates into four years of college. If you are really ambitious, you can go to summer school and reduce this time to 2.5 to 3 years. On average, most mechanical engineering students take five years. Why you may ask? It is because some take a semester or two off to work for a company as an intern. This has a lot of benefits because you gain experience and build a relationship with an employer that may reward you with a job after you graduate if you perform well.
Once you graduate from college with your degree in mechanical engineering, you are one step away from officially becoming a mechanical engineer. All you need to do is find a job. On average it takes about three to six months of job hunting to find work. Of course this all depends on where you live and what industry you trying to start your career in.
So in summary, to answer the question of how long does it take to become a mechanical engineer, I would say that if you looking for the quickest path and are willing to sacrifice your summers, it will take 3.5 years once you have graduated high school. If you want to intern while in school and take your summers off, it will take 5.5 years after graduating high school.
As for my own personal experience, I didn’t sacrifice my summers and took four years to receive my Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. I could have looked for work then, but decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering. That took 1.5 years to complete. Once I graduated, I found my first job in four months.