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Locked: Mechanical Engineering Technology--Design

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  • Jun 24th, 2012 12:08 pm
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Oct 12, 2011
24 posts
72 upvotes
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Mechanical Engineering Technology--Design

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Deal Addict
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Mar 8, 2002
4232 posts
866 upvotes
Ottawa
The only thing I know about Centennial College is that I helped design their Morningside Campus as a budding mechanical technician about 12 years ago. So take that for what it's worth ;)

First question: What specialty are you interested in? What do you eventually want to do? Architecture? Engineering? Environmental? Structural? etc...

I graduated with an Engineering Design and Drafting Technology diploma from what is now Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops BC. This was a buildings specialty. Before enrolling, my dad asked the director during an open house what the employment rate was for program grads, and without hesitating he said "100%!" That had me (and him) sold. When I graduated, I got a job that quickly fell apart. This was a blessing in disguise, because I then took a job in Toronto with a mechanical engineering firm because the economy was lousy in BC at the time (oh how the tables have turned!) and nobody else wanted the job. I'm still in Ontario 15 years later.

The training I received formed a good foundation for what I was about to embark on, as the program touched on mechanical, electrical, architectural, building sciences, civil, hydraulics, structural steel and wood, codes and standards, estimating, surveying, calculus, physics, computer programming, etc. The course workload was 38 hours a week in the first year and 34 hours in the second - pretty much like working a regular job, plus overtime of projects and homework. Mind you, they crammed three years worth of material into two, and no longer do that. There were many people who dropped out initially because the workload was too much or they didn't find it interesting. Don't let that stat deter you if this is the career path you want to embark on.

Co-ops are worthwhile if you can find something in your field, and not just doing gopher jobs at some company. Take all the experience you can get, even if it's volunteering building houses. It's a common complaint that employers want experience, but new grads don't have any.

But there was so much more to learn, and I certainly did just that in over 10 years of mechanical engineering consulting and now five years of Energy Management. I started working for peanuts but quickly worked my way up the ladder. I received accreditation as a C.Tech and then later reclassified to a Technologist on my experience alone. Now that Certified Engineering Technologists can apply for a Limited License to Practice Engineering in Ontario, it has become more valuable, and many job applications will ask for either a P.Eng or CET as a minimum credential. Most technologist programs will prepare you for accreditation - going through the program and not bothering with accreditation would be a shame. You only need to write an ethics exam and technology report.

Be prepared for long hours and little recognition as a new grad. Keep your experience list up to date and as it grows it will help you develop your career and move up and out. Now after 15 years of experience I can pretty much call my own shots and my experience is valued by the rest of the team I work with. Alberta seems to be a hot market right now, but the cost of living is high and the price of oil is dropping. If you're young and have no wife/kids/house to hold you down, you can be flexible and go where the work is. This is a wonderful country, take advantage and go exploring and find your way.

I say - Shut off the internet and take some time to tour the campus and talk to the faculty, and if possible, current students and alumni. Ask George Brown why they aren't accredited by CCTT. OACETT had a divorce with CCTT so that may be part of the reason - Call OACETT directly and confirm if you need to. Ask Centennial why you should take their program over someone else's. Do they have up to date equipment? What version of AutoCAD are they using? Etc...
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Mar 8, 2002
4232 posts
866 upvotes
Ottawa
In my current line of work, I tell people who are managing huge buildings to go home and look at their own utility bills. If you can't understand energy use in your own home, then how can you understand it anywhere else? Granted, architects are allowed to be "engineers" with residential homes, but there is a lot going on in homes that can be applied to larger buildings, so I think homes are definitely valuable experience. Even now, I can do my own renovations simply because of all the things I was exposed to in school, which has saved me thousands of dollars.

Most of the math I do now is in MSExcel which makes life much easier since we didn't have that in school and it does all the complex analysis for me. In energy management it's mostly multiplication/division and converting units. However, any program that you graduate from will make you pass the entire gamut of mathematical curriculum whether you'll ultimately need it or not. Get tutoring if necessary to overcome your math difficulties. I do remember in high school there was a matrix on the wall that indicated what skills were required for what job. Everyone wanted to know which jobs didn't require math - there were only three out of hundreds and although I don't remember what they were, nobody wanted to work at those jobs!

I do understand your concerns over accreditation status. The faculty of the program I graduated from regularly met with actual employers to find out what they needed in new hires, and then continually tailored the program to suit. They brought in the ASTTBC reps to talk to us about accreditation. That's why I recommend speaking to the faculty about your concerns. Their candour alone should be enough to give you a feel if the program they are teaching is right for you or not.
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Aug 9, 2009
4956 posts
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Im pretty sure its 3 years total. A total of 6 semesters and 1 full work term. I believe you don't get any summers off. ie, you do 3 semesters per year, so you are probably going to do 5 straight semesters and 1 year PTY and back to school for another semester.
bender111 wrote: A rep from George Brown called to ask if I have any questions, but when I asked why the program/college did not have accreditation with the CCTT, she said she didn't know. Instead I was given a number to call and discuss it with the program department. I was also told that the program does not offer co-op in the three year program (six semesters), whereas Centennial offers PTY/co-op in its three year program. At Centennial, I would have to complete five semesters/2.5 years, then do the PTY/co-op for a year, and return to the college to finish the last semester, so it's actually 3.5 years or 9 semesters.

I have also received acceptance to the Mechanical Engineering Technology-Design program and the Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology-Automation and Robotics program at Centennial. Both have accreditation with the CCTT and offer PTY/co-op. I also noticed the course outlines were similar but a bit different between George Brown and Centennial.

So for George Brown,
Pros: one hour walking distance one-way, lower tuition
Cons: non-accredited, no co-op

And for Centennial,
Pros: accredited, offers PTY/co-op
Cons: two hour transportation by TTC one-way, transportation costs, higher tuition

With these considered, it might be better if I go to Centennial for the program, hope I finish and find a job in the field.

And when I was in high school, I saw similar career posters. There were a lot more jobs that didn't require math, but I didn't want those jobs either!
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Aug 9, 2009
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Yes, you have to find a placement within that semester that you take your coop preplacement course. The coop department is not much help. You will have to look hard yourself to find a placement.

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