As a California student, you can choose between 40 schools with mechanical engineering programs. Ten schools have Associate's programs and 30 schools offer Bachelor's-level education. There are 29 Master's degree programs and 23 doctoral programs. The average cost of tuition for residents is about $3000 per semester, and the average tuition cost for non-residents is about $7,500.
An Associate's degree in engineering gives you a basic education in mechanical engineering. Many California schools accept these credits and apply them towards a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about two years of full-time study completing the 60 credits required for an Associate's degree.
If you want to complete a Bachelor's degree, plan on spending four years pursuing your degree as a full-time student. This degree requires approximately 120 credits. Some of the courses you may take at this level include Solid Modeling, Principles of Engineering, and Mechanics of Materials. You may also spend lots of time in your school's design lab to get hands-on engineering practice.
You may decide to pursue a Master's degree or PhD after completing your Bachelor's degree. The 30-credit Master's degree takes about two years of full-time study to complete; a doctoral program includes a thesis, so you may need five to seven years of full-time work to graduate.
Tuition costs vary significantly between schools. Fees go from $1200 for residents and $2800 for non-residents at San Joaquin Delta College to $14000 and $36000 at the University of California-Davis. The average cost of tuition for residents is $3000 per semester, and the average tuition cost for non-residents is $7500.
Since California is so large, there are many scholarship opportunities. The American Council of Engineering Companies California offers scholarships of up to $7500. Another option is the California Transportation Foundation scholarships, which go up to $2000.
After completing your education, the next step is getting your license from the Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists. You can apply for an Engineer-in-Training certificate or a Professional Engineer License. Your school must also send your official transcript to the board, in addition to a $125 fee that you must pay. Once you pass the exam and get your license, there are continuing education requirements you must meet.