find thermal engineering degrees near you

When you consider the field of engineering, there are many subfields that allow people with all interests to dive deeper into the fields of their wildest imaginations. This is one of the reasons why the engineering specialty is so popular among many people.

One such unique and interesting field within engineering is the discipline of thermal engineering. As the name would suggest, this engineering deals with temperature, or more specifically, the transfer of heat energy to or away from a specific component.

Thermal engineering can deal with the components and technology that actually produce the heat energy or the source of that energy, the components that just move the heat energy from one part to another, or the component that needs to have heat energy transferred to it or away from it.

This is a complex but much-needed field of engineering as it is related to climate control, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), air quality, and much more. It is also a subfield within mechanical engineering which, in most cases, means that those who pursue this field need to have some form of interest in working with their hands and working directly with engineering equipment.

To become a thermal engineer, you would need to first obtain a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, you would then need to gain experience either by obtaining an entry-level role, or by applying for an apprenticeship, and you can then work toward advancing your career.

Let us take a closer look at this complex, yet extremely interesting role of thermal engineers, and let us look at the steps you would need to take to pursue this role in greater detail.

What Is A Thermal Engineer?

With the knowledge of what thermal engineering is, it is easier to understand what a thermal engineer is and what they do. As a basic overview, a thermal engineer would most likely be referred to as a mechanical engineer who has specialized in the field of thermal engineering or thermodynamics.

These engineers basically create devices for temperature transfer, but they don't just make these components, in fact, their roles go far deeper. As a thermal engineer, you would be required to conceptualize or come up with a viable temperature transfer component, you are required to design the component, build it, test it, and if it is successful enough, you are required to develop maintenance protocols to ensure long-term use.

Beyond this role, you are also required to create new and updated components that are advanced versions of already-existing components.

Some useful components that have been designed and created by thermal engineers are used in our everyday lives and can easily be found in our homes. These are the components that can make something hot, transfers heat energy (from electrical or other sources) to a component, or it can take heat energy away from a component.

For example, in the case of a kettle or a heater, or even a stove, a thermal engineer would have designed the elements that convert electrical energy into heat energy. In terms of a refrigerator or a freezer, a thermal engineer would have designed the component that removes heat and that causes low or cold temperatures.

Steps To Become A Thermal Engineer

Step One: Obtain A Bachelor's Degree

The first step toward becoming a thermal engineer is to obtain the appropriate qualification. Given the complexity of this field, nothing less than a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at the very least is required. As you are completing your degree program, you can consider taking courses that are directly related to the subspecialty you are hoping to pursue, and in so doing, you will specialize within this specific sub-field of mechanical engineering.

While it is not really a prerequisite, you could consider pursuing a graduate degree program in mechanical engineering too.

Step Two: Gain Experience

There are two ways that you can gain direct and field-related experience as a thermal engineer. The first would be to obtain an entry-level role that will allow you to put into practice the theoretical knowledge that you have already gained. The second option would be to consider enrolling in an apprenticeship program while you are completing your degree so that you can gain experience while studying.

Step Three: Obtain Your License And Certification

In many cases, mechanical engineers, and to an extent thermal engineers, are required to be licensed for them to legally service and work with the public. In these cases, after you have obtained your qualifications, you would need to obtain the relevant licenses and certifications.

What Is The Salary And Job Outlook For Thermal Engineers?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), mechanical engineers, of which thermal engineering is a subspecialty, earn a median annual salary of $95,300, and they earn an hourly rate of about $45.82 per hour.

The job outlook for thermal engineers expects to see a projected 2% growth over the next ten years, and while this growth rate is slower than average, there is an expected 17,900 openings each year on average.


Is Thermal Engineering A Good Career?

Being a thermal engineer, or even a mechanical engineer, is an extremely lucrative career. From working in thermal power plants to energy conservation organizations and even industrial and manufacturing industries, this is an extremely viable career path to follow. Additionally, the private sector is extremely lucrative.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Thermal Engineer?

Generally, it takes about four years to complete a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering with a focus on thermal engineering. If you choose to pursue a graduate degree, this may add about two years to your overall qualification program.

What Subjects Or Courses Are Covered Under Thermal Engineering?

During your thermal engineering courses, you will cover fluid mechanics, machine drawing, metrology and quality assurance, industrial training, and cryogenics.


If you are interested in designing and creating components, and you are looking for a subfield within mechanical engineering, then thermal engineering may be the best career for you. Thermal engineering allows you to "bring on the heat" both literally and figuratiely in this career path.

find thermal engineering degrees near you