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Does the idea of machine design and development interest you? A mechanical engineering job may be a good fit if you enjoy math, physics and problem-solving. We’ve researched facts and figures about where to find mechanical engineering jobs, salary ranges and more.
Mechanical engineers build, design and test mechanical systems, machines, engines and tools. As a mechanical engineer, you might work in automotive, manufacturing, automation and aerospace industries. Examples of products you might design include:
Mechanical engineering requires a deep understanding of electricity, thermodynamics and mechanics. Mechanical engineers use tools such as computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) to produce designs and monitor product quality.
Some tasks you may have to perform include:
Mechanical engineers can help an organization improve processes and save money by ensuring that mechanical systems operate efficiently.
You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology at a minimum to work in this field. Typical coursework for this field might include physics, math, engineering
You may need a master’s degree if you’re pursuing a management position. You’ll likely have to obtain a professional engineer (PE) license if you want to provide public engineering services. For example, if you plan on becoming a mechanical (heating and cooling) inspector, you’ll need a PE license.
In order to get this license, you’ll need to:
Let’s take a look at a few mechanical engineering jobs and titles.
An entry-level mechanical engineering job is usually offered to recent college graduates. As a trainee, you would assist and observe a senior level mechanical engineer with daily tasks to gain experience.
Sample job titles: Entry-level mechanical engineer, junior mechanical engineer, design engineer
Mechanical engineering technicians help mechanical engineers design, test and manufacture mechanical devices, including machines, tools and engines. They assist with sketches, data analysis, estimating and reporting.
Sample job titles: Mechanical engineering technician, engineering assistant, engineering technician
Mechanical project engineers use math and science to design mechanical systems or products. They collaborate with research, development, manufacturing
Sample job titles: Project engineer, mechanical project engineer
A senior-level mechanical engineer has many years of experience and may lead a team of engineers while overseeing major projects. You might be required to have a master’s degree and multiple certifications.
Sample job titles: Senior level mechanical engineer, senior manufacturing engineer, engineering lead
Mechanical inspectors work for local and state municipalities and inspect heating and cooling systems to ensure they meet building codes for both residential and business customers. A mechanical inspector is responsible for ensuring that new business owners’ or homeowners’ mechanical systems are operating safely.
Sample job titles: Mechanical inspector, city inspector, municipal inspector
Mechanical engineering professors teach bachelor’s and master’s degree-seeking students at colleges and universities. Most professors have advanced mechanical engineering degrees in specialty fields such as fluid or thermal dynamics. Some write textbooks and collaborate with colleagues on research projects.
Sample job titles: Adjunct mechanical engineering instructor, assistant professor of engineering, mechanical engineering professor
There are other types of engineering jobs you can pursue, depending on your interests:
Every type of engineer designs and builds things, just in different categories. For example, electrical engineers design electrical equipment and navigation systems, while civil engineers design infrastructure projects such as bridges and dams.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median pay for a mechanical engineer is $87,300. Mechanical engineering technicians earn $56,200 and materials engineers earn $92,300, so it depends on the job classification and level of education.
The job outlook for mechanical engineers and mechanical engineering technicians is positive, with an expected job growth rate of 9% by 2026, which is similar in pace compared to other occupations.
How do you go about finding a mechanical engineering job, assuming you’ve got the right education? A mechanical engineering job is more complex than a data entry job, which means you’ll have more steps to follow to find the perfect position. Here are some tips and strategies to help you in your job search:
You’ll need to be more than mechanically inclined to land a mechanical engineering job — there are other talents and strengths you’ll need to be successful in this field. Here are the top 6 skills you should have.
Developing and testing devices and prototypes requires keen problem-solving skills. A big part of a mechanical engineer’s job is to identify and resolve issues with products to improve performance and efficiency.
A mechanical engineer has to be able to effectively communicate with fellow engineers, business stakeholders and decision makers regarding products that are developed, tested and manufactured.
Mechanical engineers need good analytical skills in order to develop and test prototypes, identify design improvements, validate testing procedures and troubleshoot equipment.
Mechanical engineers need excellent math skills to solve problems. You may be required to use physics, calculus and statistics daily. You must also be adept in applying these skills to analyze problems and develop solutions.
Mechanical engineers are required to use sophisticated computer programs to design and build products and devices, so being tech savvy is a must.
Most mechanical engineering jobs will require you to speak to business leaders about the products you build and design as well as lead other engineers and assistants, so you’ll need strong leadership abilities. You’ll be regarded as the resident expert in your field, so you need to be confident and authoritative.
The ability to develop cutting-edge solutions is critical to successful mechanical engineering, so creative skills are imperative. Conceptualizing, developing and inventing new products also requires forward-thinking vision and innovation.
You’ll be tasked with examining complex systems and products, so you need to be able to pay attention to every detail. The success or failure of a project you oversee could hinge on the smallest of details, so you’ll need to be focused.
Engineering jobs are the hardest to fill, according to ManpowerGroup Global’s talent shortage survey. U.S. colleges and universities can’t produce enough graduates to meet the growing demand.
Mechanical engineers are currently the most in-demand of all the engineering fields, so you’ll have your pick of any number of excellent jobs in a wide range of industries if mechanical engineering is your forte. When you finally find your dream job, make sure you take advantage of the 401(k) plan offered by your company so you can plan for retirement.
Trying to make a career switch into a technical field? Check out Benzinga’s live listings for IT jobs, data analyst jobs, and computer science jobs.
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