What is a Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical engineers are those who can work on designing and planning engines and other equipment for the company. You will be in charge of maintenance, installation, operation, and repair of equipment. You will get the customer design proposals and will investigate failures and diagnose faulty equipment and report to the maintenance team. You will also handle discussions and solve problems together with manufacturing departments, suppliers, and customers. This means you will work with personnel within and outside the engineering team. Similarly, you will make sure the products are more reliable and perform well in the specific operating environments.

There is a list of accredited engineering courses you must have taken for you to be eligible for the post. A Master's or doctorate degree will be a plus. You must be creative, have a great team spirit and be able to work under pressure. In addition, you need to have good interpersonal skills and verbal and written communication skills. You will earn an average of $72,056 a year.

What Does a Mechanical Engineer Do

Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices, including tools, engines, and machines.

Learn more about what a Mechanical Engineer does

How To Become a Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. Mechanical engineers who sell services publicly must be licensed in all states and the District of Columbia.

Education

Mechanical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. Mechanical engineering programs usually include courses in mathematics and life and physical sciences, as well as engineering and design courses. Mechanical engineering technology programs focus less on theory and more on the practical application of engineering principles. They may emphasize internships and co-ops to prepare students for work in industry.

Some colleges and universities offer 5-year programs that allow students to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative plans combine classroom study with practical work, enabling students to gain valuable experience and earn money to finance part of their education.

ABET accredits programs in engineering and engineering technology. Most employers prefer to hire students from an accredited program. A degree from an ABET-accredited program is usually necessary to become a licensed professional engineer.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Mechanical engineers design and build complex pieces of equipment and machinery. A creative mind is essential for this kind of work.

Listening skills. Mechanical engineers often work on projects with others, such as architects and computer scientists. They must listen to and analyze different approaches made by other experts to complete the task at hand.

Math skills. Mechanical engineers use the principles of calculus, statistics, and other advanced subjects in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Mechanical skills. Mechanical skills allow engineers to apply basic engineering concepts and mechanical processes to the design of new devices and systems.

Problem-solving skills. Mechanical engineers need good problem-solving skills to take scientific discoveries and use them to design and build useful products.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as a mechanical engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Several states require engineers to take continuing education to renew their licenses every year. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the other state’s licensing requirements meet or exceed their own licensing requirements.

Several professional organizations offer a variety of certification programs for engineers to demonstrate competency in specific fields of mechanical engineering.

Advancement

A Ph.D. is essential for engineering faculty positions in higher education, as well as for some research and development programs. Mechanical engineers may earn graduate degrees in engineering or business administration to learn new technology, broaden their education, and enhance their project management skills. Mechanical engineers may become administrators or managers after obtaining the requisite experience.

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Average Salary
$72,056
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
4%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
116,298
Job Openings
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Average Salary for a Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical Engineers in America make an average salary of $72,056 per year or $35 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $93,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $55,000 per year.
Average Salary
$72,056
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Mechanical Engineer Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Mechanical Engineer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

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At Zippia, we went through countless Mechanical Engineer resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Mechanical Engineer Demographics

Mechanical Engineer Gender Statistics

male

80.6 %

female

12.7 %

unknown

6.6 %

Mechanical Engineer Ethnicity Statistics

White

72.9 %

Asian

15.3 %

Hispanic or Latino

6.9 %

Mechanical Engineer Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

28.0 %

Chinese

9.7 %

Mandarin

9.3 %
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Mechanical Engineer Education

Mechanical Engineer Majors

Mechanical Engineer Degrees

Bachelors

77.3 %

Masters

11.5 %

Associate

7.0 %

Top Colleges for Mechanical Engineers

1. Michigan Technological University

Houghton, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,646
Enrollment
5,736

2. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

3. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

4. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

5. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

6. Iowa State University of Science and Technology

Ames, IA • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,988
Enrollment
29,248

7. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,740
Enrollment
5,567

8. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,465
Enrollment
6,483

9. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

10. University of Wisconsin - Madison

Madison, WI • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,555
Enrollment
30,360
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Online Courses For Mechanical Engineer That You May Like

Mechanical design and Product development process
udemy
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Learn the basic ideas and concepts behind developing mechanical products related to mechanical engineering...

The Complete Engineering Mechanics Course
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Master the fundamentals of mechanics, statics and applied physics and then solve real-world mechanics problems...

Applications in Engineering Mechanics
coursera

This course applies principles learned in my course "Introduction to Engineering Mechanics" to analyze real world engineering structures. You will need to have mastered the engineering fundamentals from that class in order to be successful in this course offering. This course addresses the modeling and analysis of static equilibrium problems with an emphasis on real world engineering systems and problem solving. - Recommended Background: You will need to have successfully completed my earlier co...

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Top Skills For a Mechanical Engineer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 10.9% of mechanical engineers listed engineering design on their resume, but soft skills such as creativity and listening skills are important as well.

12 Mechanical Engineer RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For a Mechanical Engineer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a mechanical engineer. The best states for people in this position are California, Delaware, New Mexico, and Nevada. Mechanical engineers make the most in California with an average salary of $85,029. Whereas in Delaware and New Mexico, they would average $81,832 and $80,140, respectively. While mechanical engineers would only make an average of $79,280 in Nevada, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Mechanical Engineer Jobs:
8,253
Highest 10% Earn:
$123,000
Location Quotient:
1.74
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Delaware

Total Mechanical Engineer Jobs:
215
Highest 10% Earn:
$113,000
Location Quotient:
1.06
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New Hampshire

Total Mechanical Engineer Jobs:
326
Highest 10% Earn:
$105,000
Location Quotient:
1.15
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Mechanical Engineers

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Top Mechanical Engineer Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ mechanical engineers and discovered their number of mechanical engineer opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that HCL America was the best, especially with an average salary of $71,839. Engineering Associates follows up with an average salary of $80,906, and then comes Schlumberger with an average of $89,863. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a mechanical engineer. The employers include Motorola Solutions, System One, and Everi Holdings

Mechanical Engineer FAQs

Do mechanical engineers make a lot of money?

Yes, mechanical engineers make a lot of money. The national average for an engineer is around $85,000 which is 40% above the national average for salary. Entry-level jobs typically start between $65,000-$70,000. Top earners can make $110,000 as mechanical engineers.

Income potential is related to the field a mechanical engineer is working in, in addition to location and work experience. New York and Delaware show the highest paid engineering jobs.

The starting salary in mechanical engineering may be lower than a software engineer, for example, because mechanical engineers gain experience through practical knowledge gained in the workplace.

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Is it hard to become a mechanical engineer?

Yes, it is hard to become a mechanical engineer. This is because of the focus, time, and dedication required to earn the proper certifications.

While you are earning a degree in a university program that's accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), you will have to take courses in advanced mathematics, physical sciences, and engineering.

You can also expect to work long hours in the computer lab with advanced computer-aided design (CAD) software. Competitive internships are often expected or built into the curriculum.

In order to offer your services to the public, you will have to first pass extensive tests to become a certified professional engineer. Licensure is not mandatory for entry-level positions, but is recommended for higher-level leadership and independence.

Beyond a general certificate, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers allows individuals to show competency in specific fields of mechanical engineering.

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Is mechanical engineer a good career?

Yes, mechanical engineer is a good career. If you are curious, innovative, and enjoy learning about how things work then becoming a mechanical engineer will be a good fit for you.

Mechanical engineers rely on good math and science skills. As an engineer, you create and improve mechanical systems and apply practical solutions to complex problems. The projected job growth for mechanical engineers is 4% between 2018-2028.

Mechanical engineers can move into specialty fields such as Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Design, or Transportation systems including aerospace. Wherever you are, mechanical engineers have designed the products and systems we use in everyday life, from our cars to the climate control in our homes.

Mechanical engineers design tools, engines, machines, and other equipment. From microscopic equipment used to support the function of the human body, to rockets that transport space tourism.

They are also involved in testing, monitoring, overseeing the installation of projects and designs. It is practical and rewarding work that allows you to visibly see and interact with your achievements.

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Is mechanical engineering a stressful job?

Yes, mechanical engineering is a stressful job. This is because mechanical engineers are always busy designing, developing, and testing mechanical and thermal devices. According to the Bureau of Labor Studies, more than one-third of mechanical engineers work over 40 hours a week.

Mechanical engineers play a critical part to increase workflow. The larger the projects, the team, or the company, the more responsibilities and oversight an engineer may have.

Design work may relate to customer demands or releasing a product in a timely manner and therefore, deadlines can add up. Troubleshooting and offering assistance to the team means having both problem-solving skills and good communication.

The job also requires keeping up to date on the latest technology and software and also understanding older systems still in place.

You may also deal with stress in regards to your position being automated or replaced by A.I. depending on what sector you are working in. Another stress factor may relate to the lack of diversity in the field of engineering.

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What qualifications do you need to become a mechanical engineer?

To qualify as a mechanical engineer you need a Bachelor's degree in Engineering from an accredited university as well as being able to pass a state licensing exam.

Other qualifications needed to become a mechanical engineer are having the appropriate skills.

Required Mechanical Engineering Skills:

  • Critical thinking

  • Problem-solving

  • Strong math background

  • Observation

  • Communication

  • Technical analysis

  • Good judgment

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Updated August 18, 2021