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Become A Mechanical Engineer

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Working As A Mechanical Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • $71,374

    Average Salary

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.

Duties

Mechanical engineers typically do the following:

  • Analyze problems to see how mechanical and thermal devices might help solve a particular problem
  • Design or redesign mechanical and thermal devices or subsystems, using analysis and computer-aided design
  • Develop and test prototypes of devices they design
  • Analyze the test results and change the design or system as needed
  • Oversee the manufacturing process for the device

Mechanical engineers design and oversee the manufacture of many products ranging from medical devices to new batteries.

Mechanical engineers design power-producing machines, such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines, as well as power-using machines, such as refrigeration and air-conditioning systems.

Mechanical engineers design other machines inside buildings, such as elevators and escalators. They also design material-handling systems, such as conveyor systems and automated transfer stations.

Like other engineers, mechanical engineers use computers extensively. Mechanical engineers are routinely responsible for the integration of sensors, controllers, and machinery. Computer technology helps mechanical engineers create and analyze designs, run simulations and test how a machine is likely to work, interact with connected systems, and generate specifications for parts.

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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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Mechanical Engineer Jobs

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Mechanical Engineer Career Paths

Mechanical Engineer
Process Engineer Application Engineer
Applications Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Engineer Senior Project Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Engineer Senior Process Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Engineering Services Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Lead Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Engineering/Maintenance Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Product Engineer Project Engineer Facility Engineer
Facilities/Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Product Engineer Product Engineering Manager
Global Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Project Engineer Project Engineering Manager
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Senior Engineer Section Manager
Manager Of Engineering Department
7 Yearsyrs
Process Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Design Engineer Project Engineer Senior Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Engineer Maintenance Supervisor Plant Engineer
Plant Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Design Engineer Process Engineer
Process Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Program Manager Product Manager
Product Line Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Engineer Research And Development Manager
Research And Development Director
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Engineer Design Manager Project Manager/Design Manager
Senior Designer/Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Mechanical Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Design Engineer 3.4 years
Top Careers Before Mechanical Engineer
Internship 6.4%
Engineer 6.2%
Designer 2.1%
Top Careers After Mechanical Engineer
Engineer 5.7%

Do you work as a Mechanical Engineer?

Mechanical Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

85.1%

Female

10.2%

Unknown

4.7%
Ethnicity

White

53.4%

Asian

16.9%

Hispanic or Latino

14.3%

Black or African American

9.3%

Unknown

6.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

27.3%

Mandarin

9.9%

Chinese

9.5%

French

8.4%

Carrier

8.3%

German

6.3%

Arabic

4.2%

Russian

4.0%

Cantonese

4.0%

Portuguese

3.3%

Japanese

3.1%

Hindi

2.8%

Korean

1.7%

Italian

1.6%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Persian

1.1%

Romanian

0.8%

Dutch

0.8%

Ukrainian

0.7%

Greek

0.7%
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Mechanical Engineer Education

Schools

Northeastern University

11.3%

Rochester Institute of Technology

7.8%

Purdue University

6.5%

Pennsylvania State University

5.9%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.0%

San Jose State University

4.9%

Texas A&M University

4.8%

Drexel University

4.6%

University of Central Florida

4.5%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

4.4%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

4.4%

Arizona State University

4.3%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.1%

Old Dominion University

4.0%

University of Florida

4.0%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.9%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

3.9%

Lamar University

3.9%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

3.9%

University of Utah

3.8%
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Majors

Mechanical Engineering

68.7%

Business

5.1%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

5.1%

Engineering

3.2%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.3%

Drafting And Design

2.0%

Aerospace Engineering

1.9%

Industrial Technology

1.3%

Project Management

1.2%

Management

1.2%

Industrial Engineering

1.1%

Electrical Engineering

1.1%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

0.9%

Manufacturing Engineering

0.8%

Computer Science

0.8%

Civil Engineering

0.8%

Systems Engineering

0.7%

Finance

0.7%

Engineering Technology

0.6%

Biomedical Engineering

0.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

53.4%

Masters

27.6%

Other

9.3%

Associate

3.5%

Doctorate

3.4%

Certificate

1.9%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.1%
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Real Mechanical Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Engineer-Mechanical Stanford University/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Menlo Park, CA Aug 01, 2016 $193,640
Engineer-Mechanical Stanford University/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Menlo Park, CA Jan 08, 2016 $193,640
Mechanical Engineer SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Menlo Park, CA Jan 05, 2015 $160,000
Mechanical Engineer Glumac Irvine, CA Nov 23, 2015 $159,224
Mechanical Engineer Google Inc. Palo Alto, CA Aug 28, 2015 $155,000
Mechanical Engineer Google Inc. Palo Alto, CA Oct 25, 2016 $155,000
Mechanical Engineer IV Applied Materials, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Sep 19, 2016 $150,000
Mechanical Engineer Electronic Cooling Solutions, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Sep 11, 2015 $150,000
Mechanical Engineer Specialist Advantage Technical Resourcing, Inc. Norwood, MA Nov 16, 2016 $146,090
Mechanical Engineer Specialist Advantage Technical Resourcing, Inc. Norwood, MA Jun 30, 2016 $146,090
Mechanical Engineer Specialist Advantage Technical Resourcing, Inc. Norwood, MA Sep 20, 2016 $146,090
Mechanical Engineer Specialist Advantage Technical Resourcing, Inc. Norwood, MA Oct 14, 2016 $146,090
Mechanical Engineer SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Menlo Park, CA Sep 21, 2015 $145,000
Mechanical Engineer Altair Productdesign, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Aug 20, 2016 $79,932
Mechanical Engineer Svtronics, Inc. Plano, TX Nov 01, 2016 $79,872
Mechanical Engineer Pioneer Automotive Technologies, Inc. Farmington Hills, MI Jun 20, 2016 $79,851
Mechanical Engineer Onward Technologies, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Mar 21, 2015 $79,851
Mechanical Engineer Smith International, Inc. Houston, TX Dec 14, 2015 $79,846
Mechanical Engineer Zebra Technologies Corporation Holtsville, NY Nov 15, 2016 $79,830 -
$99,800
Engineer III, Mechanical Life Technologies Corporation Guilford, CT Apr 03, 2016 $79,800 -
$133,000
Engineer III, Mechanical Life Technologies Corporation Guilford, CT Jan 03, 2016 $79,800 -
$133,000
Supply Mechanical Engineer Mack Molding Company Arlington, VT Dec 11, 2016 $68,588
Mechanical Engineer Altair Productdesign, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Jan 05, 2016 $68,558
Mechanical Engineer Altair Productdesign, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Jan 05, 2015 $68,558
Mechanical Engineer Angstrom-USA, LLC. Taylor, MI Jan 09, 2016 $68,557
Mechanical Engineer Onward Technologies, Inc. Plymouth, MI Aug 18, 2015 $68,557
Mechanical Engineer Integrated Management Systems, Inc. Dearborn, MI Jan 06, 2016 $68,557
Mechanical Engineer Onward Technologies, Inc. Plymouth, MI Sep 18, 2016 $68,557
Facility Mechanical Engineer Jacobs Dearborn, MI Jan 09, 2016 $68,557

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Top Skills for A Mechanical Engineer

  1. CAD
  2. Solid Models
  3. Safety
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Redesigned of technical components utilizing AutoCAD to improved system alignment and stability.
  • Created sub/full-assembly solid models and drawings for strength/fatigue/endurance testing of mechanical/pneumatic/electrical components.
  • Planned and implemented alterations and upgrades ensuring safety, improving operator ergonomics, and increasing machine productivity and reliability.
  • Performed advanced mechanical analysis, including specialized structural, thermal, seismic, and finite element analysis.
  • Designed major modifications of nuclear power generation plant systems to maintain safe operation and implement plant piping and HVAC improvements.

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Top 10 Best States for Mechanical Engineers

  1. New Hampshire
  2. New Mexico
  3. Texas
  4. Idaho
  5. Alaska
  6. Colorado
  7. Delaware
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Washington
  10. Nevada
  • (345 jobs)
  • (268 jobs)
  • (3,179 jobs)
  • (138 jobs)
  • (57 jobs)
  • (964 jobs)
  • (119 jobs)
  • (1,665 jobs)
  • (1,236 jobs)
  • (203 jobs)

Top Mechanical Engineer Employers

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