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Mechanical Engineers picture    Mechanical Engineers image

Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical engineers research, design and develop machines, tools and a wide array of mechanical devices and components. Some of the devices and equipment mechanical engineers may work with are surgical instruments, robots, elevators, and refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment. They also design tools utilized in other engineering fields.

Mechanical engineers oversee the installation, repair, maintenance and operation of various types of equipment including centralized heat, water, gas and steam systems. Many mechanical engineers work in manufacturing. They also work in maintenance and technical sales. Mechanical engineers usually have a specialty area. Some mechanical engineers specialize in a particular industry.

Some common job titles include design engineer, process engineer, mechanical design engineer, chassis systems engineer, product engineer, systems engineer and design maintenance engineer.

Responsibilities

  • Perform research that tests and analyzes the feasibility, design, operation and performance of systems, equipment and components
  • Study and interpret technical drawings, blueprints and schematics
  • Recommend design modifications to fix system or machine malfunctions
  • Help drafters in preparing the structural design of products utilizing computer-assisted design or drafting tools
  • Investigate equipment failures and problems and make diagnosis and recommendations to maintenance staff members
  • Consult with other engineers and other personnel to implement operating procedures and resolve system malfunctions
  • Specify system components or oversee modifications of products to ensure they conform with engineering design and performance specifications
  • Develop, coordinate and monitor the various aspects of production

Job Characteristics

Mechanical engineers should have good problem solving skills. They often work as part of a team. Good written and oral communications skills are beneficial for the occupation. A mechanical engineer should be creative, curious and innovative.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted a 6 percent employment growth for mechanical engineers from 2008 to 2018 which is slower than the average for all occupations. Some new employment opportunities may be created from the effects of emerging technologies in material science, biotechnology and nanotechnology.

In 2008 the median annual earnings for mechanical engineers was $74,920. The highest paid 10 percent earned $114,740.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Most mechanical engineer jobs require at least a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. Some mechanical engineers earn an advanced degree in a specialized engineering field or in business administration.

Most mechanical engineering programs include a heavy course load in geometry, algebra, calculus and trigonometry. Science courses are also included in the programs. Computer programming and computer applications courses are beneficial.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology provides accreditation for college and university engineering programs. In addition, professional certification can be beneficial when looking for a job.

Every state requires licensure for engineers that offer their services directly to the public. Licensure typically requires a degree from an ABET accredited engineering program, four years of relevant work experience and passing a state examination.

Resources

Major Employers

The top employers are machine manufacturers, primary and fabricated materials manufacturers, electrical and transportation equipment manufacturers and consulting firms.

Schools for Mechanical Engineers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Mechanical Engineers Skills

Below are the skills needed to be mechanical engineers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Reading Comprehension3.884.88
Active Listening3.884
Mathematics3.884.88
Science3.884.62
Critical Thinking3.884.25

Mechanical Engineers Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be mechanical engineers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Oral Comprehension44.88
Information Ordering44.38
Written Comprehension44.75
Problem Sensitivity3.884.12
Deductive Reasoning3.884.88

Mechanical Engineers Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be mechanical engineers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Engineering and Technology4.896.08
Mathematics4.685.51
Design4.595.87
Mechanical4.365.46
Physics4.355.08

Mechanical Engineers Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being mechanical engineers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Interacting With Computers4.543.99
Making Decisions and Solving Problems4.44.64
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates4.264.84
Analyzing Data or Information4.24.62
Getting Information4.174.29

Mechanical Engineers Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being mechanical engineers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work StyleImportance
Analytical Thinking4.78
Attention to Detail4.73
Innovation4.64
Dependability4.49
Integrity4.45

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Mechanical Engineers

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Mechanical Engineers jobs , as of 2017

   
Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn33,100 $94,690
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim8,920 $101,080
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land7,530 $113,480
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington5,380 $104,310
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue5,050 $100,110
Columbus4,870 $83,690
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara4,210 $125,940
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis4,160 $80,750
Grand Rapids-Wyoming3,750 $72,920
San Diego-Carlsbad3,640 $93,590

Compare Total Employment & Salaries for Mechanical Engineers

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to mechanical engineers

Source : 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 22.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Mechanical Engineers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.