Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test mechanical devices and systems, including machines, tools, and engines. Mechanical Engineers work in a wide variety of industries. Mechanical Engineers are working in the manufacturing industry, the military, aerospace industry, automotive industry, commercial products, and engineering firms. They plan and create mechanical designs for new products and develop testing plans for products and processes.
Mechanical Engineers also coordinate maintenance and repair services for mechanical devices and help train technicians in how to use the systems they design. Mechanical Engineers use principles from mechanics, thermodynamics, hydraulics, heat transfer, and materials to do their jobs, so they need a wide range of knowledge. Training is part of the position; therefore, communication skills and the ability to work in a team are vital attributes for the job.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities
- Analyze problems to see how mechanical and thermal devices might help solve them
- Design or redesign mechanical and thermal devices or subsystems, using analysis and computer-assisted design
- Investigate equipment issues to diagnose faults and recommend solutions
- 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
- Train technicians in using devices
Education and Background
This position requires a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Some employers prefer a master’s degree or Ph.D. for certain jobs or career advancement.
Skills and Competencies
- Analytical, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
- Firm grasp of engineering concepts, and experience designing mechanical systems and products
- Advanced mathematics skills
- Teamwork and interpersonal communication skills
- Strong technical writing ability
- Experience with database and spreadsheet software
- Skill in working with engineering and computer-assisted design software
- Demonstrated expertise in solving complex technical problems
According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Mechanical Engineer with
1 year of experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $67,000
- Tampa, Florida: $70,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $73,000
- Miami, Florida: $68,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $66,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $70,000
- Houston, Texas: $70,000
- Los Angeles, California: $73,000
- New York, New York: $74,000
- Seattle, Washington: $80,000
- Overall: $73,000
5 years of experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $80,000
- Tampa, Florida: $78,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $88,000
- Miami, Florida: $78,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $90,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $85,000
- Houston, Texas: $90,000
- Los Angeles, California: $85,000
- New York, New York: $86,000
- Seattle, Washington: $90,000
- Overall: $85,000
Similar Job Titles
- Automotive Engineer
- Boiler Engineer
- Ceramics Engineer
- Equipment Engineer
- High-Pressure Engineer
- Marine Engineer
- Mechanical Design Engineer
- Naval Architect
- Pipeline Engineer
- Power Engineer
- Rotating Equipment Engineer
- Senior Mechanical Engineer
- Turbine Engineer
- Validation Engineer
This position requires a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Some employers prefer a master’s degree or Ph.D. for specific jobs. Several companies also need a Professional Engineer (PE) license, which requires a passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, on-the-job experience, and a passing score on the Principles and Practice of Engineering Examination. Successful Mechanical Engineers can advance to supervising a team of engineers and receive greater independence to design and evaluate projects and processes.
According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, one major trend affecting the mechanical engineering field is the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Software companies are using AI for everything from helping Mechanical Engineers select materials for projects to standardizing products or performing clerical work. AI is also showing up in autonomous systems, such as self-driving cars and robotic manufacturing systems. Another change in the Mechanical Engineering profession is the use of interdisciplinary teams. Projects are becoming more sophisticated, so Mechanical Engineers now find themselves collaborating with Electrical Engineers, Manufacturing Engineers, and professionals in non-technical departments like marketing to create a more cohesive development process for products.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for Mechanical Engineers is expected to grow by four percent between 2018 and 2028. That’s about as fast as average.
The typical work hours for a Mechanical Engineer are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, many Mechanical Engineers work longer hours to hit project deadlines or troubleshoot project issues.
Where You Can Find Jobs
- 4 Corner Resources
- Career Builder
- Zip Recruiter
- Engineering Jobs
- National Society of Professional Engineers
Are You Interested in Becoming a Mechanical Engineer?
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