Mechanical EngineerJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

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.

Sample job description #1

Scope of role:

The Mechanical Engineer will work directly with other engineers, technicians, managers, and production personnel. This individual will perform detailed mechanical design/analysis, prototyping, and a variety of troubleshooting efforts. In addition, this person will be responsible for advancing and improving the mechanical technology used in our products. The individual will utilize working and analytical knowledge of various mechanical engineering techniques associated with form, fit, and function in specified operational environments. A basic understanding of tool design and material flow characteristics will be required as important considerations in product design. Regular communication with other engineers and technicians is necessary to promote a close-knit, flexible, and highly adaptive engineering team. In that vein, the Mechanical Engineer must also use a basic understanding of electrical applications in order to ensure all mechanical designs are suitable for product integration.

Essential duties:

  • Provide support to the design, development, prototype fabrication, and verification testing of our products and production equipment
  • Perform detailed system and sub-system analysis, simulation, and design work as required
  • Work with complicated mechanical system concepts and detailed designs to properly determine the necessary design tradeoffs
  • Participate in the assembly, system test planning, and system test procedure generation for first articles or first piece builds
  • Serve as a project engineer/manager leading all phases of project management
  • Develop project charters, scope statements, schedules, plans, requirements documents, and other project documentation
  • Manage integration, communications, scope, budget, schedule, procurement, resources, quality, and risk
  • Assist in advising management of new developments and innovative ideas which may affect profit, schedule, costs, customer relations, and/or inter-departmental relations in a timely manner
  • Assist in forecasting costs associated with the use of materials and engineering services
  • Support technical proposal generation. Write white papers to document the application of new technologies for development of new products, or improvements to existing products
  • Adequately document processes, procedures and testing using structured formats. Where format do not currently exist, provide a recommended format for review
  • Learn and utilize the Quality Management System (QMS). Update the QMS when changing work instructions, forms, documents or procedures
  • Interface with external customers as required, to support corporate goals and objectives. Solicit new business and provide technical customer service as needed or required
  • Continually search for and make recommendations to improve design and process efficiencies and reduce supply chain costs
  • Judiciously source components for new designs, balancing the trade-offs between cost, quality, and lead time
  • Research and analyze internal and customer design proposals, specifications, manuals, and other data to evaluate the feasibility, cost, and maintenance requirements of designs or applications
  • Specify system components or direct modification of products to ensure conformance with engineering design and performance specifications
  • Design test control apparatus and equipment and develop procedures for testing products

Education and experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering
  • Minimum of 2 years of increasing relevant work experience using 3-D modeling software. Our ideal will be 5 years of experience
  • Experience working directly with a customer to understand and interpret needs and specifications is preferred
  • Minimum of one year experience working on a project that used formal Project Management techniques. Experience as a project manager desired but not required
  • Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods

Other skills and abilities:

  • Build and maintain a strong working knowledge of our products and the industries we serve as well as current and novel technologies related to mechanical engineering (including competitive technologies)
  • Study industrial processes to determine where and how application of our products can be made
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Strong initiative and an eagerness to learn
  • Attention to detail and strong organizational skills
  • Exceptional time management
  • Proficient in the use of Microsoft Office (Excel, WORD and PowerPoint)
  • Ability to use hand tools and lift 35 pounds

Sample job description #2

The Mechanical Engineer will utilize engineering knowledge in the development of centrifugal pump products and their application and generate engineering documentation for both standard and special customer applications. Also, must assist the engineering department with drawing, document, and bill material control and revision.

Key responsibilities:

  • Applies theory and principles of mechanical design to modify, test, and develop, centrifugal pumps, pump components, and systems
  • Produces approval drawing as per internal and customer specification
  • Produces drawings and models based upon current engineering projects
  • Creates new or revised bill of materials as per internal or customer specifications
  • Provides product and application expertise where required
  • Reviews customer application documents ensuring technical requirements are documented properly and understood
  • Assistants in the establishment and enforcement, as needed, engineering procedures, standards, and best practices
  • Generates required engineering calculations as per application and design requirements
  • Assists and advises production in the proper manufacture of engineering designs
  • Establishes and maintains close working relationships with Sales, Operations, Quality, and other functions. Promotes and maintains flexible, cooperative, team-oriented, and customer focuses attitudes within and between functions
  • Participates in cross-functional teams to ensure continuous, ongoing improvement of processes, methods, and quality
  • Maintains technical competency and remains current in technology and changes in the industries the organization serves

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or equivalent; required
  • 5-7 + years of experience. Specific centrifugal pump and mechanical seal experience; preferred
  • Proficient in the use of SolidWorks or similar 3D CAD software, preferred
  • Familiarity with FEA and CFD simulations preferred
  • Demonstrated problem-solving capability
  • Six Sigma and Lean experience; preferred
  • Flexibility to work different schedules as needed to meet strict deadlines
  • MS Office Suite; required
  • Willingness to travel up to 30% of the time. Domestic and International to support field work, provide technical service, support sales, etc.

You should be proficient in:

  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
  • CAD Software

Machines & technologies you’ll use:

  • CAD Software

Sample job description #3

We’re looking for a Mechanical Engineer, who is excited about working on advanced facilities projects that enable the heart of our clients’ business. Join us and you’ll have the chance to work on projects at some of the world’s most state of the art industrial and commercial facilities. You’ll be accountable for schedule and technical quality of challenging engineering tasks, as you gain familiarity with the client’s expectations, scope, budget and schedule. You’ll also provide on-site assistance during startup, coordinating work activities with other design and engineering professionals and the discipline lead. Your multi-discipline, highly interactive team will successfully deliver on the design, development, application, evaluation, recommendation, and specification of engineered systems and products for building HVAC, Plumbing, and Fire Protection systems and components.

Your role keeps our company connected and we’ll support you with what you need to be successful.  Bring your creativity, ambitious spirit and extreme attention to detail, and we’ll help you grow, pursue and fulfill what drives you – so we can deliver extraordinary solutions for a better tomorrow, together.  

Here’s what you’ll perform

  • Perform conceptual and detailed designs for the Microelectronics and High Technology Industries
  • Design AHUs, MAHs Chillers, Cooling Towers, Water Side and Air Side distribution, VAV’s, HVAC, Process Exhaust, Fire Protection, Mechanical Wet and Dry piping systems
  • Support field construction efforts, including reviewing submittals, responding to questions from clients and contractors, and performing field walks
  • Perform technical and business presentations with clients and employees
  • Perform quality reviews on designs performed by others
  • Participate in the development of proposals, budgets, and schedules for process specific work

Here’s what you’ll need

  • Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering
  • Professional Engineer (PE)
  • At least 8 years of practical application of Mechanical Engineering, including HVAC, fire protection, plumbing, and related mechanical building systems
  • Strong communication skills both verbal and written
  • Ability to work with and guide designers
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Strong communication skills both verbal and written
  • Experience in utilizing and developing specifications
  • Ability to travel to site as needed
  • Proof of Vaccination Status
  • Live within 4 hours of (City, State)

Ideally, you’ll also have

  • Working knowledge of PipeFlo
  • Forward thinking, eager to learn best practices, and contribute with innovative ideas
  • Displayed ability to learn quickly and driven to broaden knowledge base
  • Ability to collaborate and work effectively in a variety of teams, including multi-disciplinary teams
  • Passion for buildings and construction
  • Familiarity with Revit, AutoCad, and NavisWorks
  • Industrial design experience including pharmaceutical manufacturing, semiconductor facilities, data center, or similar

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a mechanical engineer is $88,650 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$88,150$119,300
Los Angeles, California$99,450$134,550
Denver, Colorado$82,900$112,150
Washington, DC$100,950$136,600
Miami, Florida$82,500$111,650
Orlando, Florida$76,100$102,950
Tampa, Florida$76,850$104,000
Atlanta, Georgia$80,650$109,100
Chicago, Illinois$92,700$125,400
Boston, Massachusetts$100,200$135,600
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$79,850$108,050
New York City, New York$105,500$142,750
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$85,900$116,200
Dallas, Texas$83,650$113,150
Houston, Texas$82,900$112,150
Seattle, Washington$96,450$130,500
National Average$75,350$101,950

Sample interview questions

  • How did you get into engineering?
  • What was your first engineering design?
  • What are your career goals?
  • What skill does a mechanical engineer need?
  • Which CAD system do you prefer? Why?
  • What was your most successful engineering project?
  • What process do you use to check for flaws?
  • What is a process flow diagram?
  • What is the difference between fatigue and creep?
  • What is the second law of thermodynamics?
  • What is the difference between a tube and a pipe?
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Can you share a time you had to use logic to solve an issue?
  • How do hydraulic clutches work?
  • In what situation would you use a double pulley?
  • Can you explain what each type of spring is and when you would use them?
  • Can you explain what a cotter joint is?
  • What is the alloy of tin and lead?
  • Can you explain the difference between a clearance fit, an interference fit, and a transition fit?
  • What do you enjoy most about being a mechanical engineer?

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