Mechanical Engineer Job Description, Job Requirements, and Salary

mechanical engineer
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If you're interested in a career as a mechanical engineer you'll need to start doing your research early because you'll need a college degree that reflects your career aspirations. You'll also want to be informed about training and education requirements, the best colleges and universities for engineering majors, salary information, and the hiring outlook for mechanical engineers.

Mechanical Engineer Job Description

To begin with, mechanical engineers design, build, test, and modify mechanical devices such as tools, engines, and machines.

Considered the broadest engineering discipline, mechanical engineers work in engineering services, research facilities, manufacturing industries, and the federal government.

Mechanical engineers also create and test prototypes of machines and equipment and oversee the installation of machinery and resolve problems once the systems are up and running. Techy in nature, mechanical engineers often use computer-aided design (referred to as CAD) packages to produce blueprints that contain the specifications for their projects. They also work on evaluating and testing designs and redesigning and upgrading systems.

Education, Training, and Licensing Requirements

A bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering (or mechanical engineering technology) is typically required in order to become hired as a mechanical engineer, no matter where you want to work. In order to grow your career and be promoted to a managerial position, most mechanical engineers also have a master's degree, or a higher education degree (such as a Ph.D.).

There are also licensing requirements in the United States. And, mechanical engineers who sell services must pass a state-specific exam to get a license in all 50 U.S. states and in the District of Columbia.

Mechanical Engineer Salaries

According to the most recent figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mechanical engineers earned $84,190 on average in 2016.

For those working on an hourly basis, mechanical engineers earned $40.48 per hour in 2016. 

Hiring Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a healthy hiring outlook for Mechanical Engineers and expects jobs to grow 9 percent between 2016 and 2016, as fast as the average for all occupations in the U.S. Job prospects may be best for those who stay abreast of the most current advances in technology due to the wide-spread use of computer-aided design.

Best Companies to Work For

Research the top mechanical engineering companies in order to get a sense of which employers hire the most mechanical engineers. When you're job searching, you can search for (and apply for) jobs directly on company websites as well as on job board websites.

If there are companies that you are specifically interested in, check the “career” or “jobs section” of that company's website to search for available positions. Be sure to check out the​ website on a daily basis because prime positions can disappear in the blink of an eye. You may also want to set up an email alert in order to get notified of new jobs as they are posted.