The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the job outlook for mechanical engineering will increase by 10% from 2022 to 2032. This means that this career path is only going to grow. More and more job opportunities will arise.
But you might be wondering, “What are the types of jobs for mechanical engineering?” I’m here to answer that, as well as give you the know-how about this exceptional career. So shall we begin?
What Is Mechanical Engineering?
Mechanical engineering has to do with creating things (most likely moving objects) that have never been created before. It deals with some of the most advanced technologies today, such as robotics, aircraft, and microchips.
“While mechanical engineers may design internal combustion engines or build gears for common gadgets, they could also help to create devices that are invisible to the naked eye or build massive objects such as power plants”
“The distinction between mechanical engineering and other areas of engineering is that it tends to focus on moving objects like cars and planes as opposed to stationary objects like bridges and buildings.”
As you can see, mechanical engineering is one of the most important jobs to help solve problems, both big and small.
Types of Jobs for Mechanical Engineering
There is a diverse range of careers within mechanical engineering. If you’re interested in a mechanical engineering degree (or you’re already a mechanical engineering graduate), it’s a good idea to look into the types of jobs for mechanical engineering.
Here is a list of the industries where mechanical engineers typically work:
- Information technology (IT)
- Energy (power generation)
- Construction and building
- Consulting engineering services
- Medical and pharmaceuticals
- Consumer electronics
- Research and development
- Railroad and transport
Besides choosing an industry, you also need to decide what type of mechanical engineer you want to be…
1. Test Engineer
This job is for someone who wants to work in the testing field. This can include jobs in product testing, quality assurance, material testing, prototype testing, and performance testing. The main goal is to test if something is properly functioning while upholding its quality.
What’s more, test engineers are usually part of the whole testing process, from planning the final test procedures to creating test evaluation devices. If we take the aerospace industry, for example, this could mean that you’ll be testing aircraft.
2. Systems Engineer
Are you fascinated with mechanical systems? If so, consider becoming a systems engineer. They ensure that the different components of a system are integrated seamlessly. They deal with the entire development of a specific system, depending on the industry (IT, software, electrical, etc.).
3. Mechanical Design Engineer
Are you more on the designing aspect of mechanical engineering? A mechanical design engineer creates and develops machines, tools, and sensors. They’re also responsible for the manufacturing and performance of their mechanical devices.
4. Product Quality Engineer
Product quality engineers are different from test engineers in that they have a broader focus on overall product quality. They are in charge of a company’s quality standards, the safety of the manufacturing process, error reporting, resolving issues, and the final product outcome.
5. Project Engineer
Project engineers are vital to mechanical engineering projects. They communicate with the project manager about the technical aspects required in the project. They take part in project planning, coordination, resource management, risk management, and quality assurance, among other things.
6. Process Engineer
This mechanical engineering career can also be called a chemical engineer. From that, you can tell that you’ll be dealing with scientific processes and raw materials. This engineering job usually has to do with combining processes and materials to create a product. It’s most common in the medical and food and beverage industry.
7. Sales Engineer
As the name implies, sales engineers are the ones who sell products related to machinery, equipment, or systems. They need to have a very high knowledge of how these products work to convince companies and/or people to buy them.
Alternative mechanical engineering careers
OK, say you have a mechanical engineering degree but want to work in other fields. If so, here are alternative careers for mechanical engineers…
- Acoustic consultant. Provides guidance and advice related to sound and acoustics, including sound reduction, noise quality, and acoustic designs.
- Clinical technologist. Applies engineering principles and techniques to healthcare and medical technology and equipment.
- Corporate investment banker. Banks that deal with mechanical engineering projects can make use of a corporate investment banker who knows the intricacies of mechanical engineering well.
- Mining engineer. Develops plans to extract minerals from mines in the safest and most efficient way. This job can intersect with mechanical engineering when it comes to designing and maintaining mining operations.
- Patent attorney. Deals with intellectual property law. This can include innovations related to mechanical engineering.
- Production manager. This is closely related to the field of mechanical engineering as these managers oversee and manage the manufacturing or production process within a company. That may include mechanical products, machines, systems, etc.
Read More: 7 High-Paying, Low-Stress Engineering Jobs.
How to Start Your Career in Mechanical Engineering
Yes, a mechanical engineer’s work requires a lot of knowledge and technical skills. So if you want to take part in any of the jobs I listed above (or other), you first need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
As mechanical engineering students, you’ll learn the basic knowledge and skills. Not only that, but you also get to experience working in labs, doing lots of coursework and research, learning about advanced technology and equipment, going through internships, and much more.
With this degree, you’ll be able to land entry-level mechanical engineering positions.
Read More: How to Make a Career Change to Engineering.
How to Advance Your Career in Mechanical Engineering
If you’re looking for more complex and higher-paying mechanical engineering jobs, then it’s wise to get a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. As you learn new skills and build on your old ones, you’ll be more “wanted” by higher mechanical engineering positions.
While you’re at it, you can use your time at the university to build important relationships and grow your network. This will greatly help your career advancement.
To further advance your skills and knowledge (and your career), you can opt to get a doctorate in mechanical engineering. This will allow you to take part in high-level research for private labs, universities, and other BIG companies. Plus, you can work in academia and management jobs, too.
Going back to school isn’t the only way to advance your career as a mechanical engineer. Many mechanical engineers also hire a mentor. Just make sure that they are established in the field you specialize in.
With a mentor, you’ll have a knowledgeable professional by your side to guide you and give you helpful advice. You don’t have to do your job alone.
Of course, another way to advance is to improve your skills. You can look for ways to improve your soft and hard skills. This may include:
- Analytical thinking
- Attention to detail
- Problem-solving skills
- Computer skills
- Communication skills
- And more!
What Is the Salary for a Mechanical Engineering Job?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, mechanical engineers’ median annual salary for 2022 is $96,310 per year. That means $46.51 per hour.
A survey by Indeed.com showed entry-level mechanical engineering graduates earn around $81,754 per year, while the ones with 6-9 years of work experience earn a whooping $113,286 a year. The salary earning goes even higher for those with 10+ work experience.
Just remember, the more skills, experience, and knowledge you have, the more chances of earning BIG in this career.
What are the types of jobs for mechanical engineering? You can choose from test engineers, systems engineers, mechanical design engineers, product quality engineers, project engineers, process engineers, or sales engineers. What’s more, there are so many mechanical engineering industries that you can select from.
If you want to start a career in any of these paths, you must first get a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. From there, you can advance with a master’s degree and a doctorate. You can also choose to hire a professional mentor and improve skills that are related to your job field.
If you do that, you won’t just be helping solve world problems, but also earning a big fortune.