Mechanical engineering is the art and science of designing new machinery. Anything that requires power to use, such as an air conditioner or a car engine, was likely designed by a mechanical engineer. Jobs for mechanical engineers range from researching new tools to designing and manufacturing products and testing new devices. These jobs can be found in the private or public sector, sometimes for governments, other times for businesses and organizations. Mechanical engineering has aided in the discovery and manufacture of many technologies that affect society on a larger, more public scale, as well as smaller, home-based technological breakthroughs.
Jobs for mechanical engineers require, at minimum, a two-year degree from an accredited trade school, college or university. Mechanical engineer jobs in the research field often require more, such as a postgraduate mechanical engineering degree. Jobs for those who work directly with the public may require licensing through certain organizations, depending on location. It is possible to obtain an online mechanical engineering degree; however, students are advised to research the credentials of their prospective schools before enrolling. Statistics show that students who graduate from a brick-and-mortar school have a slightly easier time finding a job than those who graduate from an online course of study.
A typical undergraduate program consists heavily of science-related courses. Physics, thermodynamics and biochemistry are often stressed, and there are opportunities for the students to learn related fields, such as Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM), robotics and similar subjects. An undergraduate degree prepares students for entry-level jobs, while further study means an increase in pay rate, as well as different types of projects, depending on knowledge and proficiency. Mechanical engineering jobs can vary widely, and there are many different areas to choose from.
Jobs for mechanical engineers can be found in all areas of society. Aerospace technology, including planes, jets and even spacecraft, has a large need for mechanical engineers. Oil and gas extraction companies often employ mechanical engineers to solve problems with their equipment or to invent new ways to perform their duties. Scientific research and analysis is one area consistent in hiring mechanical engineers, as is the transportation and navigation industry. Mechanical engineers may also work with centralized heating and cooling systems on a large scale, for example in a stadium or large business.
People considering a mechanical engineer career should be creative, analytical and inquisitive. Solving problems and figuring out new solutions to old problems is one of the primary jobs for mechanical engineers. Two of the largest employers of mechanical engineers are architectural firms and transportation equipment companies. These two fields require detail-oriented employees with a keen eye for new solutions and an even keener eye for safety.