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What are the Different Types of Jobs for Mechanical Engineers?

By Britt Archer
Updated May 23, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments
By anon998700 — On Aug 08, 2017

I do know a woman who graduated as an engineer and worked in the field. But she is now a Doctor.

By anon348869 — On Sep 20, 2013

After mechanics, what is a mechanical engineer going to do?

By bookworming — On Apr 04, 2011

@katetaylor: I think you are right when you assume that there are plenty of diverse job opportunities for mechanical engineers. One of my father's friends owns his own restaurant and he is extremely successful. He was able to earn a lot of money when he was young as a mechanical engineer working for a manufacturing company and put a lot of that money toward opening a restaurant later in life.

His program taught him a lot about leadership and management, however, so he was fully prepared for a career outside of the specific field of Mechanical Engineering. He knows how to run a business and how to lead employees in his restaurant because of the skills he learned while earning his degree.

By katetaylor — On Apr 02, 2011

One of my good friends earned her degree in Mechanical Engineering and found a job working in research and development for an automotive company. She absolutely loves her job. I think that research and development careers are some of the most popular jobs in the mechanical engineering field, although people who major in Mechanical Engineering can probably find a job in many different types of industries.

In America, at least, the engineering degree holds a high amount of prestige and people with these degrees are often highly sought after by employers. Does anyone know a graduate who studied mechanical engineering that now works in a completely unrelated field?

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