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Mechanical Engineering Jobs: What’s Involved and What is Required?

Mechanical engineering jobs can take on many forms. Here's a deeper look into the profession for those curious.

They are a variety of career paths available for those that choose to enter the engineering profession. The Standard Occupational Classification system of the Federal Government identifies 17 different disciplines related to the engineering industry, of which mechanical engineering jobs are one. So what’s involved if you take the decision to become a mechanical engineer?

Work Requirements

Mechanical engineering is a broad category that can involve a range of different types of work. A high level description is that the career involves the design, development, manufacture and testing of mechanical devices. However, when getting into the detail of the job there are a variety of options available and this can include working with devices such as electrical generators, turbines, the internal combustion engine of vehicles, robotic machinery used in manufacturing, refrigeration equipment and a host of other machinery. Some mechanical engineering jobs can also specialize in the tools required for the job. For those that have an interest in machinery, engines and mechanical devices it can therefore be a career option to consider.

Education Requirements

Those that are interested in pursuing mechanical engineering jobs will typically need to study at college to gain an engineering degree. Courses are available in mechanical engineering and this is the most common route into the industry. However, students that complete courses in other engineering disciplines can also generally consider a career in mechanical engineering if they choose to do so once their course is completed. Generally, the best option is to study at a college that has a course that is in compliance with theAccreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The ABET website is generally the best place to find colleges that have been awarded accreditation by the organization, and gaining qualifications from such a facility can place someone in a better position to pursue a career in the mechanical engineering industry.

Generally the requirements needed to gain entry to an engineering degree course include good high school qualifications in math and science, and these are typically the subjects to concentrate on during the formative years of study. Most standard degree courses are around 4 years in length, with the first couple of years involving the further study of math and science, as well as introductory engineering, and the last two years focusing on advanced engineering studies. For those that are interested in studying to Masters level, there are colleges that offer this from the outset, with these courses typically more likely to last around 5 years.


All states in the US require that engineers that offer their services to the general public are licensed, and for career advancement it is generally sensible to gain this. The requirements for this generally include an ABET accredited engineering degree, a period of relevant work experience and passing the state exam. In many cases the exam can be taken in two stages with a Fundamentals of Engineering exam taken after graduation and a Principles and Practice of Engineering exam being sat once the relevant period of work experience has been gained. Those that achieve the licensure requirements are entitled to call themselves Professional Engineers (PE).


There are a wide variety of businesses that offer mechanical engineering jobs, and these can be found in a variety of employment sectors. This ranges from industrial & commercial machinery to transportation equipment, the metals industry, the oil refining industry and electrical equipment, to name just a few. Mechanical engineers therefore have a wide variety of options open to them, which can be a benefit of entering the profession.


The salary for mechanical engineering jobs will obviously depend on a range of factors such as location, experience and the type of employer. However, the majority of mechanical engineers with the requisite qualifications and experience can expect to fall into a salary band between around $60,000 and $90,000. For those at the top of the profession, salaries in excess of $100,000 can be achieved.

Engineering can be a good profession to enter and there are plenty of opportunities for those that choose to do this. Mechanical engineering jobs are one of the more common options for those interested in engineering, and for those with an interest in large machinery and mechanical devices it can be a lucrative and rewarding career path to opt for.


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