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Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines.

Mechanical
engineers research, design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal devices,
including tools, engines, and machines.

The industries employing the most mechanical engineers in 2012 were as follows:

Architectural, engineering, and related services 22%

Machinery manufacturing 14
Transportation equipment manufacturing 13

Computer and electronic product manufacturing 8

Fabricated metal product manufacturing 6

The rest are employed in general-purpose machinery manufacturing, automotive parts


manufacturing, and testing laboratories.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Mechanical engineers design and build complex pieces of equipment and
machinery. A creative mind is essential for this kind of work.

Listening skills. Mechanical engineers often work on projects with other engineers and
professionals, such as architects. They must listen to and analyze different approaches to
the task at hand.

Math skills. Mechanical engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other
advanced topics in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Mechanical skills. Mechanical skills allow engineers to apply basic engineering concepts
and mechanical processes to the design of new devices.

Problem-solving skills. Mechanical engineers take scientific discoveries and seek to make
them into products that would be useful to people, companies, and governments.
Experience gained through laboratory courses at university or a cooperative education
program in college helps mechanical engineers develop skills that are useful in solving real-
world problems.

Job Duties:

Mechanical engineers typically do the following:

Analyze problems to see how mechanical and thermal devices might help solve the
problem
Design or redesign mechanical and thermal devices using analysis and computer-aided
design
Develop and test prototypes of devices they design
Analyze the test results and change the design as needed
Oversee the manufacturing process for the device

Job Outlook:

Employment of mechanical engineers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2012 to 2022,


slower than the average for all occupations. Job prospects may be best for those who stay
informed regarding the most recent advances in technology. Mechanical engineers can work
in many industries and on many types of projects. As a result, their growth rate will differ
by the industries that employ them.

Mechanical engineers should experience faster than average growth in architectural,


engineering, and related services as companies continue to contract work from these firms.
Mechanical engineers will also remain involved in various manufacturing industries
specifically, transportation equipment and machinery manufacturing. They will be needed
to design the next generation of vehicles and vehicle systems, such as hybrid-electric cars
and clean diesel automobiles. Machinery will continue to be in demand as machines replace
more expensive human labor in various industries. This phenomenon in turn should drive
demand for mechanical engineers who design industrial machinery.

Mechanical engineers are projected to experience faster than average growth in oil and gas
extraction because of their knowledge and skills regarding thermal energy.

Mechanical engineers often work on the newest industrial pursuits. The fields of alternative
energies, remanufacturing, and nanotechnology may offer new opportunities for
occupational growth. Remanufacturingrebuilding goods for use in a second lifeholds
promise because it reduces the cost of waste disposal. Training in remanufacturing may
become common in mechanical engineering programs at colleges and universities.

Nanotechnology, which involves manipulating matter at the tiniest levels, may affect
employment for mechanical engineers because they will be needed to design production
projects based on this technology. Nanotechnology will be useful in areas such as designing
more powerful computer chips and in healthcare.

Job Prospects

Although prospects for mechanical engineers overall are expected to be good, they will be
best for those with training in the latest software tools, particularly for computational
design and simulation. Such tools allow engineers and designers to take a project from the
conceptual phase directly to a finished product, eliminating the need for prototypes. Along
those lines, students who can take courses in 3-D printing will also improve their job
prospects.

For More Information:

For more information about general engineering education and mechanical engineering
career resources, visit
American Society of Mechanical Engineers

American Society for Engineering Education

Technology Student Association

For more information about accredited engineering programs, visit

ABET

For more information about licensure as a mechanical engineer, visit

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying

National Society of Professional Engineers

Typical employers of mechanical engineers

Engineering, transport, manufacturing, construction and process


companies
Research and development organisations
Consultancies
Utilities companies
The Civil Service
The armed forces
Government agencies
Similar Jobs:
Architectural or Engineering Manager
Drafter
Materials Engineer
Mathematician
Mechanical Engineering Technician
Natural Sciences Manager
Petroleum Engineer
Physicist or Astronomer
Sales Engineer

Key skills for mechanical engineers


Effective technical skills
The ability to work under pressure
Problem-solving skills
Creativity
Interpersonal skills
Verbal and written communication skills
Commercial awareness
Teamworking skills.

Related job descriptions


Building services engineer: job description
Ergonomist: job description
Naval architect: job description
Control and instrumentation engineer: job description
Commissioning engineer: job description
Manufacturing machine operator: job description
Site engineer: job description
Validation engineer: job description
Biomedical engineer: job description
Land-based engineer: job description

Greatest Strengths of Graduates Industry supervisors rated these attributes of


mechanical engineering education graduates as either sufficient or strong.

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HISTORICAL JOB GROWTH

Civilian:JOB IN RECENT DEMAND

JOB OUTLOOK*

Employment of mechanical engineers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast
as the average for all occupations. Mechanical engineers can work in many industries and on many
types of projects. As a result, their growth rate will differ by the industries that employ them. Job
prospects may be best for those who stay informed regarding the most recent advances in
technology.

+ Expand Section

OPPORTUNITIES TO GET AHEAD*

A Ph.D. is essential for engineering faculty positions in higher education, as well as for some
research and development programs. Mechanical engineers may earn graduate degrees in
engineering or business administration to learn new technology, broaden their education, and
enhance their project management skills. Mechanical engineers may become administrators or
managers after obtaining the requisite experience.
+ Expand Section

TOP STATES WITH THE MOST CIVILIAN JOBS

PROJECTED CIVILIAN JOB GROWTH

Future job growth is projected to decline slowly or moderately

MECHANICAL ENGINEERS - JOB OUTLOOK

Employment of mechanical engineers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024,


about as fast as the average for all occupations. Mechanical engineers can work in many
industries and on many types of projects. As a result, their growth rate will differ by the
industries that employ them. Job prospects may be best for those who stay informed
regarding the most recent advances in technology.

Mechanical engineers are projected to experience much faster than growth in engineering
services as companies continue to contract work from these firms. Mechanical engineers
will also remain involved in various manufacturing industries, particularly transportation
equipment. They will be needed to design the next generations of vehicles and vehicle
systems, such as hybrid-electric cars and clean diesel automobiles.

Mechanical engineers often work on the newest industrial pursuits. The fields of alternative
energies, remanufacturing, and nanotechnology may offer new opportunities for
occupational growth. Remanufacturingrebuilding goods for a new use after they have
worn out or become nonfunctionalholds promise because it reduces the cost of waste
disposal.

Nanotechnology, which involves manipulating matter at the tiniest levels, may affect the
employment of mechanical engineers because they will be needed to design production
projects on the basis of that technology. Nanotechnology will be useful in areas such as
healthcare and designing more powerful computer chips.

Job Prospects

Prospects for mechanical engineers overall are expected to be good. They will be best for
those with training in the latest software tools, particularly for computational design and
simulation. Such tools allow engineers and designers to take a project from the conceptual
phase directly to a finished product, eliminating the need for prototypes.

Engineers who have experience or training in three-dimensional printing also will have
better job prospects.

Civilian:JOB IN RECENT DEMAND