There are many different types of engineers that all conduct various tasks. So what is a mechanical engineer and what do they do? It is one of the broadest disciplines of engineering. They can design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal devices including tools, engines, machines, etc. Want to know how much mechanical engineers make? We will go over mechanical engineer salary in this article.
Mechanical Engineer Salary
What is the salary of a mechanical engineer? Currently, the annual average salary for mechanical engineers is $87,140 and the monthly average salary is $7261. The top 10% of individuals in the occupation are earning around $126,430 while the starting wage can be as low as $53,210. The top paying states are Alaska, New Mexico, California, Texas and Louisiana.
Mechanical engineers are utilized in many businesses, but the top annual paying industries for the occupation are oil/gas extraction ($160,450), other information services ($136,280), lessors of real estate ($122,720), waste treatment and disposal ($106,260), and remediation and other waste management services ($103,180). While these are the industries that pay the best, mechanical engineers are mostly employed with architectural/engineering services, aerospace product and parts manufacturing, scientific research/development services, federal executive branch, or motor vehicle parts manufacturing.
Mechanical Engineer Job Description
Mechanical engineering is the broadest engineering discipline which means that professionals can perform a variety of duties. They typically analyze problems to see how devices may solve the problem, design/redesign mechanical or thermal devices, develop and test prototypes of devices they design, analyze test results to make changes, and oversee manufacturing of their devices. They can design and oversee a myriad of products from medical devices to batteries.
They also design machines like generators, internal combustion engines, turbines, etc. Mechanical engineers also design other machines in buildings like elevators and escalators. They also design conveyor belts and other automated manufacturing machines.
Mechanical engineers use computers on a regular basis. They allow engineers to create and analyze designs, run simulations to test how a machine will work with certain specifications. Because they are responsible for inventing and creating useful devices they must be creative in order to design and build complex equipment. They also have to be strong in collaborative work as they often work on projects with colleagues to determine the best designs for a task. Mechanical engineers are also required to have strong math and mechanical skills. These abilities are the technical tools which allow them to build their creations. And lastly, because mechanical engineers are all about solving problems, they must be able to think outside the box to either improve a technology or create a new one that helps minimize difficulty with tasks.
Mechanical engineers work mostly in manufacturing industries, architectural and engineering services, and research and development. 63% of the professionals work in one of these industries. The rest are typically employed in general purpose machinery manufacturing, automotive parts manufacturing, and testing laboratories.
They generally work in a professional office setting. Sometimes they visit worksites where a piece of equipment needs tending to. They tend to work with other engineers, technicians, etc. as a part of a team. Nearly all work full time with one third working more than 40 hours per week to meet project deadlines. Travelling to meet clients or view work sites may also be required depending on the project.
How to become a Mechanical Engineer
They need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. A four year bachelor’s degree can cost on average $37,494 per year. Programs usually include courses on various subject such as mathematics, life sciences, physical sciences, as well as engineering and design courses. Degree programs might also include internship requirements in order to prepare them for work.
Some universities offer 5 year programs that allow students to pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree at the same time. Some of these programs combine classroom lessons with practical work so students garner experience and earn money to help finance their education. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredits educational programs in mechanical engineering and mechanical engineering technology.
All states require engineers that offer their services directly to the public to be licensed. Mechanical engineers that are licensed are considered professional engineers (PEs). Licensing requires a degree from an ABET accredited engineering program, four years of relevant experience, and passing a state exam. Graduates can begin the licensure process by taking a fundamentals of engineering exam right after graduation. After gaining experience they can then take the second exam which is a principles and practice of engineering exam. If they pass they can become PEs. There are states that require mechanical engineers to take continuing education courses every year to renew their licenses. Most states recognize licenses from other states as long as the other state’s requirements meet or exceed their own.
By 2022 employment opportunities for mechanical engineers is projected to grow 5% by 2022 which is slower than average for all other occupations. Those that stay informed regarding recent advances will fare the best. Because mechanical engineers can work in a variety of industries their growth rate will differ based on the industries that employ them.
They can expect to experience faster than average growth in architectural, engineering, or related services because people continue to contract work from these firms. They will also be in demand in manufacturing, especially transportation and machinery. They will be needed to design the next generation of vehicles like hybrid cars and clean diesel automobiles. Machinery will also continue to rise in demand as they replace more and more humans in many different industries. Mechanical engineers can also expect faster than normal growth in oil/gas extraction because of their knowledge in thermal energy. In addition, mechanical engineers tend to work in the newest industrial ventures, so as the popularity of alternative energies, remanufacturing, and nanotechnology grows so too will the demand for their skill sets.
Drafters turn engineers’ and architects’ designs into technical drawings and plans with the use of software. They can specialize in architectural, civil, electrical, or mechanical drafting. They mostly work in an office on computers, but they may occasionally need to visit job sites to collaborate with architects or engineers. Most work full time. Average annual wage is $49,630.
Materials engineers design, process, and test materials to create various products like computer chips or golf clubs or aircraft wings. They work with all types of materials including metals, ceramics, plastics, composites, and others to make new materials that meet certain requirements. They tend to work in offices with computers and other design equipment. Materials engineers typically work full time and even overtime if necessary. Average annual wage is $85,150.