Mechanical engineering careers require creativity, great communication skills and attention to details. Mechanical engineering involves designing and repairing any equipment and machinery with moving parts such as engines, toys and drills. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), careers in mechanical engineering are expected to increase one to six percent from 2008 to 2018.
Mechanical engineers use engineering theories and principles to find solutions to technical problems. Typically, they develop, maintain and improve mechanical devices such as tools other engineers use. Mechanical engineers may oversee daily operations and supervise engineering staff. Supervising mechanical engineers are responsible for all aspects of projects. Mechanical engineers need at least a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. In every state and the District of Columbia, a license may be required for mechanical engineers who work directly with the public. In 2008, the median annual salary for mechanical engineers was $74,920.
Mechanical Engineering Technician
Mechanical engineering technicians work under the direction of engineering staff to assist with designing, developing, testing and manufacturing machinery and equipment. Typically, the equipment includes consumer products, tools and industrial machinery. They create hand drawn sketches and layouts of equipment during the planning production phase. Mechanical engineering technicians report their findings to the engineering staff. Usually, this report includes data analysis, plant space and equipment calculations. Also, they estimate the cost of labor and how long the equipment will last. Mechanical engineering technicians assist with product testing, which include inspecting machines, setting up the machines and recording any production problems. Educational requirements include at least an associate’s degree in engineering technology. The median annual salary in 2008 for mechanical engineering technicians was $48,130.
Mechanical Engineering Technologist
Mechanical engineering technologists use engineering theory to assist engineers in designing, developing and testing consumer products and machinery. They oversee, inspect and monitor the installation of mechanical projects. Also, mechanical engineering technologists assemble or disassemble mechanical systems and test products to determine their durability, performance and stress response. The technologists conduct statistical studies and prepare reports. Education requirements may include at least an associate’s degree. The median annual salary for mechanical engineering technologists in 2009 was $57,530.