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Career Profile: Mechanical Engineers

Perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, machines, and other mechanically functioning equipment. Oversee installation, operation, maintenance, and repair of equipment such as centralized heat, gas, water, and steam systems.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 299,200 people employed as mechanical engineers in the United States. The median annual salary is $90,200. Entry level employees earn approximately $58,410 per year and senior employees earn approximately $141,060 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Conduct research that tests or analyzes the feasibility, design, operation, or performance of equipment, components, or systems.
  • Calculate energy losses for buildings, using equipment such as computers, combustion analyzers, or pressure gauges.
  • Solicit new business.
  • Provide technical customer service.
  • Study industrial processes to maximize the efficiency of equipment applications, including equipment placement.
  • Establish or coordinate the maintenance or safety procedures, service schedule, or supply of materials required to maintain machines or equipment in the prescribed condition.
  • Select or install combined heat units, power units, cogeneration equipment, or trigeneration equipment that reduces energy use or pollution.
  • Design test control apparatus or equipment or develop procedures for testing products.
  • Provide feedback to design engineers on customer problems or needs.
  • Research and analyze customer design proposals, specifications, manuals, or other data to evaluate the feasibility, cost, or maintenance requirements of designs or applications.
  • Estimate costs or submit bids for engineering, construction, or extraction projects.
  • Recommend the use of utility or energy services that minimize carbon footprints.
  • Evaluate mechanical designs or prototypes for energy performance or environmental impact.
  • Direct the installation, operation, maintenance, or repair of renewable energy equipment, such as heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) or water systems.
  • Design integrated mechanical or alternative systems, such as mechanical cooling systems with natural ventilation systems, to improve energy efficiency.
  • Apply engineering principles or practices to emerging fields, such as robotics, waste management, or biomedical engineering.
  • Write performance requirements for product development or engineering projects.
  • Perform personnel functions, such as supervision of production workers, technicians, technologists, or other engineers.
  • Read and interpret blueprints, technical drawings, schematics, or computer-generated reports.
  • Research, design, evaluate, install, operate, or maintain mechanical products, equipment, systems or processes to meet requirements.
  • Confer with engineers or other personnel to implement operating procedures, resolve system malfunctions, or provide technical information.
  • Develop, coordinate, or monitor all aspects of production, including selection of manufacturing methods, fabrication, or operation of product designs.
  • Investigate equipment failures or difficulties to diagnose faulty operation and recommend remedial actions.
  • Develop or test models of alternate designs or processing methods to assess feasibility, sustainability, operating condition effects, potential new applications, or necessity of modification.
  • Specify system components or direct modification of products to ensure conformance with engineering design, performance specifications, or environmental regulations.
  • Recommend design modifications to eliminate machine or system malfunctions.
  • Assist drafters in developing the structural design of products, using drafting tools or computer-assisted drafting equipment or software.
  • Oversee installation, operation, maintenance, or repair to ensure that machines or equipment are installed and functioning according to specifications.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
299,200
Annual Openings:
20,200
Increase in Openings by 2030:
7%
Annual Salary Range:
$58,410 - $141,060
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree