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What does a Mechanical Engineer do?

Working with details, designing mechanical products with the assistance of innovative software, and problem solving are part of the daily life of a mechanical engineer. A mechanical engineer interprets blueprints and technical drawings, assists drafters in structural design development by using computer-assisted design (CAD), and works closely with other engineers to provide technical information, implement operating systems, and resolve mechanical problems.

As a mechanical engineer, you may be involved in the research, design and development, production, evaluation, and implementation phases of new and improved mechanical products. Ongoing evaluation of existing systems and processes is undertaken with the goal of improving efficiency and eliminating system malfunctions and failures.

Employment as a mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineers are employed in several industries. The highest percentage of engineers work in the architectural, engineering, and related services industry. Other industries with high numbers of mechanical engineers include scientific research and development, the Federal Executive Branch, aerospace product and parts manufacturing, and navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing.

The regions employing the most mechanical engineers were logically the powerhouse manufacturing states: Michigan led the way with an estimated 30,260 engineers working in the state; California followed with an estimated 22,000 positions. Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania were next in line.

Drafting your earning potentials

The highest paid mechanical engineers work in the fields of commercial and industrial machinery and equipment rental and leasing. Other top-paying industries include software publishers, oil and gas extraction, spectator sports, and miscellaneous nondurable goods merchant wholesalers.

Your first steps: educational requirements

Most mechanical engineers possess a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or a bachelor's degree in a closely related field. Some go on to earn a master's degree to qualify for faculty or other leadership positions, while others earn an associate degree in engineering technology. Most mechanical engineering programs include studies in the mechanical engineering specialty along with courses in mathematics, and life and physical sciences.

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