Mechanical Engineer

Woman mechanical engineer welding iron beams to build a structure support as bright sparks fly from the metal
Career Clusters: STEM

What you need to know


Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering fields. Mechanical engineers design and oversee the manufacture of many products ranging from medical devices to new batteries.

What does a mechanical engineer do?

Mechanical engineers generally work in offices. They may occasionally visit worksites where a problem or piece of equipment needs their personal attention. In most settings, they work with other engineers, engineering technicians, and other professionals as part of a team.

Some of the things a mechanical engineer might do:

  • Analyze problems to see how mechanical and thermal devices might help solve a particular problem
  • Design or redesign mechanical and thermal devices or subsystems, using analysis and computer-aided design
  • Investigate equipment failures or difficulties to diagnose faulty operation and to recommend remedies
  • Develop and test prototypes of devices they design
  • Analyze the test results and change the design or system as needed
  • Oversee the manufacturing process for the device

Watch this video to learn about what our mechanical engineer role models do in their careers:

What skills are needed?
  • 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 others, such as architects and computer scientists. They must listen to and analyze different approaches made by other experts to complete the task at hand.
  • Math skills: Mechanical engineers use the principles of calculus, statistics, and other advanced subjects 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 and systems.
  • Problem-solving skills: Mechanical engineers need good problem-solving skills to take scientific principles and discoveries and use them to design and build useful products.

Watch this video to learn more from our mechanical engineer role models

What is the pay?

The average pay for mechanical engineers in the United States was $99,510 in May 2023 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A mechanical engineer’s pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.

What is the career outlook?

About 19,200 new job openings for mechanical engineers are projected each year, on average, over the next 10 years in the United States.

Overall employment of mechanical engineers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2022 to 2032 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations.

As manufacturing processes incorporate more complex automation machinery, mechanical engineers are expected to be needed to help plan for and design this equipment.

In automotive manufacturing, these engineers will play a key role in improving the range and performance of hybrid and electric cars.

How do I become a mechanical engineer?

Mechanical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. Mechanical engineering programs usually include courses in mathematics and life and physical sciences, as well as engineering and design. Mechanical engineering technology programs focus less on theory and more on the practical application of engineering principles. They may emphasize internships and co-ops to prepare students for work in the industry.

Some colleges and universities offer 5-year programs that allow students to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative plans combine classroom study with practical work, enabling students to gain valuable experience and earn money to finance part of their education.

Discover some of the courses you will take pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Watch this video to learn more from our mechanical engineer role models