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Mechanical Engineering Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the field of mechanical engineering is expected to grow by 9 percent between 2016 and 2026, translating to 25,300 new positions. The broad opportunities within that hiring window should leave aspiring mechanical engineers feeling encouraged. Architecture, alternative energies, remanufacturing, and nanotechnology are subsets of this profession that are predicted to have openings for candidates with the right education and experience.

For most mechanical engineering jobs, candidates will need a bachelor's degree bearing the occupation's name. However, some may be able to snag an entry-level job with an associate’s degree. Hopeful managers have an even higher educational standard to meet: a master's degree, in most cases. Along with a degree from an accredited program and four years of relevant work experience, those offering their services on an independent basis must pass a state-specific exam to get a license—a requirement in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices, including tools, engines, and machines.

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Mechanical Engineering Job Duties

Mechanical engineers are typically involved in the following job duties:

    • 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.
    • 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 devices they design.

Mechanical Engineering Employment Opportunities 

States with the highest employment levels for mechanical engineers include Michigan, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Metropolitan areas with the highest employment level in this occupation are Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI; Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, MI; Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX; Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA; Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI; New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ; Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA.

Top-paying states for mechanical engineers include Alaska, Maryland, New Mexico, California, and Washington, DC.

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