Without mechanical engineering and its engineering achievements such as automobile, and airplanes, and air-conditioning and refrigeration, the world would definitely look different due to its significant contributions as an integral part of our daily lives. Aside from installation and operation, mechanical engineers oversee maintenance and repair of various equipment such as centralized heat, gas, steam and water systems, as well as perform engineering duties in designing and planning engines, tools, machines, and other mechanically functioning equipment.
Ranging from medical devices to modern batteries, mechanical engineers develop and test the prototypes of their design. Similar to other engineers, computers assist mechanical engineers to create and analyze product designs, run simulations and change it as necessary, as well as generate specifications for its parts. Inside the buildings, they are responsible in designing mechanical functioning equipment such as elevators and escalators as well as material-handling systems such as conveyor systems and automated transfer stations in big factories. They also design power-producing engines such as electric generators, steam and gas turbines, and internal combustion engines.
Why Become a Mechanical Engineer
Many companies seek entry-level mechanical engineers with a bachelor’s degree. However, mechanical engineers providing services publicly should have a license as a requirement in all states and the District of Columbia. Designated as professional engineers (PEs), licensed mechanical engineers generally acquire their PE license after completion of a degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program, four years of relevant work experience, and passing a state exam. To begin the licensing process, fresh mechanical engineer graduates could take the exam in two stages. Before or right after graduation, they could take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam and once they pass it, they would hold titles as engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). With enough working experience, EITs could take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam to obtain full licensure as a PE.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a growth of five percent for the overall employment of mechanical engineers from 2012 to 2022, which is slower than the average for all occupations. With the emergence of the next generation of vehicles and vehicle systems, transportation equipment and machinery manufacturing industries would open up job opportunities for mechanical engineers to design modern cars such as hybrid-electric cars and clean diesel automobiles. The developing fields of alternative energies, nanotechnology, and remanufacturing may offer different prospects for occupational growth. Salary reports indicate that the mean annual wage for hired mechanical engineers would be about $87,140 as of May 2014.
Mechanical Engineer Work Environment
Although most mechanical engineers work in professional office settings, they may have to visit worksites occasionally for troubleshooting purposes and to check their equipment designs. In most situations, they work with other engineers, engineering technicians, and other professionals as part of a team. In unsafe areas on manufacturing sites, visiting engineers must wear personal protective gears such as hardhats to reduce risk of work-related injuries. Most mechanical engineers work full time and they work commonly in manufacturing industries, architectural and engineering services, and research and development. Others report in general-purpose machinery manufacturing, automotive parts manufacturing, and testing laboratories.