Mechanical engineering is a broad field that encompasses robotics, structural analysis, thermodynamics, and machine design. Mechanical engineers work in a variety of different environments, including government offices, architectural firms and research labs. They have the option of taking a variety of paths after college, but the common thread of their work regardless of the path chosen is the study and application of machines and mechanical structures. The average salary for mechanical engineers is $80,580, with the top earners making more than $120,000 a year.
Mechanical engineers are typically highly educated. They must, at the bare minimum, possess a bachelor's degree, and many engineers obtain master's and doctorate degrees before entering the workforce. Mechanical engineering coursework includes introductory classes such as math, physics, and design classes. Additionally, engineers can also sub-specialize in fields such as aeronautics, automotive mechanics, or acoustical mechanics, to name a few. As a result, work is relatively easy to find compared to other fields. Hiring managers seeking mechanical engineers should target applicants with advanced degrees and relevant work experience, as these are the two areas in which applicants have the ability to make themselves stand out in some form or fashion.
Even in a field in which most applicants will be of significantly above average intelligence, aptitude tests are a great predictor of job success for mechanical engineers. Extremely high scores on aptitude tests like the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) can reveal great potential in engineers without extensive work experience, and employers can use the CCAT to identify exceptional problem solvers.
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Rank in HireSelect:
78 out of 1,100
Median wage in U.S.:
Expected growth rate 2012-2022:
Number employed (2014): 270,700
Education level of Mechanical Engineers: