Tinkering on a computer, at a drafting table, or in an office late at night, mechanical engineers pull modern marvels out of their imagination and into the world. Mechanical engineers design devices such as generators, engines, thermal sensors, and tools. Most projects start with an analysis of a problem to determine how a device might solve it. They make prototypes of their designs, and work with teams to build and improve them. Mechanical engineers design air conditioning systems, elevators, and the automated conveyors we see in stores, or that factories use to keep things moving. They are experts at making machines efficient, and integrating all the parts into a smoothly functioning whole. Some mechanical engineers specialize, such as fuel cell engineers, who focus on developing fuel cells that generate electricity from hydrogen, and automotive engineers who improve features of cars, such as suspension or temperature controls. Math, computer, and analytical skills are essential for mechanical engineers. Often team leaders, they must be effective listeners and collaborators as well. Positions are typically available in engineering companies, manufacturing, and in research and development departments for a variety of organizations. Mechanical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology.
What they do:
Perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, machines, and other mechanically functioning equipment. Oversee installation, operation, maintenance, and repair of equipment such as centralized heat, gas, water, and steam systems.
On the job, you would:
Read and interpret blueprints, technical drawings, schematics, or computer-generated reports.
Research, design, evaluate, install, operate, or maintain mechanical products, equipment, systems or processes to meet requirements.
Confer with engineers or other personnel to implement operating procedures, resolve system malfunctions, or provide technical information.
Engineering and Technology
product and service development
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
manufacture and distribution of products
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
reading work related information
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
Ideas and Logic
order or arrange things
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
listen and understand what people say
read and understand what is written
see hidden patterns
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.