What Can You Do With A Mechanical Engineering Degree?

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How do you know you want to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering? If you are interested in how machines work, including how they are designed and created, you just might be interested in a career in mechanical engineering. If you want to know how to make an engine roar, how to invent a revolutionary automobile design, or how to repair engines and other machinery, consider exploring mechanical engineering programs of trade schools and colleges.

In What Areas of Mechanical Engineering Can I Work?

People who go on to earn certificates and/or degrees in mechanical engineering qualify to work in a variety of fields, not just necessarily the automotive industry. Some of these industries with career opportunities for mechanical engineering majors are listed here.

Aerospace – involves everything from researching and designing to manufacturing and performing regular maintenance on aircraft; government, public, or private positions

Construction – involves designing and manually erecting buildings in addition to designing newer, more efficient systems for buildings (i.e., heating/cooling systems)

Consumer goods – involves the manufacturing of products used by society (i.e., household cleaning supplies and solutions)

Rail – involves everything from researching and designing to manufacturing and performing regular maintenance on trains, monorails, their electronic systems, and rails on which they travel

Utilities – assists in the providing of healthy resources such as clean water, developing more efficient waste management procedures and power production techniques

How can I get a Degree in Mechanical Engineering?

You can earn a mechanical engineering degree by attending a higher education facility such as a trade school or college. The best time to begin searching for schools with highly-rated engineering programs is during the early months of your senior year of high school. Always be sure to apply to at least three schools so that you have options to choose from. You will find just a few schools to get your search started right here.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is at the top of QS World University Rankings for Mechanical Engineering. This private research university is located in Cambridge and offers one of the best-known engineering programs in the world. Students who are admitted into the mechanical engineering program not only learn the ins and outs of mechanics; professors also help students hone skills in communications, problem solving, design, and more. Undergraduate students even have options available to explore ocean engineering, as well. The university also offers outstanding graduate programs to further enhance its students’ qualifications for jobs in the mechanical engineering field.

Imperial College London in London, England, falls in at number 7 on the list of schools with top mechanical engineering departments. It is a public school that was established in 1907 and provides students with excellent research opportunities. In one of the most popular cities in the world, you can study as an undergraduate or even earn a masters degree in engineering while learning to create practical solutions based on research experience to prepare you for an esteemed career in the field of mechanical engineering.

The University of Tokyo in Japan directly follows Imperial College London at number 8 on the list for mechanical engineering programs. It offers its students a program like no other, offering courses like Molecular Thermo-Fluid Engineering and Fluid Structure Interaction–Modeling and Design. Courses at the school are taught in both Japanese and English in order to provide even more students the opportunity to learn at one of the highest-rated schools in the country.

What Careers can I Find in Mechanical Engineering?

As listed above, there are many areas of work that need people with mechanical engineering degrees to function properly. With a degree in this field, many opportunities will become available to you. Some of these career paths are described here.

Entry Level Careers in Mechanical Engineering

Below are some of the many entry level positions for people with knowledge in mechanical engineering to get their feet in the door.

Hydrological Technician

Hydrological technicians assist hydrologists by gathering samples and data of water from designated areas for testing. They also file research and test results as well as occasionally performing maintenance on machinery among other things. They possess great communication and organizational skills in order to work for and present data to hydrologists.

Hydrological technicians can earn a starting salary of around $30,000.

Aerospace Engineer

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If you are particularly interested in working with airplanes or any other form of aircraft, then perhaps an entry level position as an aerospace engineer may be the perfect fit for you. Not only do aerospace engineers design airplanes and helicopters, but they also design missiles, satellites, and other spacecraft. Aerospace Engineers pay close attention to detail and have accurate depth perception and coordination skills for designing and testing products and good communication skills for working together on projects. They are also expert researchers in their field.

Entry level aerospace engineers may earn between $40,000 to over $65,000.

Mechanical Engineer

A Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering is required to obtain this position, no experience necessary (though research learning experience is a plus). Mechanical engineers often perform routine quality control checks and inspections of products in addition to assisting in their designs. They are also responsible for documenting progress during everything from the designing to the testing process of each product.

Mechanical engineers are capable of earning salaries over $47,000 to start.

Advanced Careers in Mechanical Engineering

Here is where you will find a sample of career paths to travel once you achieve a masters degree or doctoral degree or sufficient experience in the field of mechanical engineering.


Hydrologists study the quality of water both on the earth’s surface and underground. They also focus its distribution and the ways in which it flows both under and above ground level. Hydrologists may be employed by power plants, sewage treatment plants, and even the government in order to preserve and provide quality water protection and disposal services. Therefore, it is imperative that hydrologists have sufficient knowledge in engineering and mathematics as well as experience with designing and working with equipment. Communication is a crucial quality possessed by hydrologists, as well.

Hydrologists can make an average of over $74,000 a year.

Reservoir Engineer

To become a reservoir engineer, you need to earn a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering or a similar engineering field. Reservoir engineers use technology to determine the location of fossil fuel reservoirs underground. A background in geology and engineering is crucial, as is a license granted by the state in which the reservoir engineer works. Communication skills need to be strong in order to converse with and instruct fellow engineers and drillers so as not to accidentally slip up and dig in the wrong spot.

Reservoir engineers are capable of making over $120,000 annually.

Where Can I Work if I Have a Mechanical Engineering Degree?

Companies all over the world are in search of people who possess degrees in mechanical engineering. From airports and space stations to waste management companies, job opportunities for people with mechanical engineering degrees are sprinkled all over the place. Just a few companies that hire people with this type of degree are listed below.

Paulsson, Inc. – around since 1977, located in various countries including Kuwait and Oman; seismology company; hires mechanical engineers, geophysicists, software engineers, etc.

Northrop Grumman – global security company; hires positions for aerospace engineers, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, etc.

The Aerospace Corporation – began in 1960; provides national security space programs with both technological and scientific research and advisory services; hires positions for aerospace technicians, aerospace engineers, mechanical engineers, etc.

NASA – founded in 1958; National Aeronautics and Space Administration for civilians; hires various types of engineers and technicians

Mechanical engineering encompasses a wide variety of career paths. There are many things you can do with a mechanical engineering degree, only some of which are explored here. Continue to research your options, pick a school that works best for you, and find a job doing what you love in mechanical engineering.

Author: Rose Boettinger

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