Approximately 312,900 mechanical engineers are employed in the United States. They work for private engineering and aerospace companies and government entities such as NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense. Mechanical engineers also work in a variety of other settings, including manufacturers of industrial and office machinery, farm equipment, automobiles, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, fabricated metal products, pulp and paper, electronics, utilities, computers, soap and cosmetics, and heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems. Others are self-employed or work for colleges and universities.
Many mechanical engineers find their first job through their college or university career services office. Many companies send recruiters to college campuses to interview and sign up engineering graduates. Other students might find a position in the company where they had an internship or a summer or part-time job. Newspapers and professional journals often list job openings for engineers. Additionally, professional associations, such as ASME, offer job listings at their Web sites.
As engineers gain experience, they can advance to jobs with a wider scope of responsibility and higher pay. Some of these higher-level jobs include technical service and development officers, team leaders, research directors, and managers. Some mechanical engineers use their technical knowledge in sales and marketing positions, while others form their own engineering business or consulting firm.
Many engineers advance by furthering their education. A master's degree in business administration, in addition to an engineering degree, is sometimes helpful in obtaining an administrative position. A master's or doctoral degree in an engineering specialty may also lead to executive work. In addition, those with graduate degrees often have the option of research or teaching positions.
Tips for Entry
Read publications such as Mechanical Engineering (https://www.asme.org) to learn more about the field.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Attend ASME's International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition and other industry conferences to network and to interview for jobs.
Conduct an information interview with a mechanical engineer to learn more about the type of work they do and advice they have for starting out in the field.