Summary Report for:
17-2141.00 - Mechanical Engineers
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.
Sample of reported job titles: Application Engineer, Design Engineer, Design Maintenance Engineer, Equipment Engineer, Mechanical Design Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Process Engineer, Product Engineer, Project Engineer, Test Engineer
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- 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.
- Develop, coordinate, or monitor all aspects of production, including selection of manufacturing methods, fabrication, or operation of product designs.
- Investigate equipment failures or difficulties to diagnose faulty operation and recommend remedial actions.
- Develop or test models of alternate designs or processing methods to assess feasibility, sustainability, operating condition effects, potential new applications, or necessity of modification.
- Specify system components or direct modification of products to ensure conformance with engineering design, performance specifications, or environmental regulations.
- Recommend design modifications to eliminate machine or system malfunctions.
- Assist drafters in developing the structural design of products, using drafting tools or computer-assisted drafting equipment or software.
- Oversee installation, operation, maintenance, or repair to ensure that machines or equipment are installed and functioning according to specifications.
- Conduct research that tests or analyzes the feasibility, design, operation, or performance of equipment, components, or systems.
- Design test control apparatus or equipment or develop procedures for testing products.
- Provide feedback to design engineers on customer problems or needs.
- Research and analyze customer design proposals, specifications, manuals, or other data to evaluate the feasibility, cost, or maintenance requirements of designs or applications.
- Estimate costs or submit bids for engineering, construction, or extraction projects.
- Recommend the use of utility or energy services that minimize carbon footprints.
- Evaluate mechanical designs or prototypes for energy performance or environmental impact.
- Direct the installation, operation, maintenance, or repair of renewable energy equipment, such as heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) or water systems.
- Design integrated mechanical or alternative systems, such as mechanical cooling systems with natural ventilation systems, to improve energy efficiency.
- Apply engineering principles or practices to emerging fields, such as robotics, waste management, or biomedical engineering.
- Write performance requirements for product development or engineering projects.
- Perform personnel functions, such as supervision of production workers, technicians, technologists, or other engineers.
- Calculate energy losses for buildings, using equipment such as computers, combustion analyzers, or pressure gauges.
- Solicit new business.
- Provide technical customer service.
- Study industrial processes to maximize the efficiency of equipment applications, including equipment placement.
- Establish or coordinate the maintenance or safety procedures, service schedule, or supply of materials required to maintain machines or equipment in the prescribed condition.
- Select or install combined heat units, power units, cogeneration equipment, or trigeneration equipment that reduces energy use or pollution.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Acoustic sensors — Acoustic emission AE sensors
- Air compressors
- Coordinate measuring machines CMM — Optical laser scanners
- Fatigue testers — Servohydraulic material testing machines
- Fiber sensors — Optical sensors
- Flow transmitters — Subsonic wind tunnels; Supersonic wind tunnels
- Flowmeters — Digital particle image velocimeters; Laser Doppler anemometers; Laser Doppler velocimeters LDV; Pitot tubes
- Force or torque sensors — Force transducers; Torque transducers
- Frequency analyzers — Spectrum analyzers
- Fused deposition modeling machine — Fused deposition modeling FDM machines
- Grinding or polishing machines — Chemical-mechanical polishing equipment
- Hardness testers — Nano indentation systems
- Heat exchangers
- High voltage cable detection — Contact testers
- Infrared imagers — Infrared thermography cameras
- Infrared spectrometers — Cryogenic apparatus
- Interferometers — Interferometric microscopes
- Machine mounts or vibration isolators — Vibration control systems; Vibration isolators
- Medical computed tomography CT or CAT complete stationary unit installation — Computed tomography CT systems
- Microcontrollers — Programmable logic controllers PLC
- Personal computers
- Photoelastic testing instruments — Photoelastic testing machines
- Plotter printers — Multi-pen plotters
- Programmable tube furnaces — Vapor deposition tube furnaces
- Proximity sensors — Position transducers; Radio frequency sensors
- Refrigerated and heated reach in environmental or growth chambers — Environmental testing chambers
- Roughness measuring instruments — Stylus profilometers; Surface profilometers
- Scanners — Laser digitizers
- Scanning electron microscopes — Scanning electron microscopes SEM
- Scanning probe microscopes — Scanning probe microscopes SPM; Scanning tunneling microscopes STM
- Semiconductor process systems — Plasma etchers; Rapid thermal processing systems; Wafer dicing saws; Wire bonders (see all 15 examples)
- Signal generators — Function generators; Pattern generators
- Spectrometers — Fluorescence spectrometers
- Speed sensors — Velocity transducers
- Step drive or stepper drive or step indexer — Steppers
- Strain gauges — Dynamic strain indicators
- Thickness measuring devices — Ellipsometers
- Torque converters — Torsional converters
- Vibration testers
- Video editors — Video editing equipment
- Voltage comparator integrated circuits — Analog to digital converters; Digital to analog converters
- Wire cathode electrode discharge machine — Wire electrical discharge machines
- X ray radiography examination equipment — X ray radiographic systems; X ray tubes
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — MAYA Nastran; ReliaSoft Weibull++ 6; Sigmetrix CETOL 6 Sigma; The MathWorks MATLAB (see all 23 examples)
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD software; PTC Pro/ENGINEER software; UGS I-DEAS; Zeemax software (see all 18 examples)
- Computer aided manufacturing CAM software — 1CadCam Unigraphics; Rapid prototyping software
- Data base user interface and query software — Microsoft Access
- Development environment software — Ladder Logic; Microsoft Visual Basic; National Instruments LabVIEW; Rockwell Software (see all 6 examples)
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP software
- Financial analysis software — Cost estimation software
- Industrial control software — Computer numerical control CNC software; Human machine interface HMI software
- Materials requirements planning logistics and supply chain software — Bill of materials software
- Object or component oriented development software — C++; G-code
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Project management software — Microsoft Project
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Technology Design — Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Detailed Work Activities
- Select tools, equipment, or technologies for use in operations or projects.
- Advise customers on the use of products or services.
- Evaluate characteristics of equipment or systems.
- Document technical design details.
- Review technical documents to plan work.
- Test performance of electrical, electronic, mechanical, or integrated systems or equipment.
- Recommend technical design or process changes to improve efficiency, quality, or performance.
- Advise others regarding green practices or environmental concerns.
- Perform marketing activities.
- Evaluate plans or specifications to determine technological or environmental implications.
- Design industrial processing systems.
- Design industrial equipment.
- Confer with technical personnel to prepare designs or operational plans.
- Implement design or process improvements.
- Direct equipment maintenance or repair activities.
- Prepare proposal documents.
- Confer with other personnel to resolve design or operational problems.
- Design electronic or computer equipment or instrumentation.
- Install production equipment or systems.
- Determine operational methods.
- Create models of engineering designs or methods.
- Supervise production or support personnel.
- Estimate operational costs.
- Direct industrial production activities.
- Investigate system, equipment, or product failures.
- Analyze design or requirements information for mechanical equipment or systems.
- Direct installation activities.
- Identify new applications for existing technologies.
- Coordinate safety or regulatory compliance activities.
- Research industrial processes or operations.
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 93% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 78% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 64% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 52% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Contact With Others — 58% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 71% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 69% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 59% responded “Extremely important.”
- Electronic Mail — 70% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 47% responded “Extremely important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 73% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 36% responded “Very important results.”
- Time Pressure — 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 51% responded “Extremely important.”
- Level of Competition — 37% responded “Moderately competitive.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 34% responded “Extremely important.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 37% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 34% responded “More than half the time.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 30% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Physical Proximity — 41% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
- Letters and Memos — 33% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Consequence of Error — 36% responded “Fairly serious.”
- Deal With External Customers — 30% responded “Very important.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 33% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 31% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|5||Some college, no degree|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: IRC
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$39.93 hourly, $83,060 annual|
|Employment (2012)||258,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Slower than average (3% to 7%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||99,700|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Mechanical Engineers . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.
- American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) , 1791 Tullie Circle NE, Atlanta, GA 30329. Phone: (404) 636-8400. Fax: (404) 321-5478.
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) , 3 Park Ave., New York, NY 10016. Phone: (800) 843-2763.
- SAE International , 400 Commonwealth Dr., Warrendale, PA 15096-0001. Phone: (724) 776-4841.