Between 2019 and 2029, it is expected that mechanical engineering jobs will grow by 4%. Mechanical engineers are responsible for designing, building, and testing mechanical sensors and devices. Those who work in the field of mechanical engineering tend to enjoy problem-solving and have a natural curiosity about how things work. To land most mechanical engineering jobs, at least a bachelor’s degree is required.
We’ll break down all you need to know about entry-level mechanical engineering jobs, responsibilities of the job, and some of the best mechanical engineering jobs to consider.
What is an Entry-Level Mechanical Engineer?
The role of entry-level mechanical engineers often depends on the size and type of the company for which they work.
For example, at a large corporation, a mechanical engineer in an entry-level position will likely work on a single component of a larger project or machine.
However, if a mechanical engineer enters the field working for a smaller company, then they may wear more hats and get to work with everyone on the team to enhance a product.
Some entry-level mechanical engineering jobs include: mechanical design engineer, test engineer, automation engineer, sales engineer, and product quality engineer. We’ll get more into the details on these shortly.
Responsibilities of Mechanical Engineers
Mechanical engineers at the entry level and high level are responsible for a lot of duties. Some of their main tasks include:
- Performing research and finding problems to solve
- Sketching out solutions to said problems
- Constructing prototypes of mechanisms and devices
- Testing the quality of prototypes
- Presenting and sharing results with team members and stakeholders
- Overseeing the production of what they design
- Asking for feedback and improving their creations
Typical Requirements to Be Hired
For those looking to obtain entry-level mechanical engineering positions, a large amount of recent graduates generally tend to have the following things in common:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering (or Product Design, or sometimes even Electrical Engineering)
- Seeking positions in mid-sized companies
- Are career-oriented
- Find positions in high-demand cities like San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco
- Have internship experience
- Have taken online courses that relate to their major
Mechanical Engineering Jobs
Let’s take a look at some mechanical engineering jobs that run the gamut from entry-level to positions requiring experience and higher degrees.
Test engineers design and implement tests to ensure that a product is properly functioning and upholding its intended quality. They are part of the entire process from designing test parameters to drafting the final testing procedures. They generally work with the design team, write plans, troubleshoot errors, write final quality assurance procedures, train staff, and prepare reports for upper management.
A bachelor’s degree is required for this position. It’s also common for test engineers to hold master’s degrees in fields like Software Engineering or Computer Science.
The average salary for a test engineer is $71,478 per year.
Project engineers are pivotal players to bring new processes or products to life. A project is a set of activities that engineers, drafters, and designers make happen. These projects tend to have a project manager who ensures all deliverables and timelines are moving forward smoothly. It’s the job of a project engineer to communicate with the project manager about the technical aspects of what’s needed.
Depending on the type of project and company, a product engineer’s duties vary. But, they generally assist in preparing the project’s schedule, planning resources and assigning technical responsibilities as necessary. They also help to make sure that forecasts are aligned with goals and reality.
On average, they earn $67,607 annually.
Sales engineers are in charge of handling the technical piece of a sales process. This means that they work with the sales team to educate customers on the technical and functional components of a product or service. They are well-versed in the technical aspects of their product and service, so their role is to ensure that customers are satisfied and supported if they need assistance. They also may run the product demo to convert a prospect into a paying customer. It’s a good fit for those with both technical acumen and sales skills.
On average, sales engineers earn $87,598 per year.
Product quality engineer
A product quality engineer creates strategic plans to increase output and enhance business processes. They may set a company’s quality standards and testing systems, create documentation for error reporting, and define the process for resolving issues.
It’s typical for quality engineers to progress into executive or managerial positions. To become a product engineer, most companies like to see a minimum of a bachelor’s degree but prefer to hire someone with a master’s degree.
The average annual salary of a senior product engineer is $81,511.
Mechanical design engineer
A mechanical design engineer is responsible for creating, developing, and testing tools, machines, and sensors. They combine their knowledge of physics, mechanics, and chemistry and apply it to creation. They also are in charge of collecting data on the performance of their devices and then overseeing the manufacturing process.
Mechanical design engineers must earn their bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
On average, they earn $70,964 annually.
Process engineers, or chemical engineers, are tasked with creating a scientific process to transform raw materials into products. Commonly, they are hired by pharmaceutical companies or work within the food and beverage industry. They may recommend the types of processes and equipment that will be necessary for the transformation, too.
As a process engineer, you can expect to earn an average salary of $74,822 per year.
Systems engineers work within the realm of internet technology to ensure that services are properly installed, maintained, and managed. This can include IT security, email, networking, and disaster recovering. They are experts in hardware and software and work alongside IT teams to maintain proper and efficient functioning of IT within an organization.
A systems engineer makes an average salary of $77,768.
The Bottom Line
Mechanical engineering is a popular field under the umbrella of engineering. Many companies prefer to hire graduates who hold bachelor’s degrees. A lot of mechanical engineering jobs lead to higher level positions by first gaining real-world working experience because the field is so hands-on and technical.
These positions can be found across industries, so it’s up to you to decide what type of products and services you enjoy working on and then follow that calling!