What Does a Mechanical Engineer Do?

young mechanical engineer woman working in a factory

Mechanical engineers often play a role in the design and manufacturing of products. They work with everything from engines to elevators to medical devices. A mechanical engineer uses math and science to figure out solutions to mechanical problems. They also build upon past accomplishments in mechanical engineering to improve efficiency and embrace innovation.

If you are reading this in a room that is being cooled or heated by central air (HVAC), you have cooked a meal today or you have driven or taken a ride in a car today, you can thank a mechanical engineer. The field of mechanical engineering is relevant in most of our everyday lives. The buildings that we live in and the cars that we drive are feats of mechanical design and technology. So, if you are looking for a career that is both challenging yet applicable to everyday life, think about earning a mechanical engineering degree.

What Is Mechanical Engineering?

Unlike other fields of engineering, mechanical engineering is one of the broadest. When you earn a mechanical engineering degree, you develop skills that are valuable in various industries including automotive, construction, manufacturing and biomedical. As technology continues to advance, it incorporates the new processes and programs into its problem-solving. Given their broad skillset, mechanical engineers are in demand and at the forefront of technological growth and change.

What Does Mechanical Engineering Work Look Like?

A mechanical engineer can work in different roles in the production or mechanical design of products. They might work as a technology analyst, too.

They consistently look at existing products to determine how they can be improved. As part of the design process, they may also conduct studies to determine how changing parameters (mass, stiffness, etc.) change the performance of a system. Some professionals work with large systems and have to consider how all parts of that system will work together. Others work with tiny parts of just one product.

Mechanical engineering is done in a variety of environments. They may work on the design phase of a product at their desk on a computer as another team later develops, builds, and tests equipment. Other mechanical engineers may work hands-on with products doing field testing. Others, still, may work in factories with large machines to apply problem-solving skills and implement designs.

Earning a Mechanical Engineering Degree

Mechanical engineering, like all of the other engineering fields, does require an interest in and understanding of math and science. In addition, this field requires some competency with technology due to the changing and evolving techniques that mechanical engineers use in their processes. As such, as cutting-edge technology continues to evolve, so too will career opportunities.

Entry-level mechanical engineering jobs require a bachelor's degree. A master's degree in mechanical engineering can help you stand out as you apply for jobs. Taking the Fundamentals of Engineering exam (FE) can help you stand out from the pack as well.

Mechanical Engineering Jobs

People with bachelor's or master's-level mechanical engineering degrees may find roles in many different industries. They may also find that they are qualified to fill many different job titles.

Manufacturing Engineer

Manufacturing engineers design machines as well as products. Anything that is produced by a machine or has parts that are produced by machines rely on the knowledge of a mechanically-oriented engineer in manufacturing. These professionals who go into manufacturing can work with all types of products from food to appliances.

Process Engineer

If you are a logical thinker and like to consider how something gets accomplished, going into process engineering may be a great move after you earn a degree in mechanical engineering. A process engineer improves the way things are done. They look to promote safety and efficiency in processing. A mechanical engineering degree major who becomes a process engineer may work in industries such as power and water supply or even the manufacturing of drugs and pharmaceuticals.

Robotics Engineer

Robotics may seem like something that will be used more in the future, but many robots currently are included in the manufacturing process. Engineers with a mechanical background who go into robotics plan, build, utilize and maintain robots. These robots work in technology and design as well as in fields such as medical devices and even healthcare.

Automotive Engineer

Some engineers who are interested in the automotive industry can work hands-on with the mechanical design and production of vehicles. They specialize in consumer vehicles or they may work with the military. In addition, they are vital in researching new types of safety features as well as aerodynamics and alternative fuels.

Construction Engineer

Other engineers who go into construction think through the details of how a home or building operates. They work with all the different types of mechanical systems including heating, cooling and ventilation in order to ensure that the building is safe for inhabitants and up to code.

If you are curious about how things work or how they are built, mechanical engineering may be the right career path for you. Earn your Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree at Grand Canyon University in order to find a job where you can apply math and science principles to process mechanical systems and products that directly relate to people's lives.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.