Careers with a Mechanical Engineering Degree

The ultimate purpose of a mechanical engineering degree is to enable you to become professionally competent as a mechanical engineer. But what does that mean? And is that all you can do with this degree?



Careers in Mechanical Engineering

Due to the technical expertise, hands-on problem solving skills and knowledge you’ll have in areas such as machine design, control systems, instrumentation, and mechanics, you’ll have a wide variety of employment options within the broad field of mechanical engineering.


If you choose to pursue a career in mechanical engineering, you could end up working for a mining company, an automobile manufacturer, a biomedical equipment manufacturer, or a variety of other kinds of employers.


Other Career Fields

As a mechanical engineering graduate, you aren’t limited to these options however; you can also choose to pursue careers in research, education, training, and consultation.


If you want, you can even apply the transferrable skills you’ll learn to a career that isn’t related to your degree at all! Want to become a realtor?


Well, you will likely have to get your real estate license after your degree in mechanical engineering, but skills such organization and working with numbers will give you a great head start into that career. Seems like a stretch at first, but it’s true. This degree can be applied to many more careers than it’s intended to.



Interested in continuing on with your education, maybe pursuing a Master’s or Doctorate? It just so happens that an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering can pave the way for such a degree. It also serves as an excellent foundation for a graduate or professional degree in other areas, such as law.


To learn more about what you can do with this major, read on below. This guide contains detailed occupational information on relevant career paths. Included are job descriptions, expected salaries, educational requirements and other helpful information for these careers.





What Mechanical Engineering Degree Programs Teach

Degree programs in this area are designed help you become a competent mechanical engineering professional. They do so by enabling you to gain expertise in the design and development of various physical and mechanical systems.



These programs typically include introductory and advanced courses in math, physics, mechanics, materials, energy flows, fluid mechanics, electronics, mechanical control and measurement, thermodynamic systems and many other areas.


Mixed Methods of Learning

Typically, you must participate in both classroom-based theoretical work, as well as laboratory and project based hands-on work in order to gain a knowledge base and a practical skill set in various areas of mechanical engineering.


Final Projects

Many mechanical engineering degree programs also usually involve big solo and/or group projects in the final year, for the purpose of allowing you to practically apply the skills you have acquired in the classroom prior to graduating. This final step helps you to properly prepare for your upcoming transition from mechanical engineering student to professional mechanical engineer.



List of Relevant Careers

The knowledge and skills you can gain by studying mechanical engineering at the university level serve as an excellent foundation for a variety of careers.


Below, we’ve chosen careers for our database that we feel relate to this degree, either because the subject matter relates to the occupational field, or because the skills you’ll need to be an effective employee can be gained during your studies. Please note:


• Aerodynamicist

• Aerodynamics Engineer

• Aeronautical Engineer

• Aerospace Engineer

• Agricultural Engineer

• Aircraft Performance Engineer

• Airline Pilot

• Astronaut

• Astronautical Engineer

• Automation Engineer

• Automotive Engineer

• Blogger

• Building Services Engineer

• Consumer Advocate

• Cost Estimator

• Design Engineer

• Drafting Technician

• Energy Auditor

• Energy Efficiency Engineer

• Entrepreneur

• Furniture Designer

• Heating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Engineer

• Helicopter Pilot

• Hydraulics Engineer

• Industrial Engineer

• International Aid Worker

• Maintenance Engineer

• Manufacturing Engineer

• Materials Handling Engineer

• Mechanical Drafter

• Mechanical Engineer

• Military Engineer

• Military Officer

• Nanotechnologist

• Nuclear Engineer

• Packaging Engineer

• Patent Agent

• Plant Engineer

• Plastics Engineer

• Process Engineer

• Product Development Engineer

• Product Manager

• Production Manager

• Project Engineer

• Project Manager

• Quality Control Specialist

• Reliability Engineer

• Research Engineer

• Robotics Technologist

• Rotating Equipment Engineer

• Sales Representative

• Structural Engineer

• Sub-Sea Engineer

• Technical Sales Engineer

• Test Engineer

• Test Technician

• Toy Designer

• University Professor

• Validation Engineer


Please Note: Some of the above listed careers require additional education, training and/or experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the qualifications you’ll need.



What Fields Do Graduates Work In?

Below is a list of the types of fields in which you might work as a mechanical engineering graduate:


• Acoustics

• Aeronautical

• Aerospace

• Automotive

• Biomedical

• Energy Mechanics

• Engineering Consulting

• Fluid Mechanics

• Heat Transfer and Thermofluids

• Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning

• Industrial Processes and Manufacturing

• Industrial Robotics and Control

• Mechanical Research

• Micro Robotics

• Military Technology

• Metal Fabrication

• Nuclear Power

• Oil and Gas Production

• Mining

• Power Generation

• Teaching 





Areas of Specialty in Mechanical Engineering Careers

In the field of mechanical engineering, you'll have the opportunity to choose to specialize in the design and development of physical and mechanical systems including:


• Biomedical-Mechanical Systems

• Clean Energy Systems

• Fluid Dynamics

• Heating and Air-Conditioning

• Machine Design

• Material Property, Testing and Production

• Mechatronics and Robotics

• Power Generation

• Transportation Vehicles (ground, aircraft, watercraft)



Typical Salary Level of Graduates

The salary level you could earn as a graduate of a mechanical engineering program can vary quite a bit, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your level of education (bachelor’s, graduate etc.)

• Whether or not you end up working as a mechanical engineer

• If you achieve a professional designation (such as PE)

• The amount of work experience you’ve accumulated

• The size and type of your employer

• The industry in which you find work

• The region in which you find work


That’s a lot of factors that can influence your earnings. To make it easier to determine what you could earn, let’s just look at the average salary level of a general mechanical engineer.


Typical Salaries in Alberta: According to the Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working as part of the Mechanical Engineers occupational group earn an average salary of $94,843 per year.


Typical Salaries in the United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Mechanical Engineers occupational group is $80,580 per year.



Examples of Coursework

Is a mechanical engineering career in your future? You’ll have to make it through school first! And the only way to do that is to have an interest in the coursework.


The following is a list of courses you may study as a mechanical engineering student, and is only meant to provide examples of possible course titles. If these titles spark some interest, you’re on your way to a career in this field…


• Applied Mechanics

• Basic Technical Systems for Mechanical Engineering

• Calculus for Engineers

• Computer Aided Engineering

• Energy Systems

• Engineering Graphics

• Engineering Management

• Engineering Materials

• Engineering Programming

• Ethics for Technologists

• Fluid Mechanics

• Instrumentation for Mechanical Systems

• Linear Algebra

• Machine Design

• Manufacturing Processes

• Mechanical Control Systems

• Mechanics of Solids

• Physics for Engineers

• Probability Statistics for Engineers

• Theory of Vibration

• Thermodynamics



Getting an Internship in the Field

Mechanical engineering programs typically involve one or more work terms as part of their core curriculum. This is great news, because pursuing an internship (also known as a field experience placement, practicum or co-op opportunity) in a career field related to your degree is the best way to gain work experience while you’re still a student. These opportunities enable you to gain professional competencies, while simultaneously offering employers valuable temporary team members.


An internship can also result in being hired by the sponsoring organization upon graduation. If you’ve done quality work and made a good impression, chances are that organization will want to retain you on a full-time basis once you’ve graduated. They will already be familiar with you and your work ethic, and they will save a great deal of time and expense trying to recruit someone else.






How Do I Find an Internship?

Since these opportunities are often an academic requirement, you will likely have the opportunity arranged for you, or at least a variety of potential options presented to you. If it is not a requirement, speak with your professors, other department staff as well as your school’s guidance and career counselors to help you find a suitable opportunity.



Mechanical Engineering Scholarships

If you’re a student looking for help in paying for school, then you’re in luck; our scholarships database has scholarships that are specific to mechanical engineering, as well as scholarships that are open to any field of study!


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.



Professional Associations for Mechanical Engineering

To find out more about careers directly related to this major, consult the following student and professional and student association websites. They offer career-related information, and many have opportunities for student membership, as well as job placement and mentoring opportunities.



Engineering Students’ Society

Engineers Canada

The Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering

The Engineering Institute of Canada


United States

American Society for Engineering Education

National Academy of Engineers

The American Society for Mechanical Engineers



Top Banner Image: 
Top Banner Image Title: 
Mechanical Engineering