In an effort to revitalize the economy and maintain an edge in the global market, the United States has started to place a hefty focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematic (STEM) career paths. With some reports placing the rate of unemployment for engineers at 3.5% and the opening salaries for mechanical engineers at over $50,000 per year, students are starting to become more interested in the field of mechanical engineering.
However, an interest in a mechanical engineer’s salary should not be an initiative for applying into the program. If this is a career path that you are serious about pursuing, ask yourself these two questions: 1) what are the requirements for pursuing a career in mechanical engineering and 2) where in the field will you put to into effect the skills that you have acquired?
First Steps – Getting the Ball Rolling
Since a career in mechanical engineering tends to require a 4-year degree in the field, aspiring engineers use this time to be trained as well as to expose themselves to potential fields in which they may work. In addition to various training, mechanical engineering students will need to obtain skills in design as many jobs require some form of design experience.
As mechanical engineering is a relatively secure field of work in which there are a number of career options available for those involved, many mechanical engineers find themselves working in close proximity to ventilation, air conditioning, and heating (HVAC) technicians. In these cases, mechanical engineers work alongside of technicians to develop climate control and ventilation systems for new buildings.
For those specialized in automotive engineering, you have the chance to work on projects throughout the automobile industry whether that be product design, safety, or engine manufacturing. In addition, mechanical engineers can work alongside of environmental engineers and help with the development of clean energy technology and waste water treatment plans. All in all, mechanical engineers will have the freedom to choose when it comes to deciding on a career path.
What Happens Next?
In order to advance in the mechanical engineering field, one needs to have both experience and education. Completing school for either a PhD or an MA tends to allow engineers to become more specialized in the field as well as increasing their yearly salary. With the salary for mechanical engineers averaging at around $75,000 per year, an experienced engineer is able to make $100,000 or more per year, depending on their field.
Some engineers even decide to switch from their chosen field to do consulting work. The duties of an engineer involved in consulting work include: taking on small projects and providing technical expertise to their firm. Overall, when deciding whether or not to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering, consider these 3 factors: comfortable salary, multiple career options, and the ability to pursue what you are passionate about.
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