The courses in the Engineering Pathway can be found in the Program Sequence Page
What Mechanical Engineers Do
Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices, including tools, engines, and machines.
Mechanical engineers typically do the following:
- Analyze problems to see how mechanical and thermal devices might help solve a particular problem
- Design or redesign mechanical and thermal devices or subsystems, using analysis and computer-aided design
- Investigate equipment failures or difficulties to diagnose faulty operation and to recommend remedies
- Develop and test prototypes of devices they design
- Analyze the test results and change the design or system as needed
- Oversee the manufacturing process for the device
Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering fields. Mechanical engineers design and oversee the manufacture of many products ranging from medical devices to new batteries.
Mechanical engineers design power-producing machines, such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, steam and gas turbines, and power-using machines, such as refrigeration and air-conditioning systems.
Mechanical engineers design other machines inside buildings, such as elevators and escalators. They also design material-handling systems, such as conveyor systems and automated transfer stations.
Like other engineers, mechanical engineers use computers extensively. Mechanical engineers are routinely responsible for the integration of sensors, controllers, and machinery. Computer technology helps mechanical engineers create and analyze designs, run simulations and test how a machine is likely to work, interact with connected systems, and generate specifications for parts.
The following are examples of types of mechanical engineers:
Auto research engineers seek to improve the performance of cars. These engineers work to improve traditional features of cars such as suspension, and they also work on aerodynamics and new possible fuels.
Heating and cooling systems engineers work to create and maintain environmental systems wherever temperatures and humidity must be kept within certain limits. They develop such systems for airplanes, trains, cars, schools, and even computer rooms.
Robotic engineers plan, build, and maintain robots. These engineers plan how robots will use sensors for detecting things based on light or smell, and they design how these sensors will fit into the designs of the robots.
- 2020 Median Pay: $90,160 per year, $43.35 per hour
- Typical Entry-Level Education: Bachelor's degree
- Work Experience in a Related Occupation: None
- On-the-job Training: None
- Number of Jobs, 2020: 299,200
- Job Outlook, 2020-30: 7% (As fast as average)
- Employment Change, 2020-30: 20,900
Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices.
Mechanical engineers generally work in offices. They may occasionally visit worksites where a problem or piece of equipment needs their personal attention. Mechanical engineers work mostly in engineering services, research and development, and manufacturing.
Mechanical engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. All states and the District of Columbia require mechanical engineers who sell services to the public to be licensed.
The median annual wage for mechanical engineers was $90,160 in May 2020.
The employment of mechanical engineers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
About 20,200 openings for mechanical engineers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for mechanical engineers.
Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of mechanical engineers with similar occupations.
Learn more about mechanical engineers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Preschool Teachers, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/mechanical-engineers.htm (visited March 102 2022).
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Some careers in this field will require a bachelor's degree.
- TVCC's AA degrees are fully transferable to public universities in Texas. See an academic advisor or TVCC's university transfer webpage for more information on this transfer opportunity.
- Many of TVCC's AAS degrees lead to an online Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) degree with participating universities. See an academic advisor or the BAAS transfer website for more information on this transfer opportunity.