Towards A Career
Mechanical engineers work in industry, consulting practices, universities, and government research. The vast majority are employed in industry at equipment manufacturers, aerospace companies, auto industries, ocean engineering, utilities, material processing plants, transportation companies, petroleum companies, and a host of other firms large and small. We also train and encourage them to start their own business as an engineering or entrepreneurial firm.
Job functions and responsibilities range from basic research and systems design to industrial operations and quality control. Some mechanical engineers cross over into corporate sales and management positions that require scientific and technical skills and expertise.
The consulting side of the business offers mechanical engineers career opportunities in large and small engineering service firms and in private practice. Some engineers start a consulting practice later in life, often following long careers with a corporation.
The love of teaching and desire to influence future generations of engineers motivate some mechanical engineers to academic careers. Engineers in colleges and universities serve other roles beside that of instructor of tutor. They direct important research activities, manage laboratories, develop curricula., and write and publish books and technical papers.
Mechanical engineers involved in government research assist on key policy decisions regarding technology development and use. For example, engineers working with the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy, Transportation, Homeland Security and other government agencies such as NASA, NSF, NIH and EPA conduct research into solar energy, advanced materials, radioactive waste removal, magnetic-levitation trains, and space missions to the planet Mars – research that will have a direct impact on American business and the lives of American business and the lives of American people in the years ahead.
It is critical for mechanical engineers to continue the educational process beyond college graduation. Technology changes at a rapid pace. In the years following graduation, the mechanical engineer will discover that continuous improvement in their engineering skills and methodologies learned in college become important.