Major in Mechanical Engineering - An Overview

Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest branches of engineering. It is also referred to as the ‘mother’ branch of engineering.

Mechanical Engineering is one of the major activities in the engineering profession and its principles are involved in the design, study, development and construction of nearly all of the physical devices and systems. Continued research and development have contributed to better machines and processes helping the mankind.

Another appealing characteristic of mechanical engineering is that the application base of this field of study is extremely broad and diverse. Mechanical Engineering is the broadest of all engineering disciplines, encompassing areas such as energy, fluid mechanics, dynamics, combustion, vibration, design, manufacturing processes, systems modeling and simulation, robotics, mechanics of material, rapid prototyping and composites.

The scope of mechanical engineering is expanding. Mechanical engineers are focusing their attention towards new areas of research, such as nanotechnology, development of composite materials, biomedical applications, environmental conservation, etc.

All in all mechanical engineering offers a wide bouquet of job options to students who are looking for a stable, exciting and stimulating career. They are involved with seeking new knowledge through research, creative design and development, and with the construction, control, management, and sales of the devices and systems needed by society.

Programs in Mechanical Engineering are accredited by ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). Mechanical Engineering finds application in all areas of technology. It is one of the primitive branches of Engineering which have remained forever in demand and continue to be in the future. To be part of this stimulating career, all you need is right preparation and guidance right from high school. We at have prepared a section on guidance required to choose majors from high school, college prep to take up career as a Mechanical Engineer. Take a look at all our articles on Mechanical Engineering Major prep guide.

Who should go for Mechanical Engineering?

Principally, you must possess a penchant for mechanical components and machinery and how these machines work. Then you must be good at physics, chemistry and mathematics. If the student is creative, with a natural curiosity about how things work, coupled with a desire to build tangible devices, mechanical engineering could be in his or her future.

When you embark on a career in Mechanical Engineering, you can expect:

Plenty of Job Prospects

Since mechanical engineering is the broadest of all engineering fields, the job prospects on offer for skilled mechanical engineers are in large volume and unending. Mechanical engineers are required to design, test, manufacture, install, operate and maintain a wide array of machines and mechanical systems that are used in countless industries. These professionals can find employment both in the government and private sector undertakings.

Major industries that employ mechanical engineers include automobiles, aviation, space research, aeronautical, energy and utilities, air conditioning, bio-mechanical industry. Other major employers include giant manufacturing plants, air conditioning and refrigeration industry, turbine manufacturing plants, oil and gas exploration and refining industries and the agricultural sector.

In the government sector, mechanical engineers can offer their knowledge to various government run projects in the role of technical experts and advisers. They can also work in private engineering companies that provide technical consultancy to both government and corporate firms.

Excellent Remuneration

Mechanical engineering offers a wide variety of career opportunities to job aspirants. The median annual wage for mechanical engineers is approximately USD 90K. Salary figures varies depending position you hold, skill sets, experience and type of organization you work.

Job Outlook

Employment of Mechanical Engineers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2012 to 2022 as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mechanical Engineers not only have countless options in the industrial sector, but they can also make foray into new realms of technology and even get into management and technical consultancy. Mechanical engineering is amongst the most sought after branches of engineering preferred by students seeking admission to various technical institutes.

Job Titles/ Roles

The roles and responsibilities held by a mechanical engineer are different and depend on their area of specialization and the industry they are working for. Some mechanical engineering titles and their functions include:
  • Automotive engineer: Mechanical engineers design many car parts for the automobile industry. As an automotive engineer, you could solve transportation and safety problems by creating better and more efficient engines or by developing improved safety features

  • Biomedical engineer: Mechanical engineers work with a variety of medical professionals to design mobility aids, prosthetics, and artificial organs.

  • Consulting: Once mechanical engineers have gained significant on-the-job experience and developed a high level of expertise, they might choose to work for themselves as consultants or independent contractors.

  • Nuclear engineer: The design of nuclear power plants requires the services of a mechanical engineer. The engineer must understand the fundamentals of nuclear design; know how to operate the plant efficiently, and evaluate the environmental factors associated with nuclear plants.

  • Robotics engineer: A mechanical engineer may design machines that build other machines. For instance, a robotics engineer may be involved with creating the devices that are used in assembling automobiles.

  • Teaching: A desire to help mold the next generation of engineers motivates some mechanical engineers to move into academic careers. Engineers in colleges oversee research activities, manage laboratories, and mentor students. They also write and publish books and technical papers about mechanical engineering.
The job profile of mechanical engineers can be classified into the following functional segments:
  • Research and Development (R&D): To do research and then plan for new machines and their constituent parts.

  • Design:  Responsibility is to draft technical drawings, manually or with the aid of computers.

  • Production:  Supervise the manufacturing of mechanical components and machines.

  • Analysis and testing:  Analyze and test different types of machines and their parts to ensure that they function flawlessly.

  • Installation:  Install machines and mechanical parts at the client location.

  • Maintenance:  To ensure that machinery is working as per specifications.
The job market for mechanical engineers is perennial. Even the vagaries and inconsistencies of the global economic crisis could not knock out the demand for these professionals. They play a vital role in making our future society and helping the mankind. Explore all about Mechanical Engineering Major Guide.
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