Mechanical Device Engineer Career Info
Learn about the work responsibilities of a mechanical device engineer. Explore education and skill requirements as well as salary and employment outlook to make an informed career decision.
Mechanical device engineers are concerned with the mechanical aspects of physics and its practical application to a variety of manufacturing fields. Virtually all areas of engineering make use of mechanical engineering principles to some extent. Mechanical device engineers provide expertise to the fields of manufacturing, energy technology, noise control and biomedical engineering, in addition to developing mechanical devices for everyday use. They also design tools for other engineers and have recently become involved in the field of pollution control where they work to develop machines and processes that produce fewer pollutants, as well as new devices that reduce or remove existing ones, according to American Society for Mechanical Engineers, www.asme.org.
Becoming a Mechanical Device Engineer
Mechanical device engineers must possess a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology, which takes between four and five years to complete, due to the rigorous nature of engineering programs and the fact that many students participate in co-op internships. Students begin with general engineering coursework, which includes calculus, physics, thermodynamics and mechanical science. Advanced classes focus on principles specific to mechanical engineering, such as internal combustion engines, power producing machines, noise control, fluid mechanics and heat transfer.
All engineers must have a strong aptitude for math and physics, though the stereotype of the analytical and rational engineer belies the need for curiosity and creativity that lead to the development of novel solutions based upon science. As such, mechanical device engineers should be able to work as part of a team. Strong communication skills will set them apart from their peers and make them more attractive to employers.
Career and Economic Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment growth for mechanical engineers and mechanical engineering technicians was expected to be slower than average from 2012-2022, due to a decline in traditional manufacturing. However, growth will occur in emerging technologies, particularly as they relate to environmentally friendly technologies. Additionally, the skills of mechanical device engineers translate easily to other engineering specialties, providing them with a high degree of flexibility in the field. As of May 2012, the mean annual salary of a mechanical engineering technician was $53,830, and the mean annual salary of a mechanical engineer was $84,770.
For those interested in creating the schematics and blueprints for mechanical devices, a career in mechanical drafting may be a good fit. Mechanical drafters receive notes and sketches from mechanical engineers and use computer-aided drafting software to produce drawings for manufacturing and testing purposes. Although one may find employment with only a postsecondary certificate in drafting, an associate degree in the field is more commonly preferred by employers. The BLS projected a small decrease of 5% in the employment of mechanical drafters from 2012-2022, mostly attributed to the decline of U.S. manufacturing. Based on BLS data from May of 2012, mechanical drafters earn an average salary of $53,270 per year.
If testing, installing and repairing electro-mechanical devices, such as robotic manufacturing equipment, sounds like an interesting job, consider becoming an electro-mechanical technician. These technicians troubleshoot performance issues, use metalwork machines to fabricate pieces, work on circuitry and repair broken components. Most enter this profession by earning a certificate or associate degree in mechatronics, electro-mechanic or a related field. Professional certification from the International Society of Automation is also beneficial when applying for jobs. According to the BLS, electro-mechanical technicians should experience job growth of 4% during the 2012-2022 decade. However, the field is small and only 700 new jobs will be created. The average yearly wage of these technicians was $53,480 in 2012, as seen in statistics from the BLS.
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