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Mechanical Engineering Overview - The Field - Preparation -
Day in the Life
- Earnings - Employment - Development - Career Path Forecast - Professional Organizations 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, mechanical engineers hold about 238,700 jobs in the United States.

Mechanical engineers are capable of working in a wide variety of industry sectors, and new technologies will create industries that don't exist today. Your opportunities are determined by education, your interests and attitudes, and the contacts that you make. According to an ASME Career Path Survey, about half of mechanical engineers were employed in the original equipment industries. The next largest industry sector was non-manufacturing employers, followed by process industries.

Evaluating Employers
Remember that there are two parties in an employment relationship. When preparing for any job search, write down what you expect from an employer and a job. This may not be easy the first time, when you can't fall back on experience. Setting money aside for a moment, here are five questions that working engineers see as important:

  • Can I expect a variety of assignments, and will those assignments provide `hands-on' experience in interesting, worthwhile areas? Will these projects prepare me for bigger and better things?
  • How much actual responsibility will I have for the projects assigned to me? What kind of team will I be assigned to, and what will be my role?
  • Will I get a chance to broaden my experience by working in different areas of the company? Does the company have rotational assignments?
  • Were the people who I met during my interview energetic and enthusiastic about their jobs? Was there anything about employee morale that didn't seem positive?
  • Is there support for continuing education, through in-house training, graduate studies, or other professional education programs?

Job Search
About 60% of mechanical engineering graduates say that they find jobs through their campus placement office, while some conduct their own job search, particularly where specialized interests are involved. You may be interested in a company that doesn't do much campus recruiting, and some companies have simply cut back on campus interviews -- you have to reach out to them. Contacts can be very important in finding opportunities and getting interviews, so try to build contacts through faculty, co-op jobs and internships, alumni, and professional association student groups. A job search is like marketing a new product, where you first determine who your customers (potential employers) are and what they need. You may have to shape the product (you) to meet customer requirements. Finally, you devise a marketing message and focus on the most appropriate customers, or in this case, employers. Think of the things that most interest you, target companies that do those things, be persistent, and follow through on leads. Presenting yourself effectively is a big part of getting hired. Try to anticipate what the employer's needs are, and what information you should provide to address those needs.

The following is a partial list of employers of mechanical engineers:

Note: Some resources in this section are provided by ASME and the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 Computer Science
 Engineering Technology
  -- Aerospace
  -- Agricultural
  -- Architectural
  -- Bioengineering
  -- Chemical
  -- Civil
  -- Computer
  -- Electrical
  -- Environmental
  -- Industrial
  -- Manufacturing
  -- Materials
  -- Mechanical
  -- Nuclear
  -- Mining
  -- Petroleum
  -- Software
  -- Others


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