Starting a career in mechanical engineering: What am I qualified for? – Natural Self Esteem

Entry-level mechanical engineering jobs are for people who want to learn more about the field.

If you have a degree in mechanical engineering or a related field, a job as a mechanical engineer will help you gain valuable experience. Even as a career starter, you will gain insights into mechanical engineering if you are aiming for a degree or would like to change your career.

It can be difficult to determine what type of job you want and whether or not you meet the qualifications. Here’s what you need to know about getting into mechanical engineering, what positions are available to you, and how to take the next steps.

Get an entry-level job in mechanical engineering

An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering is a route to an entry-level job in the field. Vocational schools and community colleges also offer diplomas and certificates that train you for a role as an automotive, heating and refrigeration technician, or general technician.

These programs last two years or less and equip you with the knowledge and practical skills you need. Apprenticeships, internships and trainee programs also provide you with the prerequisites for starting a career in mechanical engineering.

Experience alone can meet the requirements for some entry-level mechanical engineering jobs. Creating a resume that highlights your skills can help you land a job.

Do you have a strong knowledge of human nature? Brush up on your networking tips and try connecting in person and on LinkedIn. Referrals, job fairs and fairs, and working with a temp agency can also help you get your foot in the door.

Mechanical engineering jobs for university graduates and career changers

Mechanical engineering professionals provide essential services as automotive and civil engineers. They also work in manufacturing, biomedical and environmental sciences, and mechanical design.

A quick Google search can help you identify the types of entry-level mechanical engineering jobs that are available locally, regionally, or nationally. Narrow your search by position and area on job search sites like ZipRecruiter, Monster, and Indeed.

Identifying the type of position you want can direct you to employer-specific job boards.

Entry-level job titles in these positions may include designations such as “Level 1”, “Junior”, “Employee”, “Assistant”, “Apprentice” or just “Entry”.

mechanical engineer

Salary expectations: $90,160 median annual salary (2020, Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Required Skills: Knowledge of advanced mathematics, statics, mechanics of materials, heat transfer and circuits; problem-solving skills; Creativity; Computer-aided drawing and design in 2D and 3D

Mechanical engineers design mechanical and thermal devices to solve mechanical problems. These professionals use computer-aided design software (such as AutoCAD and Revit), oversee the manufacturing process, and make adjustments as necessary. They develop, build and test the devices and systems they create and identify opportunities for improvement.

mechanical designer

Salary expectations: $61,660 Average Base Salary (2022)

Required Skills: Computer aided drawing and design in 2D and 3D, advanced mathematics and geometry, quality assurance skills, creativity, attention to detail

Mechanical designers, sometimes called draftsmen, design mechanical parts, devices, and systems. They construct individual parts or entire machines using computer-aided design, revise their work according to the specifications of mechanical engineers and submit it for production.

Mechanical designers create large and small devices for aerospace equipment, aerospace technologies, vehicles, medical devices, and consumer products.

electrical engineer

Salary expectations: $100,830 Median Annual Salary (2020)

Required Skills: Organization, circuit design, attention to detail, problem solving, familiarity with design software, Matlab skills

Electrical engineers oversee and participate in the design, manufacture, testing, and installation of electrical equipment. Both develop new products and work on improving existing ones. They often work closely with project managers.

Electrical engineers work in industries such as manufacturing, research and development, power generation, and telecommunications.

Those with a background in mechanical engineering may benefit from a Masters in Electrical Engineering.

biomedical engineer

Salary expectations: $92,620 average annual salary (2020)

Required Skills: chemistry, physics and biology; advanced mathematics; design and computer programming; Problem solving and analytical skills

Biomedical engineers integrate knowledge of biology, medicine, and engineering into their work to create devices, devices, and related technologies. Also known as bioengineers, these professionals design, install, maintain, and provide support for biomedical devices. They also train doctors on how to use the devices.

Biomedical engineers can work in specialty areas such as bioinstrumentation, biomaterials, genetic engineering, and rehabilitation engineering.

sustainability engineer

Salary expectations: $79,880 Average Base Salary (2022)

Required Skills: Environmental Sciences, Conservation and Efficiency Standards, Green Resources, Advanced Mathematics

Sustainability engineers design and build structures, devices, and systems focused on preserving and protecting the environment. Energy efficient buildings, hydroelectric power plants, water treatment systems and air pollution control devices are all part of a sustainability engineer’s job.

Sustainability engineers update and maintain plans, secure permits, and monitor environmental impacts and improvements resulting from their projects. They also perform maintenance and ensure environmental compliance.

vehicle engineer

Salary expectations: $80,358 Average Base Salary (2022)

Required Skills: Higher mathematics, computer aided drawing and design, computer programming, vehicle construction, analytical skills, creativity

Automotive engineers develop and improve components, mechanisms, and designs used in vehicles. You can create electrical components, program car software or design entire vehicles. They also test vehicles to ensure compliance with automotive industry standards.

Automotive engineers work in an office or on a manufacturing floor and have an understanding of consumer demand and sales performance.

civil engineer

Salary expectations: $88,570 Median Annual Salary (2020)

Required Skills: Advanced knowledge of mathematics, statics, mechanics and systems as well as fluid dynamics; computer aided design and drawing; measurement

Civil engineers design, build, oversee, and maintain infrastructure projects and systems. They work in the private and public sectors alike. These professionals oversee the design and construction of roads, buildings, bridges, and facilities, including water and wastewater treatment and conveyance systems.

Civil engineers review and analyze technical reports, plans, and other data to determine costs, hazards, and applicable regulations for projects.

An Engineer-in-Training (EIT) certificate is generally preferred for entry-level civil engineering jobs, and a Professional Engineer (PE) license is required for career advancement.


Landing an entry-level mechanical engineering job is a step toward a fulfilling career in the field.

Before you can take that step, you need to decide which job is right for you and what education and experience you need to qualify.

This article was reviewed by Sierra Gawlowski, PE

Sierra Gawlowski, PE earned her BS in Civil Engineering and is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Washington. She has worked for a private engineering firm as well as for public bodies. Sierra enjoys mentoring engineering students and junior staff. She also leads a project team for Engineers Without Borders and currently serves on the board of directors of Kilowatts for Humanity.

Gawlowski is a paid member of the freelance assessment network Red Ventures Education.

Last checked on March 19, 2022.

Unless otherwise noted, salary data is from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of April 6, 2022.

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