Mechanical engineers design and create all types of devices, from tools to engines. As a result, a diverse range of companies employ them, though engineering and architecture firms are by far the largest employers of mechanical engineers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 21 percent of mechanical engineers in 2010 were employed by architectural or engineering companies. By comparison, the second largest sector -- scientific research and development industries -- employed just 6 percent.
Many Industries to Choose From
In addition to mechanical engineering companies, automation, aerospace and biomedical engineering firms employ mechanical engineers. So do architecture firms, where the engineers ensure safe construction of the creative designs architects produce.
Scientific Research and Development
Physical and life sciences research and development organizations use mechanical engineers to find solutions to issues identified in their work. They also help improve out-of-date problem-solving or troubleshooting methods. For example, a mechanical engineer might develop a prototype of a new technology or research how a specific industry can reduce its impact on the environment.
The Business of Manufacturing
Various types of manufacturers employ mechanical engineers. Between them, manufacturers of navigational measuring, electromedical and control instruments and aerospace products and parts employ 10 percent of all mechanical engineers to design or redesign their mechanical products or to create the machines that convert raw materials into finished products.
The federal government employs mechanical engineers in a variety of its agencies. These agencies include Army Corps of Engineers, the Navy, Patent and Trademark Office and International Trade Commission. The government is the employer that pays the highest wages to mechanical engineers. The BLS reported that the median annual wage for a government mechanical engineer was $91,910 in May 2010.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Mechanical Engineers Work Environment
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Mechanical Engineers Do
- Think Mech: What's Being a Mechanical Engineer Really Like?
- Teach Engineering: Architects and Engineers
- Stony Brook University: What Do Mechanical Engineers Do
- Stony Brook University: Trends in Mechanical Engineering Careers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Mechanical Engineers Pay
- National Institute of Aerospace: Natasha A. Neogi
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images