Mechanical engineering technicians help mechanical engineers design, develop, test, and manufacture mechanical devices.
What they do
Mechanical engineering technicians help mechanical engineers design, develop, test, and manufacture mechanical devices, including tools, engines, and machines. They may make sketches and rough layouts, record and analyze data, make calculations and estimates, and report their findings.
Mechanical engineering technicians typically do the following:
- Evaluate design drawings for new or changed tools by measuring dimensions on the drawings and comparing them with the original specifications
- Prepare layouts and drawings of parts to be made and of the process for putting the parts together, often using three-dimensional design software
- Discuss changes with coworkers—for example, in the design of a part and in the way it will be made and assembled
- Review instructions and blueprints for projects in order to ensure that test specifications and procedures are followed and objectives are met
- Plan, produce, and assemble new or changed mechanical parts for products, such as industrial machinery or equipment
- Set up and conduct tests of complete units and their components, and record results
- Compare test results with design specifications and with test objectives and make recommendations for changes in products or in test methods
- Estimate labor costs, equipment life, and plant space
Some mechanical engineering technicians test and inspect machines and equipment or work with engineers to eliminate production problems. For example, they may assist in testing products by setting up instrumentation for vehicle crash tests.
Some mechanical engineering technicians may be exposed to hazards from equipment, chemicals, or toxic materials, but injuries are rare as long as proper procedures are followed.
How to become a Mechanical Engineering Technician
Most employers prefer to hire candidates with associate degrees or other postsecondary training in mechanical engineering technology. Prospective engineering technicians should take as many science and math courses as possible while in high school.
Mechanical engineering technicians typically need an associate degree or a certificate from a community college or vocational–technical school. Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes but include more theory-based and liberal arts coursework and programs. Community colleges typically award an associate degree. Vocational–technical schools include postsecondary public institutions that emphasize training needed by local employers. Students who complete these programs typically receive a diploma or certificate.
ABET accredits associate degree programs in relevant fields of study, such as mechanical engineering technology.
Completing an associate degree in mechanical engineering technology is good preparation for studying for a bachelor’s degree.
High school students interested in becoming mechanical engineering technicians should take classes in math, science, and computer skills. Courses that help students develop skills working with their hands also are valuable because these technicians build what mechanical engineers design.
The median annual wage for mechanical engineering technicians was $56,980 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $35,140, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $88,640.
Employment of mechanical engineering technicians is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Firms may contract the work of mechanical engineering technicians from industries that provide engineering services, research and development, and consulting services. Contracting for this work allows firms to hire these services at a lower cost than employing in-house technicians.
Mechanical engineering technicians may find work as assistants to mechanical engineers and thus work in emerging fields, such as automation, three-dimensional printing, robotics, and alternative energies.
Similar Job Titles
Designer, Engineering Lab Technician, Engineering Technical Analyst, Laboratory Technician, Maintenance Technician, Mechanical Designer, Mechanical Technician, Process Engineering Technician, Process Technician, Research and Development Technician
Electronics Engineering Technician, Electrical Engineering Technician, Robotics Technician, Manufacturing Production Technician, Geological Sample Test Technician
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
- American Welding Society
- National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies
- National Society of Professional Engineers
- Refrigeration Service Engineers Society
- Society of Manufacturing Engineers
- The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Magazines and Publications
Fascinated with engines and machines of all kinds? Well-organized and detail-oriented? Mechanical engineering technicians work with machines in all sorts of ways— from helping create new designs… to developing models and testing them… to manufacturing and operating finished machines. Often working with instructions from mechanical engineers, these technicians use 3-D design software, or sometimes paper and pencil, to make sketches of parts to be made, and of the process for putting parts together. To help determine the viability of producing parts, mechanical engineering technicians estimate labor costs, length of equipment life, and plant space needed for production. Based on their designs, they plan and produce new mechanical parts or make changes to existing products. Precision is critical— so products and equipment are tested and results are compared with original design specifications. When issues are uncovered, mechanical engineering technicians work with engineers to eliminate production problems. These technicians work primarily for engineering firms and manufacturing facilities on products such as flight simulators and control panels. Some work in research labs. Most work full time. Employers prefer candidates with an associate’s degree or certificate in mechanical engineering technology. Taking science and math courses in high school is helpful.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org