23 Jul 2014 More

Where the Mechanical Engineering Jobs Are, 2014

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Mechanical engineering jobs are varied
One thing’s for sure, to start with just theoretical principles on an electronic device and to end up with a real-world solution: that takes real skill.  But this is what mechanical engineers do every day?  It’s not easy though, and this is just one of the reasons mechanical engineering jobs are on the rise.

Mechanic engineering is a hard skill to learn.  It entails research, design, developing, building and testing various devices.  Any mechanical engineer knows how vital the computer is to the job, but it only starts there.  To create a final product, real-world items such as electric generators, industrial production equipment and material-handling systems must be employed.

Jobs outlook 2014

The jobs outlook for mechanical engineering looks good for 2014, this according to the Labor Department.  Look for employment gains of 4.5 percent over the next decade, opening up as many as 11,600 new, high-paying jobs.  Broad opportunities, says the Labor Department, should leave those in the field feeling encouraged.

Subsets of the professions, architecture, alternative energies, remanufacturing and nanotechnology, will find plenty of open doors.  "One of the fun things about engineering is that there's something in it for anybody," says Tom Loughlin, executive director of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Salaries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for mechanical engineers in 2012 was $80,580.  The highest paid in their field earned closer to $121,530, with those in the lower range earning closer to $52,030.

Among the top paying industries were, to no one’s surprise, the oil and gas extraction business.  Audio and video equipment manufacturing also came in near the top of the list.  Best paying metro areas include Bloomington, Ill., Idaho Falls, Idaho and Taunton, Mass.

Mechanical Engineering vs. the world

Well not really.  But, when you compare jobs in the mechanical engineering field with al other technology sectors you find that the rate of increase for MEs is astounding.  For example: computer programmers right now make about $6000 less.  For computer support specialist, the gap is more than $22,000.

The rise in salaries for mechanical engineers has been astonishing.  In 2004 the average salary for an ME was $65,000.  Compared to today’s average salary, that’s an almost 25 percent increase in just 7 years.

Training

As most of you know, to get into the mechanical engineering racket you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree.  These days, it really pays to further your education and get at least your master’s if not a doctorate. Licensure is dependent upon a state examination, and work experience when compared to salary is highly relevant.  These days however, with such demand, a 2-year associates degree is enough to get you in the door.

"Like other professions, it helps to have some inside demonstrative ability in the field," says Loughlin. “Many schools are using capstone-type projects which give students a chance to sharpen their engineering skills, but also their organizational, management and communication skills."

While the job outlook looks very encouraging for the short term, MEs who train for added skills like 3D printing and computational design will have a leg up on the competition moving on down the road.  

Always remember to network.  Networking does not end once you land a job, it’s a never-ending process.  Organizations are great place to network through.  Some organizations include: Engineers Without Borders, Engineering for Change, the Society of Women Engineers, and of course the ASME.

About the ASME

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers was established back in 1880 and is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping its members advance their careers.  The ASME publishes codes and standards as well as other industry publications.  It sponsors conferences and continuing education as well as professional development.

For more information on mechanical engineering, careers, industry outlooks, and publications, please visit the American Society of Mechanical Engineers at ASME.org.

by Philip Loyd, Brown Editor

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