Every year, a stream of mechanical engineering graduates complete their bachelor’s program and enter the workforce excited to start their mechanical engineering career. The reason is clear – this is one of the most in-demand engineering disciplines around the world. Building a mechanical engineering career will surely put you on the right path towards career success.
In addition to that, the mechanical engineering starting salary is one of the highest within all engineering careers. The more training a mechanical engineer receives, the more annual salary he or she can expect. And the more skilled a mechanical engineer is, the more he or she can negotiate their starting salary.
Now if you've earned a bachelor’s degree in the best mechanical engineering schools, does it mean you have more chance of getting hired? That's mostly not the case, some employers don’t care where you got your education from as long as you have the skills and motivation to perform your job well.
There are also businesses that require their mechanical engineers to have a master's or a Ph.D. degree, or they might have some other specific requirements. If you wish to grow and improve your mechanical engineering skills, please keep in mind there is also a wide range of public education programs that can help you out.
The mechanical engineering starting salary also depends on the location, state, or country you reside in; according to statistics, Alaska has the best-paying positions followed by the District of Columbia. You can also make a decent mechanical engineering salary starting in Texas and California.
Before we talk about the top three jobs for the highest Mechanical Engineer salary, you must first understand and review what is expected of you once you get hired into a company and how to develop your skills so that your mechanical engineering career path takes you to the highest levels.
To make things easier, We've listed down some of the most common duties and responsibilities that many companies expect their mechanical engineers to undertake throughout an average workday.
Duties and responsibilities of a mechanical engineer
To build a strong mechanical engineering career, you are expected to conduct research tasks, build and test mechanical devices and tools, design and develop mechanical systems, and understand how manufacturing equipment and machines work.
As for its research part, a mechanical engineer analyzes issues relating to mechanical devices and tools. They are also the ones responsible for making sure these tools and devices function to complete projects on time and produce acceptable results.
A mechanical engineer also acts as a process engineer, for example, they take care of the manufacturing processes for many of the company’s products. Which, to exemplify, could include engine parts or medical devices. They are also responsible for designing the parts and components that are to be manufactured. You can expect such responsibilities in various fields and industries, including construction, energy, electricity, machinery, aerospace, gas, and so on.
You can build a mechanical engineering career in almost every industry out there, from making elevators and escalators work to designing systems that dispense ice-cream, to creating parts that are used in a space shuttle. If you want to secure a great mechanical engineering job, then you should be a bit computer savvy, you might even be asked to get involved in control systems programming and software-based solutions. But regarding salaries, the average of the top 25% mechanical engineering salaries was reported to be $110,520 in 2017. The average of the lowest 25% in the same year was $69,410. This is very encouraging for people who search for employment within the field; regardless of your university and state you live in, you can land a good job.
Mechanical engineers can also wear different hats on the job. Some can become systems or engineering managers. Others can become senior designers or drafters. Some others choose to become materials engineers, mathematicians, mechanical technicians, and natural sciences managers to name a few.
One of the companies that have continued hiring mechanical engineers, despite the coronavirus pandemic is Tesla. Focus your job search on finding such organizations that didn’t stop hiring due to the 2020 global economic instability.
If you are looking at how much you can get paid from companies who hire Mechanical Engineering positions, here is some data we've gathered for you based on non-managerial positions in the U.S. You can also explore the best mechanical engineering schools in the USA if you’re interested.
The Top 3 Highest Mechanical Engineer Salary are:
1. Mechanical Design Engineer
The primary roles and responsibilities of a mechanical design engineer include; researching, testing, designing, manufacturing, and developing machines, engines, tools, and devices. A mechanical design engineer plays a major role in the production process because they take charge of the machines used to run the project smoothly and at its optimum level.
In other aspects, a mechanical design engineer can be considered a process or project manager. They look after the company’s resources, including its workforce and equipment suppliers. They may also be tasked with managing company budgets as well as maintaining materials and keeping specifications of designs up to date.
If you can get good at drafting parts and designing equipment layouts, then you are fit to be a mechanical design engineer.
In the US, the highest mechanical design engineer salary is $94,000.
2. Senior Mechanical Engineer
The mechanical engineering job description for a senior mechanical engineer highlights how they work in close cooperation with the upper management. They collaborate with the Business Development, Engineering, Operations, Quality Control, and Manufacturing departments. Depending on the company's needs, a senior mechanical engineer may be responsible for many aspects of project management.
The primary roles and responsibilities of a senior mechanical engineer are to ensure that all regulations and procedures in the workplace, including environmental, safety, and security policies, are adhered to by everyone, including themselves and their direct reports. They are the advisors who make recommendations when there is a need for human resources. That means they are an active participant in the recruitment and hiring of new employees.
Aside from their role in the human resources department, they are also in charge of investigating and procuring information that is needed for design and development. They need to be ready to troubleshoot issues when system or project failures happen. They work with lots of data, gather tons of information, and can analyze and interpret new machine or system data in real-time, as it’s acquired.
As a project manager, the Senior Mechanical Engineer is responsible for making sure all projects are done according to plan and within the time allotted. They will also help out as the coordinator and consultant to other team members in order to achieve better design and development outcomes.
Overall, the Senior Mechanical Engineer is a project leader and coordinator between staff members and upper management. According to the report from 2016, the Highest Senior Mechanical Engineer salary, which includes salary, bonus, and profit-sharing, goes up to $133,000. Even the average median pay rate is great so this is definitely something to look forward to.
3. Senior Mechanical Process Engineer
The mechanical engineering job description for a Senior Mechanical Process Engineer dictates that you must first hold a bachelor’s degree in mechanical, or chemical engineering. Some companies require 10+ years of experience while others accept less experienced engineers and will provide them adequate training and chances to develop their engineering skills.
As a Senior Mechanical Process Engineer, the chosen candidate must perform the role of a project manager for medium side projects as well as large-scale ones. In critical projects, a senior mechanical process engineer works as a project engineer, too. They are expected to prepare and evaluate design sheets, technical specifications, 2D & 3D drawings, and even technical and financial reports. Those who are interested in this job should be able to work with various software and technology.
The senior mechanical process engineer is also tasked with overseeing project bids and supplier proposals as well as making sure field and market investigations are delivered accurately. They are responsible for managing studies and detailed reports.
The roles and responsibilities of a senior mechanical process engineer vary from one company to another, but the highest national mechanical engineer salary for such positions went up to $137,631 as of 2016 data (benefits included).
These are my top three jobs that pay good money for mechanical engineers. There are other positions as well, but these three are your basic career guide to getting an idea of what companies want their engineers to be doing and what results they expect these mechanical engineers to generate.
If you are serious about getting a job in line with your Mechanical Engineering degree, you must understand how the majority of the employers act these days towards applications. Read on to learn more.
Becoming a mechanical engineer
- The first step is to get a degree from a college or university. This is a minimum requirement for entry-level positions in this industry. You can enroll in a Bachelor’s Degree in mechanical engineering department directly or not. Some students first register two years of pre-engineering degree and then work as interns or as drafters. They go back to school to finish a Bachelor’s Degree when they can.
- Of course, like all other professional careers, graduating is not enough to keep you going. In the mechanical engineering field, you must be licensed as an engineer before you can take on new design projects (New Product Design or New Product Introduction). Accreditation and licensing vary from country to country. In the United States, though, you cannot skip the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. You also must apply for a PE license (Principles and Practice of Engineering) separately; it is not included in your exam.
- The next thing you need to do is get certified. This is different from getting licensed. A license is compulsory while certification is not. And though the certification is optional, it does show your future employers that you are competent and committed.
So these are the three major steps you should take in your career if you want to enter the mechanical engineering industry and one day earn the highest mechanical engineering salary. If you are just starting out and need some career inspiration, check out this article sharing the success stories of mechanical engineers.