Mechanical engineering is an exciting occupation for people who are creative, excellent problem solvers, and have great mechanical skills. But before you can work in the field, you must meet the mechanical engineer requirements in your state.
Engineer qualifications take several years to complete and may allow you to work in a diverse range of industries, from robotics to biomedicine. This guide outlines the steps necessary to enter the field, including courses for mechanical engineers. It will also discuss insurance for engineers to help protect you on the job.
Recommended reading: How to Become an Engineer
What does a mechanical engineer do?
Mechanical engineers are responsible for researching, designing, developing, building, testing, and improving products and systems. They are an essential part of many industries. Because this is one of the broadest fields in engineering, a mechanical engineer might work on anything from batteries and refrigeration systems to elevators and medical devices.
Successful mechanical engineers are usually:
- Creative thinkers
- Excellent problem solvers
- Skilled listeners and team players
- Have strong math, science and mechanical skills
Job outlook for mechanical engineers
Mechanical engineers in the U.S. can expect a solid job outlook in the coming decade, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. While job growth is slightly slower than the average for all occupations, some 6,400 new openings are projected between 2021 and 2031. Michigan, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Ohio have the highest employment levels for mechanical engineers.
The average yearly salary for mechanical engineers is $97,000 as of May 2021. The top three highest-paying industries for mechanical engineers all work with coal, oil, and natural gas extraction and transportation. New Mexico, Louisiana, the District of Columbia, California, and Alaska report the highest average salaries for mechanical engineers.
Education and training
A bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering is required for most entry-level positions in the field. Undergraduate programs should be approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). An internship may be part of earning your degree and will give you important real-world experience.
Courses for a mechanical engineer typically include instruction in:
- Advanced math
- Physical science
- Computer-aided design (CAD) tools
Many mechanical engineers also decide to get a master’s degree. This advanced education option can help you learn the skills necessary for more specialized fields, such as robotics and energy. You might also pursue a master’s degree in another area, such as business administration, to help you run your own mechanical engineering business.
You can also complete a PhD program in mechanical engineering. This may be necessary to work in academia and some research fields.
Getting an engineering license
Mechanical engineers in every state must obtain a license to work legally. These licenses are granted by a state licensing board. However, the engineer qualifications vary from state to state. In general, you will need to:
- Complete an ABET-accredited engineering program
- Pass two extensive exams
- Complete around four years of relevant work experience
You may need to complete continuing education requirements to renew your license. Some professional associations offer certification programs that you may decide to pursue to work in certain industries.
Insurance for Mechanical Engineers
Before you begin your career as a mechanical engineer, you might want to consider business insurance to protect yourself while working. Insurance for engineers is designed to shield you against the impact of work-related claims and lawsuits. Mechanical engineers often purchase:
Protection for professional service providers against potentially devastating financial damages resulting from alleged negligence or error in the delivery of their services.
Protection against claims made by an outside party regarding injury or damage to their property.
Protection for employers if an employee suffers a work-related illness or injury.
These and other forms of insurance can help protect your finances and professional reputation. Rather than pay unexpected expenses, like attorney’s fees or court-ordered compensation, from your own pocket, your insurance policies help cover these costs for you. This could mean the difference between keeping your career going or being forced to close shop.
BizInsure makes it simple to buy insurance for engineers online. Compare policies from top-rated insurers in minutes and get instant coverage. You’ll even receive your proof of insurance straight to your inbox.
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