Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Career, Salary and Education Information

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What Mechanical Engineering Technicians Do[About this section] [To Top]

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.

Duties of Mechanical Engineering Technicians

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 parts 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. They may assist in testing products by, for example, setting up instrumentation for vehicle crash tests.

Work Environment for Mechanical Engineering Technicians[About this section] [To Top]

Mechanical engineering technicians hold about 48,400 jobs. The industries that employ the most mechanical engineering technicians are as follows:

Engineering services 18%
Machinery manufacturing 14
Transportation equipment manufacturing 12
Computer and electronic product manufacturing 10
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 7

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.

Mechanical Engineering Technician Work Schedules

Most mechanical engineering technicians work full time.

How to Become a Mechanical Engineering Technician[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Mechanical Engineering Technicians near you!

Most employers prefer to hire candidates with associate’s 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 Technician Education

Mechanical engineering technicians typically need an associate’s 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’s 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’s programs in relevant fields of study, such as mechanical engineering technology.

Completing an associate’s degree in mechanical engineering technology opens the way to 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.

Important Qualities of Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Communication skills. Mechanical engineering technicians must be able to clearly understand and follow instructions or, if they do not understand, ask their supervisors to explain. They must be able to clearly explain, both orally and in writing, the need for changes in designs or test procedures.

Creativity. Mechanical engineering technicians help mechanical engineers bring their plans and designs to life. Doing so often requires helping the engineer to overcome problems that might not have been anticipated.

Detail oriented. Mechanical engineering technicians must make precise measurements and keep accurate records for mechanical engineers.

Math skills. Mechanical engineering technicians use mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Mechanical skills. Mechanical engineering technicians must apply theory and instructions from engineers by making new components for industrial machinery or equipment. They may need to be able to operate machinery such as drill presses, grinders, and engine lathes.

Mechanical Engineering Technician Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for mechanical engineering technicians is $53,530. 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 $33,920, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $79,670.

The median annual wages for mechanical engineering technicians in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences $56,810
Computer and electronic product manufacturing 55,220
Transportation equipment manufacturing 54,570
Engineering services 53,970
Machinery manufacturing 51,590

Most mechanical engineering technicians work full time.

Job Outlook for Mechanical Engineering Technicians[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of mechanical engineering technicians is projected to grow 2 percent over the next ten years, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment in this occupation is projected to decline in manufacturing.

Mechanical engineering technicians also work for firms in engineering services and in research and development, both of which provide contract services to manufacturing and other industries. Contracting for this work allows firms to hire these services at a lower cost than employing in-house technicians. Employment of mechanical engineering technicians in engineering services is projected to grow 12 percent over the next ten years.

Mechanical engineering technicians find work as assistants to mechanical engineers and thus work in emerging fields, such as automation, remanufacturing, three-dimensional printing, robotics, and alternative energies.

Mechanical Engineering Technicians Job Prospects

Mastering new technology and software will likely become more important for workers in this occupation. Those who gain skills to help deploy the latest technological developments, such as three-dimensional design software, should have the best job prospects.

Employment projections data for Mechanical Engineering Technicians, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Mechanical engineering technicians 48,400 49,300 2 900

*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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