Described as one of the most comprehensive engineering fields, mechanical engineers design and oversee the manufacturing process of everything from batteries to medical equipment. In this type of role, you’ll be researching, designing, building, developing and testing mechanical and thermal sensors and devices, but more on that later.
Whether you’re already a mechanical engineer or considering a shift into the field, it’s always smart to know the median salary. One of the metropolitan areas with the highest volume of professionals in this role, mechanical engineering jobs in Chicago have an annual mean wage of $92,560, according to May 2016 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is notably higher than the median annual salary for mechanical engineers across the U.S., which May 2016 BLS data cites as $84,190.
Where Do Mechanical Engineers Work?
As of 2016, there were approximately 288,800 mechanical engineers in the U.S., according to the BLS. Here’s a breakdown of the largest types of employers:
- Architectural, engineering, and related services (22%)
- Machinery manufacturing (13%)
- Transportation equipment manufacturing (12%)
- Scientific research and development services (7%)
- Computer and electronic product manufacturing (7%)
A job requiring considerable teamwork, most mechanical engineers spend their days in a standard office environment. The vast majority of these jobs are full-time positions. Overtime isn’t unheard of, as roughly 30% of these professionals put in more than 40 hours per week at the office as of 2016, according to the BLS.
Working as a Mechanical Engineer
The responsibilities associated with role of a mechanical engineer vary greatly, as the job has many different forms. On a broad spectrum, they are responsible for designing power-producing and power-using equipment — i.e. electric generators and air-conditioning systems.
Some of a mechanical engineer’s duties might involve:
- Evaluating issues to determine how they can be solved with mechanical or thermal equipment.
- Troubleshooting faulty equipment.
- Creating prototypes for equipment they design.
- Overseeing the equipment manufacturing process.
How to Become a Mechanical Engineer
The minimum required education to become a mechanical engineer is typically a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. While not required for entry-level work, many mechanical engineers choose to obtain a Professional Engineering license, which can help with career advancement.
Searching for a job as a mechanical engineer in Chicago? As engineers ourselves, Premium Staffing, Inc. has connections with many of the area’s top local employers, and we’re ready to share them with you. Start your confidential search today!