A career in mechanical engineering is competitive and rewarding. Whether you are just graduating or further along your career path, specialization options are vast. Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest and most diverse of all the engineering fields, and now includes subdivisions of various disciplines.
So what are the best jobs for a mechanical engineer? Let’s break down some places to start answering that question.
Know Your Options
One of the benefits of mechanical engineering is how well it can translate into other positions. Of course, jobs labeled as “mechanical engineer” are always a good place to start, but there are other options available as well. U.S. News interviewed experts in the field and created a list of some careers that mechanical engineers can pursue:
- Aerospace engineer.
- Automotive engineer.
- Biomedical engineer.
- Business executive.
- Construction engineer.
- Intellectual property attorney.
- Manufacturing engineer.
- Management consultant.
- Mechanical engineer.
- Patent lawyer.
- Production engineer.
- Project lead.
- Project manager.
- Petroleum engineer.
- Process engineer.
- Product designer.
- Quality engineer.
- Sales engineer.
- Structural engineer.
- Technology specialist.
- Thermal engineer.
Which choice is right for you depends on your goals, interests and skills. A good recruitment agency can sit down with you to discuss your job possibilities and help find you a position that matches your interest.
Gain Some Experience
One way to know what interests you is by trying it hands-on.
Most four year degrees require completion of a placement or at least provide some internship opportunities while you study. Internships are usually an entry-level type of position that is a few months in duration, and often unpaid. A placement is longer, about a year of paid or unpaid work. However, a placement is usually part or requirement of a degree path.
If you did not complete either of these during your schooling, both are an excellent way to build experience to add to your resume.
Earn Mechanical Engineering Credentials
There are a few requirements for mechanical engineers as well as some nice-to-have certifications and associations. Depending on where you want to work, you will need a specialized license for your area. Registration with associated organizations is not always an explicit requirement but may give you a leg up as you are building your experience. Consider earning some additional certifications in specific skills to round out your resume as well.
Plan Your Career Path
Before submitting resumes or accepting a position, plan your desired career path to gain clarity on your next steps. What specialty do you want to follow? To outline your professional career, ask yourself the following questions:
- Where do you want to work?
- What type of organization do you want to work for?
- Is relocation an option?
Determining what is most important to you will help narrow your focus in a broad field. For example, if salary is your primary driver mechanical engineers in technology industry make almost twice that of those in education. However, following salary requirements might mean relocation.
The list above in the “know your options” section is a good jumping-off point for your research.
Finding the Right Position
Now you know where and in what general fields you want to focus, finding the right position is key. Consider using an engineering recruiter to find available entry-level positions in your field as they are experts at matching your skills and interests with the right organization. Relying on and utilizing the support of an experienced recruiter can get you onto your path faster. Using a specialized recruiter saves time and reduces stress that would have been incurred during a lengthy job search.
The best jobs for a mechanical engineer are largely determined by what specialty or career path you want to follow. Most important is to outline the steps needed to reach your career goals, develop the resume and experience footprint to achieve each of those objectives and you’ll have created the best career path for you.
Strom Minnesota is an engineering and technical recruitment agency that specializes in high-skilled job candidates for highly technical positions. We facilitate contract employment, project staffing, temp-to-perm and direct hire opportunities. Industries served include IT, engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and manufacturing. We are affiliated with Strom Engineering, a national staffing and recruitment agency.