If you have heard about an occupation in mechanical engineering technology, and it has piqued your interest, you need a little bit more context on what the jobs in this vocation are all about.
You may be curious about what the career trajectory is for a mechanical engineering technologist (or mechanical engineering technician as these jobs are also referred to), what kind of options and avenues open up to you once you have earned your degree, and you may even be wondering what it is that a mechanical engineering technologist does exactly.
Well, this article will answer all those questions and give you an insight into this fascinating career path.
What do Mechanical Engineering Technicians Do?
The jobs of mechanical engineering technicians in the United States are intriguing, challenging, and highly specialized.
Professionals employed in this space typically work in teams under mechanical engineers in production, science, development industries, testing machines, and product manufacturing processes and bring practical skills to the table.
Your job as a mechanical engineering technologist would be to implement the ideas and plans that the lead mechanical engineers design, and help them assess, record, and quantify the results of these ideas and plans.
Here’s a more detailed look at the responsibilities and duties of mechanical engineering technicians:
- Study, understand and make changes to sketches, technical design drawings, data, parts, and design specifications created by mechanical engineers. Furthermore, a mechanical engineering technician is also expected to use their engineering education knowledge to interpret this material and draw on their experience to provide technical and non-technical coworkers with summaries and information of said material and specifications as part of their duties.
- Provide technical assistance to the mechanical product engineer during the ideation, designing process, systems development stages, or the field testing process of the product creation and manufacturing cycle.
- Utilize their skills for testing products to check for quality control, reliability, performance, consistency, and general functionality of the product across industries and verticals.
- Make detailed quantitative reports of these test procedures and programs, identify problems in the functioning of the product or equipment, review instructions, and offer information and solutions to fix these production problems. Mechanical engineering technicians would also be expected to offer suggestions on improvements that could be made to the product to make it more efficient, cost-effective, capable, and reliable.
- Help engineers design and setup purpose-specific or custom equipment, machinery, mechanical configurations, or production infrastructure based on the client’s needs.
- Help the mechanical engineer with the preparation of official specification documentation, lay out design drafts, and draw up sketches of machinery or mechanical components and systems.
- Install, assemble, and set up mechanical and electronic equipment as per the directives and needs of the engineer and ensure that this equipment is in complete running order. A mechanical engineering technician may also have to troubleshoot any problems during these installations, identify problems, and suggest solutions to deal with these issues.
- Conduct periodic inspections for the smooth running of manufacturing setups, equipment, and products and create thorough reports and test results based on the results of these inspections.
- Mechanical engineering technicians also draw up schedules for the engineering projects and create step-by-step execution plans for these projects as well.
- Prepare cost estimates for the design of products or equipment and also put together expense estimates for production costs, installment and running of production lines or manufacturing processes.
- Conduct research regarding domain-specific subjects to aid in the development phases, such as material properties and potential reactions among other things.
- Conduct temperature, strength, and stress response tests for engineering projects and design test procedures to validate production lines.
- Help in the creation or crafting of molds, dies, prototypes, and new tools to help aid in manufacturing or development.
- Plan, schedule and implement routine maintenance checks and use specialist tools to conduct these checks to ensure the smooth running of the equipment or production line.
Any job that sees mechanical engineering technicians help design products is also likely to heavily involve the use of computer-aided design software and other computer-aided technology tools.
What you end up doing at your job will be influenced by a few different factors including the vertical that the corporation you sign up with is working on, whether you choose a freelance, full-time, or consulting position, the type of specialization your team focuses on and more.
What Kinds of Jobs Can Mechanical Engineering Technicians Get?
Now that we understand what the responsibilities of mechanical engineering technicians are, and the ins and outs of what this job involves, let’s take a look at some information regarding the different job prospects and opportunities that you can explore once you attain your associate’s degree in mechanical engineering technology or bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology in the United States.
Consulting Mechanical Engineering Team
As a member of a consulting mechanical engineering team, your jobs include providing immediate and effective problem-solving engineering services for companies in tight time-frames.
You need to go in and assess the situation, identify the issues being faced, and come up with a workable solution to resolve the issue. Sharp math skills are useful in this domain.
Materials and Product Testing
In these types of jobs, technicians have to create production studies, conduct thorough testing on products and materials, and scrutinize testing procedures and information to ensure that the quality of the output does not fall below the required level.
This job requires a firm grip on computer-aided design. A drafting engineer technologist creates blueprints, designs, prototypes and concepts by applying engineering principles, and using CAD software. So brush up on your computer skills!
Mechanical engineering technicians who take on quality control assessments have to lay out test objectives to ensure that production isn’t hampered by any external or internal factors and the quality of the product stays consistent and adheres to the prescribed levels that have been set by the company you work for.
This job typically requires regular visits to factories and manufacturing plants and well-honed communication skills.
Efficiency and Optimization
As a technician tasked with efficiency and optimization your job is to streamline operations and improve the effectiveness of the production line and reduction of labor costs.
This requires creative thinking and a firm grasp on engineering principles in order to conduct calculations that improve the output levels at a production unit.
A keen eye for the bigger picture and an intimate understanding of manufacturing processes is a must for this kind of job.
Product Development Engineering
A product development mechanical engineering technician will join a product development team and provide assistance with the creation of new designs of the product itself, along with the devising and installation of a production process.
The latter includes the establishment of the entire manufacturing platform and assembly line to ensure the most proficient and capable production process.
This job will require you to plan spacing, develop or identify and procure machine tools and equipment such as engine lathes, drill presses, and precision metal parts, assist with its installation, plan and execute workflows, and ensure that best business practices are followed in terms of health and safety norms.
Mechanical engineering technicians are often drafted into production management. As the name suggests, this is the overseeing of an entire production unit.
This encompasses overseeing all the different aspects that industrial engineering technicians typically get involved in including test specifications, test methods, cost-effectiveness, quality, equipment life and overall productivity.
Transportation engineering is an important industry that is always on the lookout for technicians to take on board. In this space, teams of engineers and engineering technologists work on developing transportation infrastructures such as roads, bridges, canals, seaports, and more.
An understanding of functional design principles and fluid dynamics is integral to succeeding in this space.
This job typically sees a lot of on-site work so those who aren’t comfortable working in the field and getting hands-on should probably avoid it.
Engineering in the Energy Industry
A power engineering technician applies engineering principles to power generation and energy development projects. This includes the creation of energy by conventional means and working on renewable energy projects.
Your job would involve testing, measuring, and helping to improve the energy efficiency of the plant and even establishing an entirely new power generation facility from the ground up.
These are some of the most popular career paths that engineering technicians can pursue once they have acquired their degree in mechanical engineering technology.
How Much do Mechanical Engineering Technicians Make?
As much as there is to be said for job satisfaction, the earnings you take home are just as important at the end of the day.
As per the American Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for mechanical engineering technicians in 2019 was $56,980 per year or $27.40 per hour. The below table shows the most well-paying openings in this space as per the BLS:
Computer and electronic product manufacturing $60,390
Scientific research and development services $60,010
Transportation equipment manufacturing $58,310
Architectural, engineering, and related services $57,300
Machinery manufacturing $56,310
This video sheds a bit of light on what firms that hire mechanical engineering technicians typically look for:
Start a Career in Mechanical Engineering Technology with NEIT
You can acquire one of the many positions open for mechanical engineering technicians as long as you have a bachelor’s degree or associate’s degree in the subject.
At NEIT we offer both these MET degrees to prospective students interested in becoming mechanical engineering technicians. Our courses offer the ideal springboard to success as mechanical engineering technicians.
In these courses, you will learn the basics of design principles, CAD, engineering materials, manufacturing processes, and machine work.
Our bachelor’s degree will also allow students to delve deeper into the inner workings of the industry and acquire a more holistic understanding of the industry.
The credits earned in our associate’s degree will also count towards the bachelor’s degree should you wish to start with the associate’s degree and get a bachelor’s at a later date.
Here’s your chance to build a fruitful career – talk to our admission’s officer today.
Click on the link below to learn more.