Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Summary

mechanical engineering technicians image
Mechanical engineering technicians plan, produce, and assemble new or changed mechanical parts for products, such as industrial machinery or equipment.
Quick Facts: Mechanical Engineering Technicians
2015 Median Pay $53,910 per year
$25.92 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Associate's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 48,400
Job Outlook, 2014-24 2% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 900

What Mechanical Engineering Technicians Do

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.

Work Environment

Mechanical engineering technicians assist with manufacturing processes in factories, or with development phases in research and development labs before manufacturing takes place.

How to Become a Mechanical Engineering Technician

Most employers prefer to hire candidates with an associate’s degree 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.

Pay

The median annual wage for mechanical engineering technicians was $53,910 in May 2015.

Job Outlook

Employment of mechanical engineering technicians is projected to grow 2 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Nevertheless, there should be opportunities for those who can master new software and technology, as well as traditional manual skills.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for mechanical engineering technicians.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of mechanical engineering technicians with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about mechanical engineering technicians by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Mechanical Engineering Technicians Do About this section

Mechanical engineering technicians
Mechanical engineering technicians plan the assembly process to be used in industrial settings.

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

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 About this section

Mechanical engineering technicians
Because mechanical engineering technicians work with machines of all types, they must take safety precautions in their workspace.

Mechanical engineering technicians held about 48,400 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most mechanical engineering technicians were 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.

Work Schedules

Most mechanical engineering technicians work full time.

How to Become a Mechanical Engineering Technician About this section

Mechanical engineering technicians
Mechanical engineering technicians help mechanical engineers manufacture industrial machinery and other equipment.

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.

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

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.

Pay About this section

Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Median annual wages, May 2015

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

$54,140

Mechanical engineering technicians

$53,910

Total, all occupations

$36,200

 

The median annual wage for mechanical engineering technicians was $53,910 in May 2015. 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 $33,830, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $81,010.

In May 2015, the median annual wages for mechanical engineering technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences $58,970
Computer and electronic product manufacturing 56,120
Engineering services 55,300
Transportation equipment manufacturing 53,480
Machinery manufacturing 50,440

Most mechanical engineering technicians work full time.

Job Outlook About this section

Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Total, all occupations

7%

Mechanical engineering technicians

2%

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

-1%

 

Employment of mechanical engineering technicians is projected to grow 2 percent from 2014 to 2024, 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 from 2014 to 2024.

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.

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 SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Mechanical engineering technicians

17-3027 48,400 49,300 2 900 [XLSX]

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of mechanical engineering technicians.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2015 MEDIAN PAY Help
Drafters

Drafters

Drafters use software to convert the designs of engineers and architects into technical drawings. Most workers specialize in architectural, civil, electrical, or mechanical drafting and use technical drawings to help design everything from microchips to skyscrapers.

Associate's degree $52,720
Environmental engineering technicians

Environmental Engineering Technicians

Environmental engineering technicians carry out the plans that environmental engineers develop. They test, operate, and, if necessary, modify equipment used to prevent or clean up environmental pollution. They may collect samples for testing, or they may work to mitigate sources of environmental pollution.

Associate's degree $48,650
Industrial engineering technicians

Industrial Engineering Technicians

Industrial engineering technicians help industrial engineers implement designs to use personnel, materials, and machines effectively in factories, stores, healthcare organizations, repair shops, and offices. They prepare machinery and equipment layouts, plan workflows, conduct statistical production studies, and analyze production costs.

Associate's degree $53,780
Machinists and tool and die makers

Machinists and Tool and Die Makers

Machinists and tool and die makers set up and operate a variety of computer-controlled and mechanically controlled machine tools to produce precision metal parts, instruments, and tools.

High school diploma or equivalent $42,110
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Mechanical Engineering Technicians,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/mechanical-engineering-technicians.htm (visited May 02, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. This tab may also provide information on earnings in the major industries employing the occupation.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's Career InfoNet.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2014

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2014, which is the base year of the 2014-24 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2014-24

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.