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
2014 Median Pay $53,530 per year
$25.74 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 $53,530 in May 2014.

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

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

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

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

Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Median annual wages, May 2014

Mechanical engineering technicians

$53,530

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

$53,460

Total, all occupations

$35,540

 

The median annual wage for mechanical engineering technicians was $53,530 in May 2014. 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.

In May 2014, 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 $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

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

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

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 2014 MEDIAN PAY
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 $51,940
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 $48,170
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 $53,370
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 $41,510
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 February 07, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015