Mechanical engineer jobs are mainly found in industries that manufacture equipment or products, as well as with firms that specialize in contract engineering and consulting services. The relocation of many manufacturing jobs to China and other parts of Asia has influenced the number of global opportunities for mechanical engineers. Due to the continued development and increased complexity of technology around the world, particularly in developing areas, these engineers are in demand.
Mechanical engineer jobs encompass the design, manufacture, installation, and operation of engines, machines, and manufacturing processes. A mechanical engineer will apply the principles of statics and dynamics, mathematics, thermodynamics and heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and materials science. A bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering is generally required to enter the field. It normally takes four or five years to earn this degree, which often involves formal classes combined with periods of practical work experience.
An advanced degree in a specialized field of engineering, such as materials science, may help in the job search as many employers seek to hire candidates with graduate degree status. Special knowledge or expertise in a one area or discipline may also provide an advantage when seeking mechanical engineer jobs. There are many specialty areas in mechanical engineering, including combustion engines, air handling systems, refrigeration equipment, petroleum, and plastics, among others. Expertise in a particular area of engineering is usually gained through practical work experience over a period of time.
A professional engineer license may provide a benefit in the search for mechanical engineer jobs. A licensed professional engineer has the authority to sign and seal, or stamp, engineering reports, drawings, and calculations for projects and analyses, and assumes legal responsibility for the content. To obtain a license, an applicant may be required to pass a rigorous test that verifies the applicant's knowledge and ability to apply mechanical engineering fundamentals to solve a range of different engineering problems. Professional engineering licenses are available in several different countries, and in the U.S., are awarded by the individual states.
Seeking mechanical engineer jobs can be time-consuming and require perseverance. Competition for jobs in the mechanical engineering field has increased, particularly in countries and regions where the number of openings has declined in recent years. Internet job search websites can be a helpful way to determine what mechanical engineering opportunities are available, and several are geared specifically to engineers. Company websites often have specific employment opportunities listed on their official webpages. Most company and job search websites use an electronic process for submitting a job application, resume, and cover letter. Most colleges hold job fairs throughout the year, which provide excellent opportunities to find out which companies are hiring, and to learn more about job responsibilities and special qualifications required.