What Can You Do with a Mechanical Engineering Degree?

Engineering is a broad industry, so if you’re considering a career as an engineer, you have several specializations to choose from. But what can you do with a mechanical engineering degree? Even within their niche, mechanical engineering programs are designed to prepare you for an interdisciplinary career that you can apply to a wide range of areas, including aviation, environmentalism, aerospace, and defense.

What Is Mechanical Engineering?

When you think of mechanical engineering, you might think of an automotive engineer. And while this is one area of opportunity, mechanical engineering is integrated into a plethora of industries that affect daily life.

The main distinction between mechanical engineering and other specializations is that it generally focuses on physics and movement. It’s also a core part of many different types of engineering, making it a great option if you’re unsure which direction to take your degree in.

No matter what field you enter, most mechanical engineers end up in creative, problem-solving positions. In short, mechanical engineering programs prepare you to develop solutions to problems by building mechanical devices, gadgets, and systems.

What Skills Does a Mechanical Engineer Need?

As a mechanical engineer, you’ll need foundational math, physics, and chemistry knowledge. Students in mechanical engineering programs typically also take classes in thermodynamics, environmental science, mechatronics, and fluid and solid mechanics.

Mechanical engineers also need soft skills such as communication and collaboration.

What Can You Do with a Mechanical Engineering Degree?

Mechanical engineering is a versatile degree that prepares you for an expansive range of careers. Some examples of jobs you could get with a mechanical engineering degree include:

Aerospace, Aircraft, or Automotive Engineer

Engineers in these fields typically work on designing, developing, and testing vehicles in their particular fields. This often entails improving vehicle systems and enhancing their productivity.

Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers work in the medical field, applying engineering principles to solve problems unique to the healthcare industry. Often, they create devices and systems to improve patient care and quality of life, such as artificial limbs and organs or pacemakers.

Manufacturing Engineer

Manufacturing engineers design and implement efficient systems to manufacture specific products. They’re familiar with every step of the product manufacturing process and may offer consulting services to help businesses choose the best manufacturing equipment for a particular product.

Patent Lawyer

Some mechanical engineering majors may choose to go on to law school to become a patent lawyer. With specialized knowledge of the inner workings of machinery, they protect inventors’ rights.

Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Engineer

As technology integrates into every aspect of life, there’s an increasing need for mechanical engineers focused on creating robots and other artificial intelligence that perform or support human tasks.

Other Careers

Other careers that mechanical engineering programs may prepare you for include:

  • Construction engineer
  • Entrepreneur
  • Management consultant
  • Production engineer
  • Product designer
  • Quality engineer
  • Sales engineer
  • Structural engineer
  • Technology specialist
  • Thermal engineer

Is Mechanical Engineering Right for You?

Mechanical engineering is a viable career path for analytical thinkers who enjoy figuring out how things work. These questions can help you determine whether a mechanical engineering degree is right for you:

  • Do you enjoy math and science?
  • Do you think logically and systematically?
  • Do you enjoy tinkering with machines and figuring out how they work?
  • Are you sensitive to the ethical, environmental, and economic impacts of your actions?
  • Do you like working with your hands?

How to Prepare for a Mechanical Engineering Degree

There are many ways you can prepare for a mechanical engineering major to set yourself up for success. Some high schools may have elective automotive classes to give you a head start. If not, there are a few other ways you can equip yourself for your college career while you’re still in high school:

  • Take a physics class. Physics is essential to your education as a mechanical engineering major.
  • Join a robotics club. This is a great way to build your resume and add to your college application.
  • Find an internship in an industry you’re interested in. Help answer phones or file papers for a business in the industry you’re considering. This can help you network early and allow you to ask questions.

To learn more about the mechanical engineering program at Azusa Pacific University, contact the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.