Mechanical Engineering Technicians Job Profile

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.

Duties of Mechanical Engineering Technicians

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 their components, 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. For example, they may assist in testing products by setting up instrumentation for vehicle crash tests.

Work Environment for Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Mechanical engineering technicians hold about 46,100 jobs. The largest employers of mechanical engineering technicians are as follows:
Architectural, engineering, and related services
Machinery manufacturing
Transportation equipment manufacturing
Computer and electronic product manufacturing
Scientific research and development services
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.

Mechanical Engineering Technician Work Schedules

Most mechanical engineering technicians work full time.

How to Become a Mechanical Engineering Technician

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.

Mechanical Engineering Technician 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 degree programs in relevant fields of study, such as mechanical engineering technology.
Completing an associate's degree in mechanical engineering technology is good preparation for 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 for Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Communication skills. Mechanical engineering technicians must be able to clearly understand and follow instructions or ask their supervisors for clarification if they do not understand. 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. This 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.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Mechanical Engineering Technicians

The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) offers four levels of certification through its technician certification programs. Mechanical engineering technicians can obtain certification in industrial instrumentation by passing an examination. In addition, an engineering technician's supervisor must verify the competency of the candidate for certification.

Mechanical Engineering Technician Salaries

The median annual wage for mechanical engineering technicians is $54,480. 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 $34,030, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $82,810.
The median annual wages for mechanical engineering technicians in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
Scientific research and development services
Computer and electronic product manufacturing
Architectural, engineering, and related services
Transportation equipment manufacturing
Machinery manufacturing
Most mechanical engineering technicians work full time.

Job Outlook for Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Employment of mechanical engineering technicians is projected to grow 5 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Firms may contract the work of mechanical engineering technicians from industries that provide engineering services, research and development, and consulting services. Contracting for this work allows firms to hire these services at a lower cost than employing in-house technicians.
Mechanical engineering technicians may find work as assistants to mechanical engineers and thus work in emerging fields, such as automation, three-dimensional printing, robotics, and alternative energies.

Job Prospects for Mechanical Engineering Technicians

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, 2016-26
Occupational Title
Employment, 2016
Projected Employment, 2026
Change, 2016-26
Mechanical engineering technicians

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