What does a mechanical engineering technician do?
Mechanical engineering technicians help engineering with a variety of mechanical equipment such as elevators, automobile engines, and power saws. They are largely responsible for testing products by setting up equipment and monitoring procedures. Testing helps mechanical engineering technicians determine the modifications that need to be made to make equipment more cost-efficient and more effective. They also create sketches for new machines, tools, parts, and devices. Mechanical engineering technicians record and analyze a variety of data and prepare reports for mechanical engineers. Some specialize in areas such as biomedical equipment and solar energy.
What kind of training does a mechanical engineering technician need?
Mechanical engineering technicians must have at least a high school diploma, but most employers prefer applicants with an associate degree in engineering or engineering technology. Some mechanical engineering technicians complete formal apprenticeship programs that provide classroom instruction and on the job training. The apprenticeship programs typically take 2 to 4 years to complete. Prospective mechanical engineering technicians often complete courses in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and mechanical design. Most employers provide some type of on the job training to enable new mechanical engineering technicians to learn the required policies and procedures of the company. New mechanical engineering technicians typically start out performing routine tasks and they move on to more advanced duties as they gain the necessary experience.
What are the prospects for a career as a mechanical engineering technician?
Employment of mechanical engineering technicians is expected to experience little or no change, decreasing 1% from 2008 to 2018 (1). Increased foreign competition in manufacturing and design services will contribute to the employment decrease.
Job prospects are expected to be fair. Mechanical engineering technicians with at least an associate degree and extensive experience will have the best job opportunities. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace mechanical engineering technicians that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do mechanical engineering technicians make?
As of January 2010, the middle 50% of mechanical engineering technicians earn annual salaries $44,362 and $48,958. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $51,050 (2).
A career as a mechanical engineering technician is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in mechanical engineering and performing a variety of tasks to assist mechanical engineers. Mechanical engineering technicians must have a solid understanding of mechanical engineering procedures. Detail orientation, creativity, determination, ambition, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Mechanical engineering technicians must have excellent communication skills and be able to work effectively as part of a team.