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.
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.
Mechanical engineering technicians held about 42,600 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of mechanical engineering technicians were as follows:
|Architectural, engineering, and related services||20%|
|Transportation equipment manufacturing||12|
|Computer and electronic product manufacturing||9|
|Scientific research and development services||5|
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.
Most mechanical engineering technicians work full time.
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 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.
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
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.
The median annual wage for mechanical engineering technicians was $56,250 in May 2018.
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 $34,900, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $85,430.
In May 2018, the median annual wages for mechanical engineering technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
|Scientific research and development services||$60,380|
|Computer and electronic product manufacturing||60,050|
|Transportation equipment manufacturing||58,350|
|Architectural, engineering, and related services||56,130|
Most mechanical engineering technicians work full time.
Mechanical Engineering Technicians
Median annual wages, May 2018
- Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians
- Mechanical engineering technicians
- Total, all occupations
Employment of mechanical engineering technicians is projected to grow 3 percent from 2018 to 2028, slower than 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.
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.
|Occupational Title||SOC Code||Employment, 2018||Projected Employment, 2028||Change, 2018-28||Employment by Industry|
SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program
Mechanical engineering technicians
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||Median Annual Pay, May 2018|
Drafters use software to convert the designs of engineers and architects into technical drawings.
Industrial Engineering Technicians
Industrial engineering technicians assist industrial engineers in creating systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.
Machinists and Tool and Die Makers
Machinists and tool and die makers set up and operate machine tools to produce precision metal parts, instruments, and tools.
|See How to Become One||$44,950|
Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices.
For more information about general engineering education and career resources, visit
Technology Student Association
For information about accredited programs, visit
For information about certification, visit
The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET)
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Mechanical Engineering Technicians,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/mechanical-engineering-technicians.htm (visited ).
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