Career Attributes

  • $77,017
  • 288,800
  • 3.1
  • 8.8%
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Mechanical Engineering
More Attributes


Nearly all entry-level mechanical engineering jobs require a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. Mechanical engineering degree programs usually include courses in mathematics and life and physical sciences, as well as engineering and design courses. The programs typically last four years, but many students take between four and five years to earn their degree. A mechanical engineering degree program may emphasize internships and co-ops to prepare students for work in the industry.

Theory is often another main focus in order to prepare students for graduate-level work. A few engineering schools allow students to spend three years in a liberal arts college studying pre-engineering subjects and two years in an engineering school studying core subjects to receive a bachelor's degree from each school. Some colleges and universities offer five-year programs that allow students to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Some five, or even six year cooperative plans, combine classroom study with practical work, enabling students to gain valuable experience and earn money to finance part of their education.

Graduate training is essential for engineering faculty positions in higher education, as well as for some research-and-development programs. Many experienced mechanical engineers get graduate degrees in engineering or business administration to learn new technology and broaden their education. Many become administrators or managers after obtaining a graduate degree.

Most jurisdictions require licensure for engineers who offer their services directly to the public. Licensed mechanical engineers are designated as professional engineers (PEs). The PE license generally requires a degree from an accredited engineering program, four years of relevant work experience, and passing a standardized exam.

What are Mechanical Engineers like?


Based on our pool of users, Mechanical Engineers tend to be predominately investigative people. Take our career test to see what career interest category best describes you.

Mechanical Engineers by Strongest Interest Archetype

Based on sample of 2169 CareerExplorer users

Are Mechanical Engineers happy?


Mechanical Engineers rank among the least happy careers. Overall they rank in the 37th percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Mechanical Engineer Career Satisfaction by Dimension

Percentile among all careers

Education History of Mechanical Engineers

The most common degree held by Mechanical Engineers is Mechanical Engineering. 85% of Mechanical Engineers had a degree in Mechanical Engineering before becoming Mechanical Engineers. That is over 51 times the average across all careers. Business Management And Administration graduates are the second most common among Mechanical Engineers, representing 4% of Mechanical Engineers in the CareerExplorer user base, which is 0.6 times the average.

Mechanical Engineer Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming a Mechanical Engineer, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of Mechanical Engineers % of population Multiple
Mechanical Engineering 84.9% 1.7% 51.2×
Business Management And Administration 4.2% 6.5% 0.6×
Aerospace Engineering 3.8% 0.2% 15.7×
Mechanical Engineering Related Technologies 3.6% 0.1% 31.6×
Engineering Management 2.5% 0.2% 13.3×
Architectural Engineering 1.7% 0.1% 31.7×
Physics 1.6% 1.0% 1.6×
Engineering Mechanics Physics And Science 1.5% 0.1% 15.9×
Industrial Engineering 1.5% 0.3% 4.4×
General Engineering 1.3% 0.4% 3.3×
Electrical Engineering 1.3% 0.9% 1.5×
Mathematics 1.2% 1.9% 0.6×
Mathematics And Computer Science 1.2% 0.2% 6.0×
Biomedical Engineering 1.2% 0.4% 3.2×
Chemical Engineering 1.2% 0.5% 2.2×
Business 1.0% 2.6% 0.4×

Mechanical Engineer Education Levels

88% of Mechanical Engineers have a bachelor's degree. 12% of Mechanical Engineers have an associate's degree.

No education 0%
High school diploma 0%
Associate's degree 12%
Bachelor's degree 88%
Master's degree 0%
Doctorate degree 0%

How to Become a Mechanical Engineer

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Further Reading

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Recommended Books

  • Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design

    Shigley’s Mechanical Engineering Design is intended for students beginning the study of mechanical engineering design. Students will find that the text inherently directs them into familiarity with both the basics of design decisions and the standards of industrial components. It combines the straightforward focus on fundamentals that instructors have come to expect, with a modern emphasis on design and new applications.

  • Mechanical Engineer's Handbook

    The Mechanical Engineer's Handbook was developed and written specifically to fill a need for mechanical engineers and mechanical engineering students throughout the world. With over 1000 pages, 550 illustrations, and 26 tables the Mechanical Engineer's Handbook is very comprehensive, yet affordable, compact, and durable. The Handbook covers all major areas of mechanical engineering with succinct coverage of the definitions, formulas, examples, theory, proofs, and explanations of all principle subject areas.

  • Machinery's Handbook 25 : A Reference Book for the Mechanical Engineer, Designer, Manufacturing Engineer, Draftsman, Toolmaker, and Machinist

    All the useful and practical information on contemporary manufacturing processes and all the material on basic mathematics, mechanics, materials, measuring, tooling, machining, fasteners, threads, bearings, machine elements, and engineering standards have been reviewed and updated where necessary.

  • Mechanical Engineering Principles

    Mechanical Engineering Principles offers a student-friendly introduction to core engineering topics. This book introduces mechanical principles and technology through examples and applications rather than theory.

  • Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers 11th Edition

    Solve any mechanical engineering problem quickly and easily with the world's leading engineering handbook. Nearly 1800 pages of mechanical engineering facts, figures, standards, and practices, 2000 illustrations, and 900 tables clarifying important mathematical and engineering principle, and the collective wisdom of 160 experts help you answer any analytical, design, and application question you will ever have.

  • System Dynamics for Mechanical Engineers

    This textbook is ideal for mechanical engineering students preparing to enter the workforce during a time of rapidly accelerating technology, where they will be challenged to join interdisciplinary teams. It explains system dynamics using analogies familiar to the mechanical engineer while introducing new content in an intuitive fashion. The fundamentals provided in this book prepare the mechanical engineer to adapt to continuous technological advances with topics outside traditional mechanical engineering curricula by preparing them to apply basic principles and established approaches to new problems.

Career Attributes

  • $77,017
  • 288,800
  • 3.1
  • 8.8%
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Mechanical Engineering
More Attributes