Career Definition for a Mechanical Engineering Technician
Mechanical engineering technicians assist scientists and engineers in research and product development in fields like biomechanics, new materials and engineering. Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest fields in engineering, and though it's typically associated with industrial design, recent technological developments have broadened the scope of the occupation and degree. A degree in engineering technology can offer a variety of specializations, from patent law to manufacturing design and new materials testing; most engineering technicians can carry their skills over from one field of engineering to another.
|Education||Associate or bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Independent work, creativity, ambition|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$55,360 for mechanical engineering technicians|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||5% for mechanical engineering technicians|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
This profession offers many possibilities for specializations, but an associate degree or an undergraduate degree in technology or engineering from a university or college accredited by the Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) will provide the basic requirements for further on-the-job training.
Mechanical engineering technicians work under close supervision in a team of specialists before they are given more responsibility and allowed to work independently. Creativity and ambition is highly rewarded, and some employers will help fund continuing education courses. Many technicians become supervisors or work up to the title of mechanical engineer.
Career and Economic Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the decline of manufacturing industries will slow the growth in job opportunities for the mechanical engineering technician profession to 5% for 2016-2026. However, new opportunities related to the field of mechanical engineering are expected to arise from alternative energies and remanufacturing materials. The median annual income for a mechanical engineering technician is $55,360, according to the BLS in 2017.
You can also look into these other engineering positions for careers:
For those desiring more responsibilities and control over mechanical designs, becoming a mechanical engineer may be the right career decision. These engineers explore ways to solve problems by utilizing new devices or equipment. They also draw out schematics using drafting software, create prototypes and work on perfecting their ideas through testing and additional research. Earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering is necessary for employment, and all states require mechanical engineers to obtain the Professional Engineer license if providing services to the public.
The BLS reported that employment growth should be average, at 9%, for this field from 2016-2026, mostly due to a decrease in manufacturing activities. Based on BLS data from May of 2017, mechanical engineers earn a median income of $85,880 per year.
Industrial Engineering Technician
These technicians perform a similar function as mechanical engineering technicians, but instead of supporting mechanical engineers, they assist industrial engineers in finding ways to increase productivity and quality in places such as factories, stores, offices and healthcare organizations. They design floor plans of machinery placement and create diagrams for workflow in addition to assigning job responsibilities and choosing what equipment is used for each step in the work process.
Although an increase of 1% in job opportunities is projected by the BLS between 2016 and 2026, a wide variety of industries employ industrial engineering technicians, and these services will be in demand. In 2017, the BLS determined that industrial engineering technicians received $54,280 in median annual wages.