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Engineering Technician (except drafters)

Job Outlook: 3% (Slower than average)

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What Mechanical Engineering Technologists and Technicians Do About this section

Mechanical engineering technicians
Mechanical engineering technicians plan the assembly process to be used in industrial settings.

Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians help mechanical engineers design, develop, test, and manufacture tools, engines, machines, and other devices. They may make sketches and rough layouts, record and analyze data, and report their findings.

Duties

Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians typically do the following:

  • Evaluate specifications in design drawings prior to adding or replacing tools
  • Prepare layouts and drawings of the assembly process and parts to be made, usually using three-dimensional design software
  • Recommend cost-effective changes in equipment design to improve reliability and safety 
  • Review instructions and blueprints in order to ensure that project plans follow test specifications and procedures and meet objectives
  • Plan, produce, and assemble mechanical parts for products, such as industrial 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 recommend changes, if needed, in products or test methods
  • Make calculations for business estimates, such as of labor costs and equipment lifespan

Mechanical engineering technicians typically install, troubleshoot, and maintain designs created by engineers. They may work under the direction of engineers or engineering technologists.

Mechanical engineering technologists typically help engineers improve designs or incorporate new technology. They may be team leaders, instructing mechanical engineering technicians on installing equipment, systems, or structures.

Some mechanical engineering technologists and technicians test and inspect machines and equipment or work with engineers to eliminate production problems. For example, they may help test products by setting up instruments for vehicle crash tests.

Work Environment About this section

Mechanical engineering technicians
Because mechanical engineering technicians work with machines of all types, they must take safety precautions in their workspace.

Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians held about 41,700 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of mechanical engineering technologists and technicians were as follows:

Architectural, engineering, and related services 24%
Machinery manufacturing 12
Transportation equipment manufacturing 9
Scientific research and development services 9
Computer and electronic product manufacturing 6

Some mechanical engineering technologists and technicians, particularly those working in factories, are exposed to hazards from equipment, chemicals, or toxic materials. However, their risk of injury or illness is low if they follow procedures.

Work Schedules

Most mechanical engineering technologists and technicians work full time.

How to Become a Mechanical Engineering Technologist or Technician About this section

Mechanical engineering technicians
Mechanical engineering technicians help mechanical engineers manufacture industrial machinery and other equipment.

Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians typically need an associate’s degrees or other postsecondary training to enter the occupation.

Education

High school students interested in becoming a mechanical engineering technologist or technician should take classes in math, science, and computer science.

Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians typically need an associate’s degree or a certificate from a community college or vocational–technical school. Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have completed a bachelor’s degree or whose programs are accredited by an organization such as ABET.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) offers optional credentials through its technician certification programs. For example, mechanical engineering technologists and technicians who examine water-based fire protection systems may obtain certification in fire sprinkler layout or fire sprinkler inspection and testing. An engineering technologist’s or technician’s supervisor usually must verify the candidate’s performance competency as part of the certification process.

Advancement

Technicians who obtain appropriate education or certification may advance to become technologists.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians must be able to clearly explain, both orally and in writing, the need for changes in designs or test procedures.

Detail oriented. Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians must make precise measurements and keep accurate records for mechanical engineers.

Math skills. Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians use mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting.

Mechanical skills. Mechanical engineering technologists and 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.

Problem-solving skills. Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians help mechanical engineers bring their plans and designs to life. This may require helping the engineer overcome problems that emerge throughout development or manufacturing.

Pay About this section

Mechanical Engineering Technologists and Technicians

Median annual wages, May 2021

Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians

$60,460

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

$60,290

Total, all occupations

$45,760

 

The median annual wage for mechanical engineering technologists and technicians was $60,460 in May 2021. 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 $37,670, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $95,300.

In May 2021, the median annual wages for mechanical engineering technologists and technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Scientific research and development services $74,180
Computer and electronic product manufacturing 60,950
Architectural, engineering, and related services 60,430
Machinery manufacturing 60,220
Transportation equipment manufacturing 60,150

Most mechanical engineering technologists and technicians work full time.

Job Outlook About this section

Mechanical Engineering Technologists and Technicians

Percent change in employment, projected 2021-31

Total, all occupations

5%

Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians

2%

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

0%

 

Employment of mechanical engineering technologists and technicians is projected to grow 2 percent from 2021 to 2031, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 4,200 openings for mechanical engineering technologists and technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Because mechanical engineering technologists and technicians are directly supervised by mechanical engineers, their employment growth will be driven by many of the same factors driving employment growth for mechanical engineers. For example, as manufacturing processes incorporate more complex automation machinery, mechanical engineering technologists and technicians are expected to be needed to help plan for and design this equipment.

Employment projections data for mechanical engineering technologists and technicians, 2021-31
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians

17-3027 41,700 42,500 2 900 Get data

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about general engineering education and career resources, visit

American Society for Engineering Education

American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Technology Student Association

For information about accredited programs, visit

ABET

For information about certification, visit

The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) 

O*NET

Automotive Engineering Technicians

Mechanical Engineering Technologists and Technicians

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