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Engineering Technician (except drafters)

Job Outlook: 3% (Slower than average)

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What Mechanical Engineering Technicians Do About this section

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

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.

Duties

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.

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 technicians held about 43,500 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of mechanical engineering technicians were as follows:

Architectural, engineering, and related services 21%
Machinery manufacturing 15
Transportation equipment manufacturing 12
Scientific research and development services 6
Computer and electronic product manufacturing 6

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.

Work Schedules

Most mechanical engineering technicians work full time.

How to Become a Mechanical Engineering Technician About this section

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

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.

Education

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.

Important Qualities

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.

Pay About this section

Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Median annual wages, May 2019

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

$57,690

Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians

$56,980

Total, all occupations

$39,810

 

The median annual wage for mechanical engineering technicians was $56,980 in May 2019. 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 $35,140, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $88,640.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for mechanical engineering technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Computer and electronic product manufacturing $60,390
Scientific research and development services 60,010
Transportation equipment manufacturing 58,310
Architectural, engineering, and related services 57,300
Machinery manufacturing 56,310

Most mechanical engineering technicians work full time.

Job Outlook About this section

Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Total, all occupations

4%

Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians

3%

Drafters, engineering technicians, and mapping technicians

1%

 

Employment of mechanical engineering technicians is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as 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.

Job Prospects

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.

Employment projections data for mechanical engineering technicians, 2019-29
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians

17-3027 43,500 44,900 3 1,400 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 Technicians

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