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.
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.
Mechanical engineering technicians typically have an interest in the Building and Thinking interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Thinking interest area indicates a focus on researching, investigating, and increasing the understanding of natural laws.
If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Thinking interest which might fit with a career as a mechanical engineering technician, you can take a career test to measure your interests.
Mechanical engineering technicians should also possess the following specific qualities:
Communication skills. Mechanical engineering technicians must be able to clearly understand and follow instructions or, if they do not understand, ask their supervisors to explain. They must be able to clearly explain the need for changes in designs or test procedures both verbally and in writing.
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.
Interpersonal skills. Mechanical engineering technicians must be able to take instructions and offer advice when it is needed.
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.
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|
Most mechanical engineering technicians work full time.
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.
For more information about general engineering education and career resources, visit
For information about accredited programs, visit
For information about certification, visit