Entry Level Mechanical Engineering Jobs: What Am I Qualified For?
Entry-level mechanical engineering jobs are suitable for people who want to learn more about the field.
If you have a degree in mechanical engineering or a related discipline, getting a mechanical engineering job helps you gain valuable experience. An entry-level job also gives you a taste of mechanical engineering if you’re looking to earn a degree or change careers.
It can be difficult to identify the type of job you want and whether or not you meet the qualifications. Here’s what you need to know to land an entry-level mechanical engineering job, what positions are available to you, and how to take the next steps.
Land an entry-level mechanical engineering job
An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering is a pathway to entry-level employment in the field. Vocational schools and community colleges also offer degrees and certificates designed to train you for a job as an automotive, heating and cooling, or general engineering technician.
These programs last two years or less and give you the practical knowledge and skills you need. Apprenticeships, internships, and training programs also provide you with what you need to get an entry-level mechanical engineering job.
Experience alone can meet the requirements for some entry-level mechanical engineering jobs. Building a resume that showcases your skills can help you land a job.
Do you have strong people skills? Review networking tips and try networking in person and on LinkedIn. Referrals, job boards and fairs, and working with a temp agency can also help you get your foot in the door.
Mechanical Engineering Jobs for Recent Graduates and Career Changers
Mechanical engineering professionals provide essential services as automotive and construction engineers. They also work in manufacturing, biomedical and environmental sciences, and mechanical design.
A quick Google search can help you identify the types of entry-level mechanical engineering jobs available locally, regionally, or nationally. Narrow your search by position and area on job search sites such as ZipRecruiter, Monster, and Indeed.
Identifying the type of position you want can lead you to employer-specific job boards.
Entry level job titles in these positions may include labels such as “level 1”, “junior”, “associate”, “helper”, “apprentice” or even just “entry level”.
Salary expectations: $90,160 median annual salary (2020, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Skills required : Knowledge of advanced mathematics, statics, mechanics of materials, heat transfer and circuits; problem-solving skills; creativity; 2D and 3D Computer Aided Drafting and Design
Mechanical engineers design mechanical and thermal equipment to solve mechanical problems. These professionals use computer-aided design software (such as AutoCAD and Revit), oversee the manufacturing process, and make any necessary adjustments. They develop, build and test the devices and systems they create and identify ways to make improvements.
Salary expectations: $61,660 average base salary (2022)
Skills required : 2D and 3D computer aided drafting and design, advanced math and geometry, QA knowledge, creativity, attention to detail
Mechanical designers, sometimes called draftsmen, design mechanical parts, devices, and systems. They design individual parts or entire machines via computer-aided design, revise their work as directed by mechanical engineers, and submit it for manufacturing.
Mechanical designers create devices large and small for aircraft equipment, aerospace technology, vehicles, medical equipment, and consumer products.
Salary expectations: $100,830 median annual salary (2020)
Skills required : Organization, circuit design, attention to detail, problem solving, familiarity with design software, proficiency in Matlab
Electrical engineers oversee and participate in the design, manufacture, testing, and installation of electrical equipment. They both create new products and work to improve existing ones. They often work closely with project managers.
Electrical engineers work in industries such as manufacturing, research and development, power generation, and telecommunications.
Those with a background in mechanical engineering can benefit from a master’s degree in electrical engineering.
A biomedical engineer
Salary expectations: $92,620 median annual salary (2020)
Skills required : Chemistry, Physics and Biology; advanced mathematics; drawing and computer programming; problem-solving and analytical skills
Biomedical engineers integrate knowledge of biology, medicine, and engineering into their work to create related equipment, devices, and technologies. Also called bioengineers, these professionals design, install, maintain and provide support for biomedical equipment. They also train clinicians in the use of the equipment.
Biomedical engineers can work in specialties such as bioinstrumentation, biomaterials, genetics, and rehabilitation engineering.
Sustainable development engineer
Salary expectations: Average base salary of $79,880 (2022)
Skills required : Environmental science, conservation and efficiency standards, green resources, advanced math
Sustainability engineers design and build structures, devices, and systems to preserve and protect the environment. Energy-efficient buildings, hydroelectric dams, water treatment systems, and air pollution control devices fall under the purview of a sustainability engineer.
Sustainability engineers update and maintain plans, obtain permits, and monitor environmental impacts and improvements resulting from their projects. They also provide maintenance and ensure compliance with environmental regulations.
Salary expectations: $80,358 average base salary (2022)
Skills required : Advanced Mathematics, Computer Aided Drafting and Design, Computer Programming, Vehicle Building, Analytical Skills, Creativity
Automotive engineers develop and improve the components, mechanisms, and designs used for vehicles. They may create electrical components, program car software, or design entire vehicles. They also test vehicles to ensure they meet automotive industry standards.
Automotive engineers work in an office or in a manufacturing plant and have an understanding of consumer demand and sales performance.
Salary expectations: $88,570 median annual salary (2020)
Skills required : Advanced knowledge in mathematics, statics, mechanics and systems, and fluid dynamics; computer aided design and drafting; survey
Civil engineers design, build, supervise and maintain infrastructure projects and systems. They work in both the private and public sector. These professionals oversee the design and construction of roads, buildings, bridges and facilities, including water and sewage treatment and supply systems.
Civil engineers review and analyze technical reports, plans, and other data to determine project costs, risks, and regulations.
An Engineer-in-Training (EIT) certificate is generally preferred for entry-level civil engineering jobs, and a Professional Engineer (PE) license is required for career advancement.
Getting an entry-level mechanical engineering job is a step towards a fulfilling career in the field.
Before you can take this step, you need to decide which job is right for you and what education and experience you’ll need to qualify.
This article has been reviewed by Sierra Gawlowski, PE
Sierra Gawlowski, PE, earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and is a licensed professional engineer in Washington State. She has worked for a private consulting engineering company as well as for public bodies. Sierra enjoys mentoring engineering students and junior staff. She also leads a project team for Engineers Without Borders and currently sits on the board of Kilowatts for Humanity.
Gawlowski is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Independent Assessment Network.
Last revised March 19, 2022.
Unless otherwise noted, salary data was taken from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics as of April 6, 2022.