April 19, 2017
Entry-Level Mechanical Engineering Job Guide
Many full-time mechanical engineers that are recent graduates are expert problem solvers. They enjoy creating physical devices or products that enable people to do the things that they want to do.
What is an Entry-Level Mechanical Engineer?
At larger companies, entry-level mechanical engineers are often specialized and working on a single critical component of a far larger machine. For example, an engineer at Ford might work solely on the crash beam for a car to ensure it holds up appropriately in a collision and meets the needs of the industrial designers. At a smaller company, a medical device startup for example, an entry-level engineer might be simultaneously working with everyone on the team to refine an entirely new device.
Common Responsibilities of Entry-Level Mechanical Engineers
Some primary tasks include things like:
- Researching problems to solve.
- Sketching out possible solutions to the problem.
- Using Solidworks and similar modeling software to flesh out possible solutions.
- Constructing physical prototypes of devices or mechanisms.
- Testing the quality and success of the prototyped contraptions.
- Presenting or sharing test results and ideas with other engineers, industrial designers, product, and business team members.
- Overseeing the actual construction of the products they’ve designed.
- Seeking out feedback and iteratively improving their solutions.
Types of Entry-Level Mechanical Engineering Jobs
As you can see, there are quite a few different tasks that beginning engineers can be asked to do. When you consider that larger companies will often require specialization into a single task, it’s obvious that there are quite a few different types of entry-level roles for mechanical engineers.
- Mechanical Design Engineer
- Product Quality Engineer
- Automation Engineer
- Test Engineer
- Project Engineer
- Sales Engineer
The median salary for entry-level mechanical engineers is $63,792.
The range is $49,430 – $81,029.
Location is one the largest factors in calculating salary, so it’s particularly helpful to consider the entire salary range.
The Bureau of Labor expects the number of mechanical engineering jobs to grow by 5% (about average) over the next 10 years.
Who Typically Gets These Jobs
Every year, we survey over 20,000 students and recent grads in an effort to understand the internship and entry-level job market. Based on the results of our State of Hiring report, the students or recent graduates that apply to these entry-level jobs have several things in common:
- They are pursuing or have gotten at least a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering or Product Design. Occasionally, Electrical Engineering majors will pursue and get hired into Mechanical Engineering jobs.
- Most applicants to mechanical engineering positions are looking to work at mid-size companies.
- San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and San Diego are the most popular destination for engineering grads.
- They tend to be very career oriented. Not many mechanical engineering majors are looking for jobs other than those found under the Mechanical Engineering umbrella.
- 25% of graduating seniors majoring in engineering have no internship experience.
- Over 45% of seniors majoring in engineering have taken an online course related to their major.
Related Entry-Level Fields
Even though it’s unlikely that Mechanical Engineering majors seek jobs outside of their major, it does happen. When they do go outside, here are the areas they’re most likely to look at:
- It never hurts to brush up on a few mechanical engineering topics. You can take a few online courses to get back in the swing of things.
- For more salary information, head over to Payscale.
- For more advice on starting your entry-level job search, check out our guide!
- And finally, to prepare for an entry-level job interview, prepare for the top 20 entry-level job interview questions.