Types of Degrees Mechanical Engineering Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many mechanical engineering graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Mechanical Engineering Majors Need to Know
People with careers related to ME were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.
Knowledge Areas for ME Majors
ME majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:
- Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
Skills for ME Majors
ME majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.
Abilities for ME Majors
Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a ME student include the following:
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
What Can You Do With a Mechanical Engineering Major?
Below is a list of occupations associated with ME:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||5.5%||$140,760|
|Fuel Cell Engineers||8.8%||$87,370|
Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of ME majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||1,111|
|Hispanic or Latino||4,003|
Students from other countries are interested in ME, too. About 9.5% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
How Much Do Mechanical Engineering Majors Make?
Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary
The median early-career salary of mechanical engineering students with a bachelor’s degree is $62,400 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $59,100 (25th percentile) and $65,475 (75th percentile).
Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a ME degree.
Salaries According to BLS
Average salaries range from $92,800 to $117,100 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to ME. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Mechanical Engineering
Some degrees associated with ME may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to ME have obtained the following education levels.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||0.5%|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||1.1%|
|Some College Courses||1.0%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||3.3%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||3.1%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||1.5%|
Online Mechanical Engineering Programs
In the 2017-2018 academic year, 391 schools offered some type of mechanical engineering program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||2||0|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||0||0|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||149||5|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||1||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||1||0|
Is a Degree in Mechanical Engineering Worth It?
The median salary for a ME grad is $113,680 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 185% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,475,600 after 20 years!
Majors Related to Mechanical Engineering
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to ME.
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
- Image Credit: By Michel Villeneuve under License
More about our data sources and methodologies.
Featured Engineering Schools
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