Mechanical engineers are concerned with the use, production, and transmission of mechanical power and heat. They design and develop power-producing machines such as internal combustion engines, steam and gas turbines, and jet and rocket engines. They also design and develop power-using machines such as refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, robots, machine tools, materials handling systems, and industrial production equipment.
The work of mechanical engineers varies by industry and function. Many specialties have developed within the field; they include motor vehicles; energy conversion systems; heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning; instrumentation; and special machines for industries such as petroleum, rubber, plastics, and construction.
Mechanical engineers held about 231,000 jobs in 1990. Over 3 out of 5 jobs were in manufacturing--most in the machinery, transportation equipment, electrical equipment, and fabricated metal products industries. career and engineering consulting services and government agencies provided most of the remaining jobs.
Employment opportunities for mechanical engineers are expected to be good. Their employment is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupation through the year 2000 as the demand for machinery and machine tools grows and industrial machinery and processes become increasingly complex. Mechanical engineers also will be needed to develop new energy and defense systems. Despite this expected employment growth, however, most job openings will result from the need to replace mechanical engineers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.
Sources of Additional Information
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 345 E. 47th St., New York, N.Y. 10017.