mechanical engineering careers

Top Mechanical Engineering Careers for 2023

July 7, 2022 - Emily Newton

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If you’re exploring future career options, these mechanical engineering careers could be the perfect fit. Jobs in technical fields have been growing steadily over recent years. As robotics and automation gain even more popularity, this trend will continue in the years ahead. 

Mechanical engineering is among the most diverse and exciting technical fields out there. Those who put in the time and dedication to earn a mechanical engineering degree will have fascinating career options to choose from. What mechanical engineering careers will be both in-demand and highly rewarding for aspiring engineers? 

1. Manufacturing Engineer

Manufacturing engineers specialize in optimizing manufacturing processes, such as reducing waste or increasing efficiency. They help to design manufacturing systems, whether they be fully automated with robots or partially automated with conventional machinery. As opposed to a general logistics specialist, a manufacturing engineer will approach manufacturing optimization specifically from a technical perspective, using technology and engineering to find solutions. 

The industrial automation market will be worth over $350 billion by 2028, according to 2021 estimates. So, manufacturing engineers are likely to be in high demand in the years ahead as manufacturing becomes increasingly automated.

Any career in mechanical engineering will require at minimum a bachelor’s degree. Those who are interested in pursuing manufacturing engineering should try to take courses and internships in automation, robotics, and logistics to get started in this mechanical engineering career.

Similar careers in this field that do not require a bachelor’s degree include robotics and automation technicians. These fields are just as important as manufacturing engineering but only need an associate’s degree or trade school certificate. Technicians are in high-demand roles due to the booming adoption of industrial automation. 
The manufacturing industry is expected to have 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030 due to the skills gap. People with technical expertise can have a lot of opportunities in this niche, even without a four-year degree. 

2. Design Engineer

If you enjoy working on computers but don’t want to work in computer science, design engineering could be a great career for you. Design engineers research and develop product concepts into actual designs. CAD is a big part of a design engineer’s job, as well as prototyping. Today, virtually the entire design process from blueprints to modeling will happen on the computer in technical software. People who are creative and analytical with a good eye for detail are likely to do well in this type of role. 

The main skills and knowledge that design engineers need will be covered in general mechanical engineering degree programs, since blueprinting and modeling are core to the field. If you want to specialize in design, though, make sure to excel in CAD, blueprinting, and modeling classes. Take advanced courses in these topics if possible and take time to build a portfolio of engineering designs. A great way to do this while also having fun is creating 3D printer designs. You’ll get to practice your CAD modeling skills and get a real, physical creation to show off at the end of each project. 

3. Robotics Engineer

Few mechanical engineering careers are as in-demand as robotics engineering. The global robotics market has a staggering CAGR of 27.7% and is expected to value more than nearly $150 billion by 2030. 

This is a particularly great specialization for aspiring engineers who aren’t sure what niche they want to work in. From manufacturing to medicine to space exploration or even entertainment, a career in robotics engineering can take you virtually anywhere. This is a highly creative and exciting field, as well. You could design robot dinosaurs for a theme park, create the next robotic prosthetic limb, or work on a rover that will land on another planet. 

Robotics engineering has grown into more than a niche of mechanical engineering over recent years. Many colleges and universities will have a program specifically for robotics. This may be a minor to add onto a mechanical engineering degree or a specialized degree itself. Whichever the case, mechanical engineers who want to pursue robotics will need to show off their creativity and ingenuity to build a strong resume. Design competitions and internships are a great way to do this. 

4. Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineering is among the more intensive mechanical engineering careers on this list. Those pursuing a career in biomedical engineering will likely need to take additional coursework in medicine, biology, or nursing to build the knowledge base needed for this specialization. The median salary for a biomedical engineer is certainly high, though. In 2021, biomedical engineers were earning about $97,000 per year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Biomedical engineers specialize in applying mechanical engineering principles to biology and healthcare. They may design artificial organs or prosthetic limbs, for example, as well as countless other medical devices. Looking toward the future, robotics is likely to become an increasingly important part of the healthcare industry. The medical industry needs skilled biomedical engineers to develop technologies like robotic surgery and nanobots. 

Biomimicry is a similar engineering field that involves designing devices inspired by organic beings. Unlike biomedical engineering, this isn’t limited to items intended for medical purposes or inspired by the human body’s needs. For instance, a biomimicry engineer might study real salmon to apply the mechanics of tail movements to the propulsion system of a fish-inspired underwater robot. 

Biomimetic design is becoming increasingly popular due to its innovative solutions to robotics challenges. Robots are becoming more widely used, and people need them to do more complex tasks requiring new movement and interaction approaches. These solutions are often found in biomimetic engineering. 
Anyone interested in biology and engineering would likely enjoy a career in biomimicry engineering. Take a look at Boston Dynamics’ incredible robotic dog for a peek at what this field is like.

5. Nanotechnology Engineer

Nanotechnology is possibly the most futuristic of the mechanical engineering career fields on this list. It is still in its infancy as an industry, with most nanotechnology engineers focused on developing the first generation of functional nanobots. However, this staple of science fiction is well on its way to becoming the future of engineering, especially in medicine. 

For example, in May 2022, researchers from Northwestern University announced the development of a microscopic crab robot designed to help doctors conduct non-invasive surgeries one day. The robot is smaller than the edge of a penny. Nanotechnology engineers design robots like this and much more. There are dozens of incredible applications for nanotechnology. 

Nanotechnology is a great fit for mechanical engineers who want to work at the cutting edge of science and engineering. In addition to general mechanical engineering classes, coursework in advanced physics as well as biology and medicine is helpful in this field. 

6. Clean Energy Engineer

Younger aspiring engineers may be particularly interested in clean energy engineering, which focuses on developing renewable and environmentally friendly energy technologies. Gen-Z students have been flocking to environmental career fields in recent years, striving to help combat climate change. Clean energy engineers play an important role in that battle. Over the years ahead, they will be vital in crucial efforts to transition the world to more sustainable energy sources and infrastructure. 

Also known as renewable energy engineering, mechanical engineers in this field specialize in technologies like solar, wind, biofuel, and other energy technologies that don’t hurt our planet’s environment. You could help develop more efficient solar panels or car engines designed for clean biofuel. There is plenty of room for creativity and innovation in this important field of mechanical engineering careers. 

Clean energy engineering could be a great choice if you are interested in cars and transportation. Specialists could have a career designing the next generation of automobiles, trucks, planes and other vehicles. 
This doesn’t just include battery-powered electric vehicles, either. Other renewable energy technologies, like hydrogen fuel cells, show great potential but still need more development and innovation. Clean energy engineers could help develop these next-gen vehicles.

7. Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineering has long been one of the most popular mechanical engineering career fields, and for good reason. Engineers in this field get to design and develop aircraft, including planes, missiles, satellites, and today’s cutting-edge spacecraft technologies. From next-gen military drones to interplanetary rockets, aerospace engineering earns its place among the most exciting mechanical engineering careers. 

The 2020s are arguably the best time to be in aerospace engineering since the golden age of the Apollo missions. Private spaceflight companies like SpaceX are pushing the envelope in the aerospace industry with incredible feats of engineering and ambitious goals. NASA is also pursuing plans to send humans to the Moon and Mars over the 2020s and 2030s, so aspiring aerospace engineers have some truly thrilling career prospects. You could even become an astronaut yourself!

8. Entrepreneur

The best job for a mechanical engineer might be the job they create themselves. Engineers can make fantastic entrepreneurs. They are often great problem-solvers who take the initiative to develop their ideas from concept to completion. Their technical know-how allows them to do their own R&D and prototyping, a valuable edge in the business world. 

If you have an innovative idea for a product, system or service, consider applying your engineering degree to start a company around that idea. Engineers are often natural inventors, a talent that contributes to entrepreneurship. Even if you don’t have a product idea right now, taking at least one business elective while pursuing an engineering degree is a good idea. You never know when it might come in handy later. 

For example, the now-iconic Rolls-Royce car company was co-founded by an engineer, Henry Royce. His business partner, Charles Rolls, was a car dealer and brought business knowledge and marketing skills to the table. Royce provided the crucial mechanical expertise at the heart of their company.

Exploring Mechanical Engineering Careers

There are a diverse array of mechanical engineering careers today, each with its own fascinating niche. Whether you are looking to change careers or still in school, these top 7 mechanical engineering careers should be on your radar. Mechanical engineering requires technical creativity and dedication, but it is well worth the time and effort you’ll put in to earn your degree. These engineering specializations offer plenty of room for growth in the years ahead, coupled with exciting innovations on the horizon.

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Emily Newton

Emily Newton is a technology and industrial journalist and the Editor in Chief of Revolutionized. She enjoys reading and writing about how technology is changing the world around us.

1 Comment

  1. SURESH BABU RAO on January 28, 2023 at 9:09 pm

    Very nice details are given in this article about mechanical engineering. My son is pursuing final year mechanical engineering. I am planning to send MS an abroad from India. Now I got some good ideas after seeing this. Thank you so much.

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