Mechanical engineers help develop, build, and improve machines. In this major, you learn how machines work and about the energy needed to make them run. Mechanical Engineers are the people responsible for imagining and building machine tools, manufacturing equipment, vehicles and more. You will learn what makes planes fly and the physics that is involved in roller coasters. This major will allow you to discover the secrets behind mechanical devices.
Every school will have different requirements, but some courses you can expect to come across include: circuits and electronics, chemistry, statistics, dynamics, differential equations, thermodynamics, materials science, principle of design, principles of engineering, and fluid mechanics and aerodynamics.
In 2020-2021, mechanical engineering was the 21st most popular major nationwide with 46,178 degrees awarded. This represents a 3.1% reduction in ME degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 47,598.
Our 2023 Best Mechanical Engineering Schools ranking analyzes 313 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for mechanical engineering students. Explore this or one of our many other custom ME rankings further below.
If you are creative and like to design and build unique pieces of machinery this will be a great major for you. You must be willing to think outside the box while being precise and having attention to detail. This will help when you start to make new discoveries as you address complex problems. You will rely heavily on your math skills and apply these advanced topics of mathematics to help analyze and design your work.
Students will spend a good deal of time working on group projects, studying in the library or writing up lab reports and research papers. Most schools will require you work a co-op, so it may take you five years as undergraduate student to graduate instead of typical four years. This so you can learn the mechanical skills necessary to join the workforce and tackle real world problems.
New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Once you obtain your degree, additional ME certifications required to pursue a career in this field.
ME degree levels vary. You can get anything from a in mechanical engineering to the highest ME degree, a . The time it takes to complete a ME degree varies depending on the program.
|Degree||Credit Requirements||Typical Program Length|
|Associate Degree||60-70 credits||2 years|
|Bachelor’s Degree||120 credits||4 years|
|Master’s Degree||50-70 credits||1-3 years|
|Doctorate||Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation||At least 4 years|
A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to ME, with approximately 56.7% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to ME tend obtained the following education levels.
|Level of Education||Percentage of Workers|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||3.3%|
This of course varies depending on which ME career you choose.
This major will allow you to work in broad variety of fields. You could work with many diverse employers from NASA to large power plants to the biomedical field to environmental control to transportation. You could design tiny measuring instruments, large aircraft carriers or power plants.
It will be easier for you to obtain a job if you have experience with new software and recent technology.
Want a job when you graduate with your ME degree? Mechanical Engineering careers are expected to grow 8.6% between 2016 and 2026.
The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to mechanical engineering.
|Occupation Name||Projected Jobs||Expected Growth|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||190,000||5.5%|
Recently graduated mechanical engineering students earned an average of $68,998 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $36,383 to as high as $135,266. As you might expect, salaries for ME graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.
Salaries for mechanical engineering graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers ME grads often go into.
|Occupation Name||Median Average Salary|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||$148,970|
With over 903 different ME degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased ME school rankings to help you with this.
One of 40 majors within the Engineering area of study, Mechanical Engineering has other similar majors worth exploring.
|Related Major||Annual Graduates|