Mechanical Engineering Jobs provide veterans with a wide range of industries and job titles in which they can apply their skills. Nearly every minute of the day, we’re surrounded by products which were either designed, built, or tested by mechanical engineers. From energy generation and distribution to robotics and automated manufacturing, the opportunities are countless.
Like veterans, mechanical engineers must be highly flexible and capable of both detailed planning and creative thinking in order to find solutions to ever-changing challenges. Service members interested in this field don’t have to have a background in a mechanical career field, but it certainly helps. It’s also handy to either have an innate aptitude for math and physics, or the willingness to study hard and learn. Because such fields of study definitely play heavily in this world of problem solving and three dimensional design!
Another trait of successful mechanical engineers is the ability to work well in team environments while forming multidisciplinary relationships with coworkers in order to achieve end objectives. Sounds like you, right? It should! Few employers offer as much practical experience in cross-collaboration with workers in other fields as the military.
This is one of the reasons why vets often refer to the military as one big “family.” And that’s also one of the main elements veterans miss in their civilian jobs. Mechanical engineering is an area where you’ll get to collaborate with design engineers or product design engineers, making friends and getting to know and build relationships with the people you see regularly at work.
If this all sounds interesting to you, then let’s get the scoop on the job market.
Outlook on the Mechanical Engineering Jobs Market
The U.S. Bureau of Labor predicts mechanical engineering jobs will grow 9 percent through 2026, which is higher than average. Clearly the need for qualified engineers is expected to go up in the near future because as manual labor processes become increasingly automated, the world will require people to develop and maintain those automated systems (at least until we have enough artificially intelligent systems which can maintain themselves). So this is something to strongly consider if you’re planning to go back to college but aren’t sure what to major in.
The national median annual salary is $88,000, with the low end still earning around $55,000. Not bad! On the high end, earnings go up to $133,000. Some engineers go on to earn their doctoral degrees and take positions as university faculty, earning as much as $200,000 a year or more once they receive tenure.
Whatever your objective, mechanical engineering offers plenty chances for success to dedicated veterans who are willing to put their minds to work.
Gearing Up to Be a Mechanical Engineer
Many service members have the perfect blend of people skills to make them ideal candidates for mechanical engineering jobs. Whether you are designing cars or staplers, a lot of the soft skills you’ll carry over from the military will serve you well in this area. But let’s get to the educational requirement.
Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest fields of work in human existence. As technology marches on relentlessly, so do the requirements to understand mechanical engineering principles. From “mechanics, dynamics, thermodynamics, materials science, structural analysis, and electricity,” to being able to work with computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing, you can see that this cerebral area of work is not for the intellectually complacent.
Veterans working as mechanical engineers may be called up to test, manufacture, operate, research, market, or administer processes during their work day. Thus a rock solid understanding of core math and science are fundamental to starting out. Knowing a bit about computer science may be useful, as well as calculus, physics, and even chemistry. If these were not your strong areas in high school or college, that’s okay…but you’ll need to develop them more. You can use Tuition Assistance to work on your college degree while still on Active Duty, or your G.I. Bill after you get out. Or, if you already have the required undergrad degree, it may be worthwhile to knock out your master’s to qualify for an even bigger paycheck.
Aside from a degree, you’ll also need the ability to convey your thoughts in well-written communication, realizing that people have to be able to understand the technical nuances of what you are writing.
Companies Hiring Mechanical Engineers
AECOM: AECOM is built to deliver a better world. They design, build, finance and operate infrastructure assets for governments, businesses and organizations in more than 150 countries.
American Water: American Water, a trusted steward of our most precious resource, treats and delivers more than one billion gallons of water to residential, commercial and institutional customers.
APi Group: APi Group Inc. is a multi-billion-dollar parent company to more than 40 independently managed life safety, energy, specialty construction and infrastructure companies.
DynCorp: DynCorp International is a leading global services provider offering unique, tailored solutions for an ever-changing world.
Eaton: Eaton is dedicated to improving people’s lives and the environment with power management technologies that are more reliable, efficient, safe and sustainable.
FirstEnergy: Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, FirstEnergy includes one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems.
IBM: IBM mathematicians, coders, and web designers contribute to creativity in the kitchen (Watson!), rerouting traffic jams, even designing the next generation fan experience in sports stadiums around the world.
Koch: Koch Industries, Inc. started in the heartland and has expanded to become one of the nation’s largest private companies with 70,000 U.S. employees and locations in nearly every state.
Norfolk Southern: Norfolk Southern Corporation is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies specializing in freight railroading.
Shell Oil Company: Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemicals companies with over 93,000 employees in more than 70 countries
*Companies appearing in this article are paid advertisers