Mechanical Engineering
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Overview
Mechanical engineering is a program that prepares individuals to apply mathematical and scientific principles to the design, development and operational evaluation of physical systems used in manufacturing and end-product systems used for specific uses, including machine tools, jigs and other manufacturing equipment; stationary power units and appliances; engines; self-propelled vehicles; housings and containers; hydraulic and electric systems for controlling movement; and the integration of computers and remote control with operating systems.
Current award levels
Hover over the bars below to see how many people across the country completed a degree in mechanical engineering at each level last year.
010K20K30K40K50K0-1 Year Certificate1-2 Year CertificateAssociate's DegreeBachelor's DegreePostbaccalaureate CertMaster's DegreePost-master's CertProfessional Deg/DoctResearch Doctorate
Race/origin of recent graduates
Here is an overview of race/origin for all mechanical engineering graduates from this last academic year. We found a higher percentage of international graduates in this program than in 86% of other programs.
Race/Origin
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Not Reported
International
Context: Percentage of Minority Graduates
Minority students comprise a lower percentage of graduates than in 47% of other programs.
Gender
Of all people with any degree in mechanical engineering earned in the last academic year, 14% were women.
Gender
Men
Women
Context: Percentage women
This is a lower percentage of women than 83% of other programs.
Salary
The Census Bureau provides salary data for people with bachelor's degrees in mechanical engineering.
Context: Median Salary
People with a degree in mechanical engineering have a median salary of $89,188.
Context: Benefit of a master's
About 39% of these bachelor's graduates also have a graduate degree, perhaps in a different field. Salaries improved by approximately 24% over those holding only the bachelor's degree for those with subsequent graduate degrees.
Employment
All of the following employment data applies to people holding a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.
Context: Unemployment Rate
With an unemployment rate of 2.4%, this degree's majors who are in the workforce are more likely to be employed than the bachelor's graduates of 76% of other fields.
Context: Self Employed Workers
About 7% of workers who earned a bachelor's in mechanical engineering are self-employed.
Top careers
Following are the most frequent jobs held by people who earned a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, perhaps followed by additional education in any field. There is a fun exploration of related degrees and careers under Explore Careers below.
Similar programs
Completions History
Salary and Employment for Majors
Understanding this data
This section's data applies to people with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering

This section is informed by household surveys collected by the US Census Bureau in its American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS tells us all about the individuals surveyed -- education level, age, career, salary, home, etc. -- and includes the field of degree for people who earned a bachelor's degree. All of the data that follows is for individuals who earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, although we're also able to see the level of education the individuals attained. All higher degrees could have been in any field.

Employment overview
Percentage of mechanical engineering bachelor's graduates who are working

Does getting a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering lead to a secure job? The donut chart shows the percentage mechanical engineering majors who are working along with a broad view of where they work. We note:

  • Self-employed workers include those working in a family-owned business.
  • Government workers can be in local, state or federal governments.

Technically, about 11.1% of mechanical engineering graduates are currently not working. However, only 2.4% are classified as "unemployed," while 8.7% are "not in the workforce." Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing whether people are out of the workforce for personal reasons or because they have been unable to find work for an extended period.

89%
Percentage working by type of employer
Government
Federal government
State government
Local government
Self-employed
Self Emp. Incoporated
Self Emp. Not Incorp.
Private not-for-profit
Private for-profit
total
Context: Unemployment rates

This chart lets you see whether mechanical engineering majors have better unemployment rates than bachelor's graduates from other fields. In the shaded box plot, the percentage of unemployed with this degree is shown in blue, along with the distribution of the percentage of unemployed graduates for each bachelor's degree field.

2.4%0.0%1.0%2.0%3.0%4.0%5.0%
Salary overview
Typical salaries for mechanical engineering majors

How does the median (middle) salary for mechanical engineering majors compare to the median salaries for other majors? The chart below compares the median salaries for all bachelor's graduates by major. Here and everywhere that we discuss salary, we limit the population to those with bachelor's degrees who report working at least 35 hours a week and are aged 65 and younger.

Context: median salaries
$89,188$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000
Distribution: Salaries by Employer

Above we compared the median salaries earned across college majors. Now we'll view the full salary range for mechanical engineering majors. The charts below show the full distribution of salaries for this degree alone, with a look at how the type of employer might affect that salary. This salary includes all people who may also have received graduate education in this or any field. You can tease out the importance of graduate education in the last tab in the section.

$92K$75K$81K$75K$99K$74K$48K$89K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250KPrivate for-profit (79.3% )Local government (2.0% )Self Emp. Incoporated (4.3% )Private not-for-profit (3.8% )Federal government (5.5% )State government (2.6% )Self Emp. Not Incorp. (2.6% )Overall (100%)

Note that we do not include salary data when the survey standard error is higher than 20% of the salary. Therefore, some categories may be missing or may only provide partial salary ranges. To provide salary breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, age, and other factors. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of these characteristics on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

The battle of the sexes
Gender and success for mechanical engineering majors

The donut chart shows the gender balance for all people with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. In the graphs that follow, we'll explore how these percentages compare to other bachelor's holders, and we'll also investigate the impact of gender on pay.

Gender
Men (91%)
Women (9%)
Context: Gender representation

How does the gender balance change according to college major? In the chart below, we see that mechanical engineering has more men than most other degrees.

9%91%0%20%40%60%80%100%WomenMen
Distribution: salaries by gender

The chart below shows the distribution of salaries by gender of mechanical engineering majors who are working 35 or more hours and are 65 or younger. If salaries are balanced for men and women, the blue and pink bars will be about the same. Many programs' graduates struggle with men's wages higher at all points of the salary distribution, including significantly higher top salaries.

$91K$80K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250KWomenMen
Context: Salary inequity

For mechanical engineering graduates, men generally earn 13% more than women. This is better than many: 90% of programs have graduates with higher salary inequities.

13%13%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Age and Advancement
Insights from the ages of mechanical engineering bachelor's-holders

The ages of people in the US with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering can give us a hint about whether this degree is in-fashion or out-of-fashion. A higher percentage of older people with a degree suggests that newer degree options have edged out this degree for recent graduates. Likewise, a higher percentage of younger people with a degree may suggest that this degree has become more popular in recent years.

Careeer Advancement

What entry-level pay should you expect in your first job, and is the mid-level pay significantly higher? Below we see salary distributions by age group for mechanical engineering graduates who are working 35 or more hours weekly. Is there room for advancement in careers that stem from this degree?

$108K$106K$83K$98K$69K$105K$103K$48K$95K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KSalaries by age20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
020K40K60K80K100KNumber with major20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Note that we do not include salary data when the survey standard error is higher than 20% of the salary. Therefore, some categories may be missing or may only provide partial salary ranges. To provide salary breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, age, and other factors. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of these characteristics on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Need for higher degrees
Is a bachelor's degree all you need?

Can mechanical engineering majors earn a high salary without obtaining a graduate degree? Below, we dive into the prevalence of graduate degrees for mechanical engineering majors, and we explore how much a graduate degree can be expected to increase salaries. Among all mechanical engineering completions reported last year, 99% were at the bachelor's level or higher, including 23% at the graduate level.

Most recent completions in mechanical engineering
0-1 Year Certificate
1-2 Year Certificate
2-4 Year Certificate
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Postbaccalaureate Cert
Master's Degree
Post-master's Cert
Professional Deg/Doct
Research Doctorate
Other Doctorate
Context: Graduate degrees in any field by undergraduate ACS degree

The donut shows the degree levels awarded in mechanical engineering today. Now we'll use American Community Survey (ACS) data and look at all workers in the US who majored in mechanical engineering when in college.

We know that about 39% mechanical engineering majors chose to also earn a graduate degree (but we do not know the graduate field of study). The percentage of mechanical engineering majors also earned a graduate degree is near the middle in comparison to other fields.

39%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: mechanical engineering majors' salaries by education level

We saw above that 39% earned a graduate degree after earning a bachelor's in mechanical engineering, but was this necessary for earning a good salary? We can see this answer in two ways. First, we can see the salary distribution for people with a bachelor's in mechanical engineering by their highest education attained. Remember, we only know the field for the bachelor's degree; the graduate degree can be in any field.

$82K$102K$109K$93K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KBachelor's DegreeMaster's DegreeResearch DoctorateProfessional Deg/Doct

Note that we do not include salary data when the survey standard error is higher than 20% of the salary. Therefore, some categories may be missing or may only provide partial salary ranges. To provide salary breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, age, and other factors. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of these characteristics on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Context: Percentage boost obtained with a graduate degree

The second way that we can explore the impact of higher education on salary is to compare median salaries for workers with each level of education. We measure the percentage increase over the bachelor's salary that each higher degree achieved, and contrast that with similar measurements for other fields.

Sure, we think a higher degree would almost always help salary, but are there some majors that "need" a higher degree (in either the same or a new field) more than others in order to reach their earnings potential?

24%32%14%0%50%100%150%Bachelor's to Master'sBachelor's to Research DoctorateBachelor's to Professional Doctorate
Explore Careers
Careers for mechanical engineering majors
Careers for mechanical engineering majors

Here we look at ACS survey respondents across the US with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, and we see their top careers. You can explore the salary distributions for all people in those careers, as well as the typical education help by workers in that job. If you see ** before the job name, that tells you that the Department of Education recommends this job for people with a degree in mechanical engineering. We did not find always find a strong correlation between that advice and where people were working.

Career
Select any column header to sort by that column, and select any row to explore that career.
Salary
Salary distribution 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Percentage with degree who are in job
**Mechanical engineers
$0$200K$83K
12.7%
Engineers (specialized areas)
$0$200K$90K
9.0%
Managers (specialized areas)
$0$200K$72K
9.0%
Applications and systems software developers
$0$200K$96K
3.6%
**Architectural and engineering managers
$0$200K$121K
3.5%
Industrial engineers
$0$200K$77K
3.4%
Civil engineers
$0$200K$81K
3.4%
**Aerospace engineers
$0$200K$101K
3.3%
Chief executives and legislators
$0$200K$96K
2.4%
**Postsecondary teachers
$0$200K$62K
1.8%
Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives
$0$200K$61K
1.6%
General and operations managers
$0$200K$67K
1.5%
Computer and information systems managers
$0$200K$99K
1.4%
Management analysts
$0$200K$76K
1.4%
Electrical and electronics engineers
$0$200K$93K
1.2%
Marketing and sales managers
$0$200K$74K
1.1%
Chemical engineers
$0$200K$96K
1.1%
Construction managers
$0$200K$66K
1.1%
Designers
$0$200K$51K
1.1%
Lawyers, judges, and magistrates
$0$200K$93K
1.0%
Other routes to the top ten careers
Other majors that are hired by the top ten mechanical engineering careers

Take a minute with this sankey diagram, and use your mouse/touch to explore. You can follow the top ten jobs held by mechanical engineering graduates, and then, in turn, you can see the largest 10 degrees hired by each of those careers. We hope this gives you a glimpse at where you can most realistically hope to get a job with this degree, but also see alternatives for the same employment options. It's worth noting that for many degrees, the top ten jobs don't account for even half of the graduates. The data warns us / encourages us that a degree is only one piece of the puzzle that determines where we land.

This Degree
Top 10 careers
Top 10 degrees hired
Mechanical EngineeringGeneral EngineeringElectrical EngineeringIndustrial and Manufacturing EngineeringBusiness Management and AdministrationMechanical Engineering Related TechnologiesAerospace EngineeringChemical EngineeringGeneral BusinessCivil EngineeringComputer SciencePhysicsComputer EngineeringAccountingPsychologyPolitical Science and GovernmentEconomicsMarketingFinanceGeneral Computer and Information SystemsMathematicsConstruction ServicesArchitectural EngineeringSpecialized Program in EngineeringIndustrial Production TechnologiesBiologyCommunicationsEnglish Language and LiteratureNursingChemistryGeneral EducationHistoryMechanical engineersEngineers (specializedareas)Managers (specializedareas)Architectural andengineering managersApplications and systemssoftware developersAerospace engineersCivil engineersIndustrial engineersChief executives andlegislatorsPostsecondary teachersAll others
Jobs that choose mechanical engineering majors
What careers hire mechanical engineering majors as one of their top 10?

What jobs are especially seeking you out? The previous section let you explore the top ten jobs for people who earn bachelor's degrees in this field. Now we turn the tables a bit. What jobs have mechanical engineering as one of the top ten majors they hire? Take this with a grain of salt, though, since some majors have more than 100,000 annual graduates and others have only a few thousand. Maybe employers would hire more of certain low-number majors if they could be found. In the bottom Sankey box, we show you the proportion of mechanical engineering majors that are accounted for by the top 10 jobs -- there are a myriad of other options for most majors.

Careers where this degree is a top 10 hire
Degrees
Mechanical engineersBiomedical and agricultural engineersIndustrial production managersAdministrative services managersCivil engineersGeneral and operations managersMaterials engineersAstronomers and physicistsPetroleum, mining and geological engineersAerospace engineersComputer and information research scientistsArchitectural and engineering managersComputer hardware engineersMarine engineers and naval architectsAtmospheric and space scientistsAircraft pilots and flight engineersComputer and information systems managersEmergency management directorsApplications and systems software developersElectrical and electronics engineersChemical engineersManagers (specialized areas)Engineers (specialized areas)Physical scientists (specialized areas)Environmental engineersDesignersSales engineersIndustrial engineersMilitary officer special and tactical operations leadersAll other careersMechanical EngineeringAll other degrees
Where can I complete this program?
What schools offer this program?
Explore schools that offer mechanical engineering degrees and certificates

We've created a list of schools that offer this program for the level you select. We've also chosen a few facts about each school that give you an idea of the educational quality each school might offer:

  • Student-Faculty Ratio: A small number of students per full-time instructor suggests individual attention for each student and an up-to-date curriculum.

  • Satisfaction Rate: A high percentage of returning first-year students should correlate with satisfaction (schools call this their retention rate).

  • Repayment Rate: A high repayment rate means most alumni earn enough to make progress repaying loans within 7 years of leaving.

We also show the total enrollment for the school as measured by full-time-equivalent (FTE) students enrolled annually. You can filter the list by award level and by state. Clicking on any table headers will sort the table by that column, and clicking on any row sends you to Ididio's school profile.

Filter Schools
Offering this program at this level
All levels
Only schools in these states
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Only schools within
200 Miles
of
361 schools offer this program (all levels) in the selected area.
School
State
Total enrollment
Student to Full-time Faculty Ratio
Average Net Price
Repayment Rate
6-year Completion Rate
Alabama A & M University
AL
4,307
19.8
$15,812
38%
37%
Alfred University
NY
1,877
17.0
$21,566
83%
63%
Anderson University
IN
1,744
18.6
$24,005
74%
58%
Arizona State University - Tempe
AZ
43,108
24.9
$12,947
69%
67%
Arkansas State University - Main Campus
AR
8,936
24.2
$13,420
55%
47%
Arkansas Tech University
AR
8,340
24.4
$11,510
59%
49%
Auburn University
AL
22,392
20.3
$22,613
82%
73%
Baker College
MI
12,700
65.5
$12,983
42%
12%
Baylor University
TX
14,598
16.2
$37,745
82%
74%
Bellevue College
WA
10,711
57.0
$7,337
69%
37%
Benedictine College
KS
2,079
19.0
$24,766
84%
72%
Big Bend Community College
WA
1,869
38.9
$6,266
56%
42%
Binghamton University
NY
14,441
23.4
$16,775
83%
82%
Boise State University
ID
14,469
22.0
$13,363
65%
45%
Boston University
MA
21,496
17.8
$33,728
90%
84%
Bradley University
IL
4,344
16.6
$25,857
84%
76%
Brigham Young University - Idaho
ID
43,000
78.9
$7,727
83%
53%
Brigham Young University - Provo
UT
30,924
27.6
$12,979
89%
63%
Bucknell University
PA
3,727
9.1
$37,817
97%
90%
CUNY City College
NY
10,918
22.9
$4,164
58%
42%
Graduate program details
Explore mechanical engineering graduate program details

Many schools provide information to Peterson's about their graduate programs, and Ididio has licensed that data to share with you. The data is reported by program name and subject, and we have worked to match that data with the standard "CIP" titles that are the basis of these program pages. Please be aware that only a subset of all possible graduate programs share the details about financial support and admissions numbers with Peterson's. To see a complete list of schools who have graduated students with this degree, the previous section is much more reliable; however, this is a great place to look for a hint of schools that may offer financial support. You can see more details about each school's graduate programs in the Programs Offered section within that school's Ididio page.

Filter Schools
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Program
State
Total applicants
Percentage Admitted
Application Fee
Grad students with aid
Arizona State University - Tempe
Program in Engineering Technology (Master of Science)
AZ
$70
California State Polytechnic University - Pomona
Program in Mechanical Engineering (Master of Science)
CA
65
63%
$55
Drexel University
Program in Telecommunications Engineering (Master of Science in Electrical Engineering)
PA
$50
Duke University
Master of Engineering Program (Master of Engineering)
NC
298
44%
$75
Florida Institute of Technology
Program in Mechanical Engineering (Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy)
FL
380
40%
$0
Gannon University
Program in Mechanical Engineering (Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering)
PA
242
67%
$25
Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus
Program in Mechanical Engineering (Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering, Master of Science in Molecular Pathology, Master of Science, Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering)
GA
$75
Johns Hopkins University
Part-time Program in Mechanical Engineering (Master of Mechanical Engineering)
MD
68
69%
$0
Manhattan College
Program in Mechanical Engineering (Master of Science)
NY
31
84%
$60
8
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Program in Mechanical Engineering (Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy)
NC
$55
Old Dominion University
Program in Mechanical Engineering (Doctor of Engineering, Master of Engineering, Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy)
VA
67
76%
$50
18
Oregon State University
Program in Environmental Engineering (Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Engineering)
OR
$75
Oregon State University
Program in Mechanical Engineering (Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Engineering, Master of Science)
OR
$75
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Program in Aeronautical Engineering (Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Engineering, Master of Science)
NY
69
38%
$75
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Program in Mechanical Engineering (Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Engineering, Master of Science, Master of Engineering)
NY
212
33%
$75
Explore similar programs

Mechanical Engineering is part of a larger collection of programs: Engineering. Is there a different program that's close to Mechanical Engineering that might be a better match for your interests? You can use this table to see a little about the programs that fall under this umbrella. If you click on any of the table headers, that will sort the table by that column, or click on a row and see Ididio's profile for that program.

Program
Graduates
Award Levels
Less than Bachelor's
Bachelor's
Graduate
Gender
Men
Women
Race/Origin
White
Minority
International
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