What Do Mechanical Engineers Do?

Mechanical engineers are well-rounded, creative individuals who work on all kinds of mechanical, environmental, and materials-, fluids-, and heat-related problems.

As a mechanical engineer, you will use the principles of science, together with mathematics, to design and develop new materials, devices, processes, and systems – and to analyze, troubleshoot, and improve on existing ones.

As a mechanical engineering student at Oregon State University, you will build, create, and make partnerships with your fellow students and with industry sponsors.

You will apply your innovative problem-solving skills to a host of human endeavors, including (but certainly not limited to) energy conversion, health sciences, aerospace, transportation, and manufacturing. Almost every type of industry employs mechanical engineers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an annual median salary of $95,300 for mechanical engineers (2021 data).

Here are just a few examples of what you might be hired to do as a mechanical engineer:

  • Design computational toolboxes, hip replacement joints, or hydrofoil surfboards
  • Design wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, or other "green" energy sources
  • Create processes and instruments to assess stream and forest health
  • Build satellites, space stations, or autonomous vehicles
  • Develop new materials for medical and dental products or sports equipment
  • Design miniature heat pumps for use in protective clothing

For more information about the mechanical engineering profession, consult these links:

Explore the Mechanical Engineering Degree