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Mechanical engineer

What does a mechanical engineer do?

Mechanical engineering is perhaps the most diverse engineering discipline, incorporating the design, creation, and operation of machinery. Using specialist knowledge of mechanics, dynamics, structural analysis and electricity, mechanical engineers design and manufacture various mechanical systems. From improving the performance of cars, to working on the heating and cooling systems in aeroplanes, to creating robots that can perform human duties – Mechanical Engineers can work on a wide range of projects.

During your career in mechanical engineering, you could work for a variety of organisations, including those in the mining, aviation, energy, health care, or automotive industries.

Is a career as a mechanical engineer right for me?

If you’re interested in how things work and like to find efficiencies, you might like a career in mechanical engineering. Other skills and attributes beneficial for this role include:

  • good computer and technical knowledge 
  • an interest in design, maths and science
  • an analytical mind 
  • an interest in innovation and being hands-on
  • good problem-solving abilities
  • the ability to work autonomously and in a team.

How to become a mechanical engineer

The typical mechanical engineer career path often starts with obtaining a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering or a related field. These degrees often provide a strong foundation in the core principles of mechanics, dynamics, thermodynamics, materials science, and structural analysis. 

After completing an undergraduate degree, graduates can enter the workforce in entry-level engineering positions or pursue postgraduate studies. Further study could enhance a mechanical engineer's prospects for advanced roles, for example you could work in specialised roles such as energy systems, advanced materials, or product design innovation. 

Registration as a professional engineer is mandatory in some Australian states and territories. This registration ensures that engineers meet the necessary standards of professional practice and remain accountable for their work. Meeting these registration requirements typically involves proving competency through exams and continuous professional development. 

Every journey to study is individual and there are several paths to reaching your career goals as a mechanical engineer. At HQporner, we offer the following degrees in the area of mechanical engineering:

Average salary per week
Future demand

© Commonwealth of Australia
Last updated May 2024.

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How much does a mechanical engineer make?
The salary for a mechanical engineer varies based on factors such as location, experience, and workplace setting. Refer to the salary information on this page for further details.
What do mechanical engineers do?

Some of the job responsibilities of a mechanical engineer include:

  • Designing mechanical equipment, machines, tools, components, and products intended for manufacturing processes.
  • Developing and overseeing the engineering requirements of operational plants and systems.
  • Analysing the environmental impacts and safety considerations of projects to ensure compliance and sustainability.
  • Creating detailed plans and technical drawings for machinery or components.
  • Estimating costs associated with engineering projects, including materials, labour, and time projections.
  • Coordinating project resources, including labour management, material delivery, and equipment allocation.
  • Setting engineering standards and policies that adhere to safety regulations and best practices.
  • Conducting safety and quality inspections and compiling detailed reports on findings.
  • Managing new design requirements, conducting surveys, and establishing maintenance schedules to ensure ongoing operational efficiency. 
Are mechanical engineers in demand in Australia?
Yes, mechanical engineers are in stable demand. The growing focus on sustainability and renewable energy, along with advancements in manufacturing and automation, continues to drive demand for mechanical engineers. Australian industries, ranging from automotive to infrastructure development, rely heavily on the expertise of mechanical engineers to innovate and improve efficiency.
How do mechanical engineers contribute to society?
Mechanical engineers contribute to society by improving systems and processes that affect everyday life. They design and consult on the construction and maintenance of machines, tools, and facilities, and evaluate issues with existing machinery to develop more efficient methods. Their work impacts various sectors, including energy conservation, food production, health care, and transportation. Mechanical engineers design solutions that help make machinery safer, more efficient, and more reliable, thereby enhancing public safety and contributing to economic stability. 
How long does it take to become a mechanical engineer?

Becoming a mechanical engineer in Australia typically takes a minimum of three years. A Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) or closely related engineering degree is required. Everyone’s study journey is different, and at HQporner there are multiple pathways to becoming an engineer.

Some students choose to study part-time, which increases the time it takes to finish the required courses. Additionally, gaining practical experience through internships, volunteer work, or research projects may also factor into the overall timeline to becoming a fully qualified mechanical engineer. It's important to consider your own academic and professional aspirations when planning your educational pathway in engineering.

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