Mechanical engineering technicians provide technical support to mechanical engineers in producing and manufacturing mechanical machinery. They help make designs and adjustments and perform tests. They also develop layouts and drawings, collate and interpret data and write reports.
Mechanical engineering technicians typically perform the following duties:
- Evaluate specifications in design drawings before adding or replacing tools
- Prepare layouts and drawings of the assembly process and parts to be made, usually using three-dimensional design software
- Recommend cost-effective changes in equipment design to improve reliability and safety
- Review instructions and blueprints to ensure that project plans follow test specifications and procedures and meet objectives
- Plan, produce, and assemble mechanical parts for products, such as industrial equipment
- Set up and conduct tests of complete units and their components and record results
- Compare test results with design specifications and with test objectives and recommend changes, if needed, in products or test methods
- Make calculations for business estimates, such as of labor costs and equipment lifespan
The following job titles also refer to mechanical engineering technician:
engineering technical apprentice
mechanical engineering inspector
mechanical engineering technical operator
mechanical engineering system inspector
engineering technical manager
engineering test supervisor
Mechanical engineering technicians primarily work in research and development and product manufacturing. Some technicians, particularly those working in factories, are exposed to hazards from equipment, chemicals, or toxic materials. However, their risk of injury or illness is low if they follow procedures.
Most mechanical engineering technicians work full-time.
Mechanical engineering technicians typically need an associate’s degree in mechanical engineering or a related field or a certificate from a community college or vocational–technical school. Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have completed a bachelor’s degree.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Mechanical engineering technician is a Skill level 3 occupation.
Mechanical engineering technician career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to mechanical engineering technician.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of mechanical engineering technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of mechanical engineering technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of mechanical engineering technician.
- Engineering principles: The engineering elements like functionality, replicability, and costs in relation to the design and how they are applied in the completion of engineering projects.
- Mathematics: Mathematics is the study of topics such as quantity, structure, space, and change. It involves the identification of patterns and formulating new conjectures based on them. Mathematicians strive to prove the truth or falsity of these conjectures. There are many fields of mathematics, some of which are widely used for practical applications.
- Principles of mechanical engineering: Understand principles of mechanical engineering, physics, and materials science.
- Engineering processes: The systematic approach to the development and maintenance of engineering systems.
- CAE software: The software to perform computer-aided engineering (CAE) analysis tasks such as Finite Element Analysis and Computional Fluid Dynamics.
- Mechanical engineering: Discipline that applies principles of physics, engineering and materials science to design, analyse, manufacture and maintain mechanical systems.
- Mechanics: Theoretical and practical applications of the science studying the action of displacements and forces on physical bodies to the development of machinery and mechanical devices.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of mechanical engineering technician.
- Use a computer: Utilise computer equipment or digital devices to facilitate quality control, data management, and communication. Follow instructions given by a computer programme, create computer files or documents.
- Troubleshoot: Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.
- Adjust engineering designs: Adjust designs of products or parts of products so that they meet requirements.
- Analyse test data: Interpret and analyse data collected during testing in order to formulate conclusions, new insights or solutions.
- Design engineering components: Design engineering parts, assemblies, products, or systems.
- Read engineering drawings: Read the technical drawings of a product made by the engineer in order to suggest improvements, make models of the product or operate it.
- Liaise with engineers: Collaborate with engineers to ensure common understanding and discuss product design, development and improvement.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of mechanical engineering technician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Health and safety in the workplace: The body of rules, procdeures and regulations related to safety, health and welfare of people in their workplace.
- Material mechanics: The behaviour of solid objects when subjected to stresses and strains, and the methods to calculate these stresses and strains.
- Technical drawings: Drawing software and the various symbols, perspectives, units of measurement, notation systems, visual styles and page layouts used in technical drawings.
- Nuclear energy: The generation of electrical energy through the use of nuclear reactors, by converting the energy released from nuclei of atoms in reactors which generate heat. This heat subsequently generates steam which can power a steam turbine to generate electricity.
- Fluid mechanics: The characteristics and properties of fluids, including gases, liquids and plasmas, at rest and in motion, and the forces on them.
- CAD software: The computer-aided design (CAD) software for creating, modifying, analysing or optimising a design.
- Blueprints: Must be able to read and understand blueprints, drawings and plans and maintain simple written records.
- Technical terminology: Type of language used in a certain context, containing terms that have a meaning specific to a particular group or activity, such as in industry, medicine, or law.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of mechanical engineering technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Manage supplies: Monitor and control the flow of supplies that includes the purchase, storage and movement of the required quality of raw materials, and also work-in-progress inventory. Manage supply chain activities and synchronise supply with demand of production and customer.
- Order supplies: Command products from relevant suppliers to get convenient and profitable products to purchase.
- Record test data: Record data which has been identified specifically during preceding tests in order to verify that outputs of the test produce specific results or to review the reaction of the subject under exceptional or unusual input.
- Use computer-aided engineering systems: Use computer-aided engineering software to conduct stress analyses on engineering designs.
- Perform test run: Perform tests putting a system, machine, tool or other equipment through a series of actions under actual operating conditions in order to assess its reliability and suitability to realise its tasks, and adjust settings accordingly.
- Create technical plans: Create detailed technical plans of machinery, equipment, tools and other products.
- Oversee quality control: Monitor and assure the quality of the provided goods or services by overseeing that all the factors of the production meet quality requirements. Supervise product inspection and testing.
- Read standard blueprints: Read and comprehend standard blueprints, machine, and process drawings.
- Ensure equipment availability: Ensure that the necessary equipment is provided, ready and available for use before start of procedures.
- Use testing equipment: Use equipment to test performance and operation of machinery.
- Perform maintenance on installed equipment: Perform the maintenance on installed equipment on-site. Follow procedures to avoid uninstalling equipment from machinery or vehicles.
- Monitor nuclear power plant systems: Control nuclear plant systems, such as ventilation and water draining systems, to ensure proper functioning and identify irregularities.
- Maintain power plants: Repair and perform routine maintenance on equipment and systems in power plants to ensure that everything functions safely and is compliant with legislation.
- Use CAD software: Use computer-aided design (CAD) systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimisation of a design.
- Interpret technical requirements: Analyse, understand and apply the information provided regarding technical conditions.
- Assess operating cost: Estimate the operating cost in terms of manpower, consumables and maintenance.
- Analyse production processes for improvement: Analyse production processes leading toward improvement. Analyse in order to reduce production losses and overall manufacturing costs.
ISCO group and title
3115 – Mechanical engineering technicians
- Mechanical engineering technician – ESCO
- Mechanical Engineering Technologists and Technicians : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Featured image: By PEO ACWA – Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant Mechanical Technician, CC BY 2.0