According to the US Department of Labor “mechanical engineers research, design, develop, manufacture, and test tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical devices. Engineers in this discipline work on power-producing machines such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines. They also work on power-using machines such as refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, machine tools, material-handling systems, elevators and escalators, industrial production equipment, and robots used in manufacturing. Some mechanical engineers design tools that other engineers need for their work.” The Mechanical Engineering Department has a video on Mechanical Engineering careers on its website. See what Columbia students have gone on to do with their degree with CCE’s What Can You Do With A Degree in Mechanical Engineering tipsheet.
According to the US Department of Labor, “practically every company that designs and produces a product employs mechanical engineers. Examples of industries where mechanical engineers are employed include automotive, aerospace, biotechnology, computers and electronics, energy conservation, environmental control, automation and manufacturing, and academia — in areas such as product design, research and development, testing, manufacturing, plant operation, consulting, sales, and research. Many graduates enter masters or doctoral programs.”
Top employers in the field include Boeing, Caterpillar, Ford, General Electric, General Motors, Honda R&D Americas, Northrop Grumman, Pratt and Whitney, Schlumberger, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Sloan Cornerstone Career Center hosts a list of other employers to explore.
Mechanical Engineering Job Search
While some large organizations may recruit in the Fall semester, many others will seek full-time hires on an “as needed” basis. The key is to start your search early so that you do not miss opportunities. Use resources like the professional associations listed below to apply to positions and seek out networking opportunities, attend our Engineering Career Fair and Engineering Industry Showcase, and pay attention to your departments’ emails. As engineers gain experience, they can advance to jobs with a wider scope of responsibility and higher pay. A bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering is usually the minimum educational requirement for entering this field. A master’s degree, or even a PhD, may be necessary to obtain some positions, such as those in research, teaching, and administration. Some of these higher-level jobs include technical service and development officers, team leaders, research directors, and managers. Some mechanical engineers use their technical knowledge in sales and marketing positions, while others form their own engineering business or consulting firm.
- What Can You Do With A Degree in Mechanical Engineering: See what Columbia students have done with their degree.
- Science Technology Engineering Internship Program (STEP) and other CCE sponsored international and national internship programs
- Career Fairs and Networking Events: Attend our career fairs and special events throughout the year including the Engineering Consortium Career Fair and Startup Career Fair.
- Engineering Industry Showcase: Held in the Spring semester, offers a panel session and networking opportunities with representatives from a variety of engineering disciplines.
- List of Leadership Development and Rotational Programs
- Vault & WetFeet guides: profiles industries, companies, and careers including: Industries and Careers for Engineers, Vault Guide to Top Manufacturing Employers, Vault Guide to Top Consumer Products Employers, Vault Guide to the Energy Industry
- Student Organizations: American Society of Mechanical Engineers at Columbia, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Columbia, Knickerbocker Motorsports
- Mechanical Engineering Department Website (includes access to contact alumni directly via e-mail and additional job opportunities)
- Student Research Involvement Program
- Information on the FE Exam (Students should find out from their academic advisor whether their desired career path requires EIT/PE certification)
- Fellowships for CC/SEAS, GS, and GSAS
- Mentornet, an online mentoring community in which Columbia University participates
- Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
- Institution of Mechanical Engineers
- Society of Experimental Mechanics
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
- Society of Manufacturing Engineers
- American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
- Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)
- The National Council of Examiners for Engineering
- International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE)
- Pathways to Science: To find programs such as undergraduate summer research opportunities, graduate fellowships, postdoctoral positions, as well as resources and materials pertaining to recruitment, retention, and mentoring
- National Science Foundation REU Sites: The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation
- American Academy for Advancement of Science: A resource list of AAAS career development programs
- ACECNY: A proactive coalition of more than 270 firms representing every discipline of engineering related to the built environment — civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, geotechnical — and affiliated companies.
- Engineering Jobs – Mechanical: A broad-scale listing of mechanical engineering employment opportunities
- Aero Industry Jobs: A job listing specifically focused on the aerospace and defense industries
- Careersinfood.com: Employment Site for the Food and Beverage Manufacturing Industry
- PennEnergy: A fascinating compilation of job listings within the mechanical and energy-oriented portions of engineering
- Research Gate: A network dedicated to science and research. Connect, collaborate and discover scientific publications, jobs and conferences
- Engineering Central: Lists engineering positions and resumes across all engineering disciplines
- Engineer.net: A broad-scale engineering job-search engine that many companies use to find new talent