What Does a Mechanical Engineer Do?

Anticipating and solving tomorrow’s problems today.

Mechanical engineers are problem solvers who apply their skills to design, develop, build, and test all sorts of mechanical devices, tools, engines, and machines in just about every type of industry. As a mechanical engineer, you’ll work on teams to develop a wide range of products and systems including, transmissions, engine parts, aircraft engines, control systems, prosthetic devices, disk drives, printers, semiconductor tools, sensors, gas turbines, wind turbines, fuel cells, compressors, robots, machine tools, space shuttle vehicles, turbines, pumps, power plants, factories, and more.

students with robot in cornfield

At Iowa State University, you don’t just learn, you do.

We keep you engaged as you collaborate with your teammates to design more reliable batteries for pacemakers and create highly advanced sensors that stimulate the brain to help with dementia and Parkinsons’ disease. You’ll have the opportunity to program robots to move through crop rows to estimate how many seed pods are forming and what the likely crop yield will be. You’ll learn to find new ways to improve the safety of our food with sensors in food processing equipment that detect bacteria and pathogens.

as a mechanical engineer, you’ll have no problem getting work.

They’re ranked among the top 10 fields nationally for employment, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) engineers have a median annual wage of $91,010 (May 2019), and the engineering field projects to have employment growth of nearly 140,000 new jobs over the next decade.

students working in lab setting

Cutting edge technology built by sharp minds

Here’s some cool stuff you’ll design, manufacture, and operate:

Lasers, precision machinery, and nano-technology

Biomedical devices to improve health

Automobiles, airplanes, and other transportation vehicles

Robotics, mechatronics, and electronic control of machinery

Predictive maintenance and reliability technologies

Virtual reality modeling and manufacturing systems

Heat exchangers, refrigerators, ventilation systems

Our Alumni

Many of our graduates have built successful careers throughout the world not only as engineers but also as corporate leaders, professors, inventors, innovators, entrepreneurs, sales representatives, and consultants.

  • The average starting salary of mechanical engineering graduates is $62,000/yr.
  • Co-op and internship salaries for our students average $19/hr.
  • Nearly 600 companies visit the college each year to recruit our students
  • 96% of our students have in-profession placement within six months of graduation