How to become a Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical engineers plan, design and oversee the development, installation, operation and maintenance of machinery. They conduct research to solve practical engineering problems and improve efficiency.

Personal requirements of a Mechanical Engineer

  • Enjoy technical and engineering activities
  • Willing to adhere to safety requirements
  • Able to identify, analyse and solve problems
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Enjoy computing and technical design
  • Practical and creative
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team
  • Able to accept responsibility

Education & Training for a Mechanical Engineer

To become a mechanical engineer you usually have to complete a degree in engineering at university with a major in mechanical engineering. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry and physics are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical engineers:

  • design new machines, equipment or systems, taking into account cost, availability of materials, and strength and maintenance requirements
  • consider the appearance of the designs as well as the impact on users and on the environment
  • carry out research on the use of different types of fuel and energy, materials handling, heating and cooling processes, the storage and pumping of liquids and gases, and environmental controls
  • use computer-aided design (CAD) to assist with design and drawing
  • design and construct resource development projects such as offshore platforms, onshore gas plants and iron ore mining facilities
  • supervise the operation of manufacturing process plants such as vehicle and electrical appliance production plants, coal handling installations, power stations, and sewerage and water supply pumping stations
  • specify, select and install factory machinery and production systems and manage machinery maintenance
  • set up work control systems (such as the testing of equipment) to ensure that performance, quality, cost and safety requirements are met
  • act as consultants, researching possible changes or improvements and estimating costs of products for clients.

Working conditions for a Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical engineers often work closely with other professionals (such as with architects in designing air conditioning plants), at times pooling expertise on particular projects. Mechanical engineers may work in production plants, in offices and outdoors when involved in construction projects.

Employment Opportunities for a Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical engineers are involved in a wide range of industries, including aviation, power generation, manufacturing, refrigeration and air conditioning, transportation and mechanical handling. They may specialise in areas such as research and development, engineering design, production, plant and maintenance. Mechanical engineers work in private engineering firms and in the building, mining, construction, power, manufacturing and processing industries. Universities and federal, state, territory and local government agencies also offer opportunities for employment. In addition, some mechanical engineers find employment with consultancy firms, while others are self-employed as consultants or contractors. Job opportunities depend on activity in the minerals, manufacturing and construction industries.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT ACT 0.9%


NT NT 0.3%

QLD QLD 8.7%

SA SA 6.3%

TAS TAS 0.5%

VIC VIC 37.8%

WA WA 16.4%

Hours worked:



Lower unemployment

Gender split:

Male 95.1%

Female 4.9%

Education level:

Highest qualification is secondary school: 9.6%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 5.6%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 68%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 16.8%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0%

20-24 - 9.6%

25-34 - 29.7%

35-44 - 29.2%

45-54 - 18.3%

55-59 - 7.7%

60-64 - 2.1%

65 and Over - 3.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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