Do you like maths, physics, and technology, and enjoy working with tools and machines? Then Mechanical Engineering might be the right career for you.
Mechanical engineers plan, design, develop, and maintain mechanical systems, including machinery, tools, and engines for various industries. They also offer advice on development, installation, operation, and machinery maintenance.
Before you can work as a Mechanical Engineer, you generally need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Some states and territories may also require you to be licensed.
This blog is the best place to learn more about the role and determine your next steps. Find out what a mechanical engineer is, their earning potential, available specializations, and how you can become one in Australia.
1. What Is A Mechanical Engineer?
Mechanical engineering is a diverse sector that uses principles of motion, energy, and force to build innovative mechanical systems that enhances each aspect of our modern lives.
Mechanical engineers play a critical role in designing and building modern technologies. They design, construct, oversee and maintain large-scale industrial and mechanical processing facilities and plants.
They are majorly involved in building prototypes, testing and customizing designs, analyzing system malfunctions, and supervising manufacturing processes.
Mechanical Engineers work with multidisciplinary teams to find complicated practical mechanical problems, conduct research to fix them and enhance work production and efficiency.
2. What Do Mechanical Engineers Do?
Mechanical engineers work on various projects, such as building car engines in the automotive industry, designing mechanical hearts in the medical industry, and designing and enhancing the production processes at mining sites.
The type of work and duties of a Mechanical Engineer depends on the industry and the project they work on.
In general, a Mechanical Engineer performs the following tasks:
Research on the application of different types of energy, fuels, material handling, cooling and heating processes, the storage of gases, liquids, and environmental controls
Apply force, energy, temperature, and motion principles to develop mechanized systems
Analyse data and mathematical equations
Study functional statements, project information, and organizational charts to determine the duties of workers
Use computer-aided design to draw plans, design and develop mechanical devices, machine parts, processes, and systems.
Design layout and construct industrial resources development projects such as onshore gas plants, iron ore mining facilities, and offshore platforms
Determine requirements for new designs and surveys, create and test prototypes, and analyze the test results
Modify designs based on test outcome
Develop solutions to mechanical issues
Determine the cost estimates for mechanical projects
Establish policies and standards as per engineering principles and safety guidelines
Perform quality and safety inspections to ensure mechanical systems are up to the required environmental and safety standards
Manage project team and the delivery of equipment and materials
Monitor the functioning of manufacturing process plants, including electrical appliance and vehicle production plants, power stations, sewerage, coal handling installations, and water supply pumping stations
Create reports to provide the relevant data to management
3. Mechanical Engineer Skills
Enjoy computing, technical design, and engineering activities
Love of working with machinery
An analytical and data-driven approach
Good working knowledge of MS Office, AutoCAD, and other related tools or technology
A logical approach to problem-solving
Good oral and written communication skills
Must be adept at project management
Able to work in compliance with standard engineering procedures and safety requirements
Works well in groups or independently
Able to accept responsibility
Attention to the smallest detail
4. Mechanical Engineer Qualifications In Australia
Once you have made up your mind to become a mechanical engineer, the next step is to understand the education and training requirements.
To work in this role, you need a formal degree in engineering with a focus on mechanical engineering to work in this role.
Here is what you need to qualify to become a Mechanical Engineer in Australia:
Gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education
Complete university-level mechanical engineering courses like a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering)
Gain work experience as a mechanical engineer
Some states and territories require you to get registered to work independently as a Mechanical Engineer. Apply for a Professional Engineer’s Licence after you gain a minimum of four years of engineering practice
Earn a postgraduate degree to specialize in mechanical engineering and move into senior roles as a manager, consultant, or project leader
Membership with Engineers Australia is highly valued by employers.
5. Steps To Become A Mechanical Engineer In Australia
Here are the steps to learning how to become a mechanical engineer in Australia:
Step 1: Study Mechanical Engineering
A bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering is the common requirement most employers look for in a candidate.
This course explores core mechanical engineering disciplines and teaches how to design and maintain various machines, including transport systems, power generation systems, renewable energy fields, environmental systems, biomedical and computing systems, and engine and vehicle design.
The practical learning and industry experience you gain by completing the course prepare you to use machines across many emerging and innovative sectors.\
Mechanical engineering - The University of Sydney
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)(Mechanical) - The University of Adelaide
Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) (Honours) - RMIT University
Step 2: Gain Industrial Work Experience
Job experience is equally important as education when it comes to securing a role.
Look for internships or work in jobs with comparable skill set requirements to gain substantial work experience and improve your employability for this role.
Step 3: Become Licensed By The National Professional Engineer Register
In Australia, getting licensed to work as a professional Mechanical Engineer is necessary. It shows that you are aware of the strict code of ethics as laid down by Engineers Australia and capable of working by them.
Once licensed, your name will appear on the National Professional Engineers Register, enabling you to take on more projects and get a higher salary.
Step 4: Start Your Job Hunt
After gaining the necessary qualifications and license, you are ready to start your job search. Update your resume and specify it to the job opening you wish to apply for.
Apply to mechanical engineering jobs on popular online job portals, social media groups, and other places to improve your chances of job success.
Step 5: Consider Specialization
One of the best parts of being a Mechanical Engineer is that it gives you plenty of scope for specialization and future growth. Many engineers choose to specialize in an area of mechanical engineering such as Health Care, Robotics, Aerospace, Automotive, and Energy.
Studying for a relevant Master’s degree is a great way to progress in your career, gain salary increments, and become eligible for the promotion. Many universities offer advanced-degree courses to pursue further study in their chosen area of specialization.
Master of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) - RMIT University
This postgraduate qualification focuses on multi-disciplinary and project-based learning to help develop professional skills such as research, teamwork, problem-solving, communication, and leadership, and gain specialist knowledge in the below areas:
Advanced solid mechanics
Advanced thermal fluids
After completing this degree course, you can work as a designer, consultant, manager, technical specialist, or in management and leadership roles across various innovative industries.
6. What Subjects Are Needed To Become A Mechanical Engineer In High School?
The professional journey to becoming a Mechanical Engineer starts from the school level. Knowledge of what subjects are needed to become an engineer in Australia can assist you when taking professional degree courses.
Most universities require students to complete their Year 12 education in physics, mathematics, chemistry, and English to enrol in a mechanical engineering degree.
7. How To Become A Mechanical Engineer Without A Degree?
Although large companies generally look for mechanical degree holders for this position, in some small companies or start-ups, you can even enter this profession without a degree.
For this, you need to do a low-level engineering-related job and display work ethic and competency for several years.
However, completing a professional qualification is essential if you seek career advancement in the later stages of your career.
8. Working Environment For A Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical engineers usually work in various settings, including workshops, offices, factories, production plants, and building sites during construction projects. They generally work standard business hours and may also require travel to meet with clients to view work progress on manufacturing sites.
Mechanical engineers work in a team environment with professionals from varying backgrounds, depending on their project needs.
For example, they work with architects in designing air conditioning plants; consult doctors, biomedical engineers, and surgeons when designing the valves of a mechanical heart; work with metallurgists and mining engineers to design a gold processing plant.
While at work, they use a range of manual and power-driven tools and equipment, computers, Computer-Aided Manufacturing, and Computer-Aided Design technologies to test the energy consumption and strength of machines.
Mechanical engineers may also engage in bending or lifting tools and machines frequently. As the work environment may involve risk hazards, they usually wear safety equipment, such as overalls, safety glasses, hard hats, and hearing protection to work safely.
9. Employment Opportunities For A Mechanical Engineer
There is hardly any industry that doesn’t need mechanical engineers to design and develop reliable and functional machinery and mechanical systems.
You can find them in transportation, mining, minerals, material processing, manufacturing, power generation, environment, industrial equipment and robotics, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems, aviation, and mechanical handling.
When considering the scale and diversity of the industry, there may be different types of roles available for mechanical engineers to choose from. Some of these are:
Design, manufacture, and test motor vehicles
Design and install air conditioning systems
Design materials handling systems used in the mining, and FMCG industries
Construct and maintain production plants, renewable energy, and power generation systems
Design transportation systems, including trams and trains
Develop and enhance mechanical systems such as automatic control systems and biomedical devices in the pharmaceutical industry
Execute new manufacturing methods in the electronics industry
Develop engineering computer software and perform research and development in technical institutions
Manage engineering works in both private engineering firms, small start-ups, and large organizations, including federal, state, territory, and local government agencies
Design and develop environmental pollution control devices, underwater exploration, clean combustion, and space vehicles
Some mechanical engineers also work self-employed as contractors or consultants.
10. Areas Of Specializations For Mechanical Engineers
Their exceptional problem-solving, numeracy and analytical abilities make them suitable for a diverse range of mechanical engineering jobs within the field of mechanical engineering and in closely related ones.
After gaining extensive experience, they may consider developing specialized knowledge in a sub-discipline of mechanical engineering, such as:
Research and development
Building and construction services
Acoustics and Noise control
Production plant and maintenance
Environmental pollution control and biotechnology
Space vehicle engineering
Power generation and energy construction
Air conditioning and refrigeration
Automated airport facilities
Automatic control systems
Biomedical implant design
Mineral and oil exploration
Specialized roles for Mechanical Engineers:
11. How Much Does A Mechanical Engineer Earn In Australia?
According to Pay Scale, the average mechanical engineer salary in Australia is AU$74,019 per year or equivalent to AU$31.86 per hour.
The mechanical engineer’s salary varies based on several factors, such as:
Years of experience
Level of role
Place of work
Area of Specialization
Type of industry you work in
Estimated Annual Salary based on Experience:
Entry-level Mechanical Engineers (<1-year experience): AU$62,382
Early career Mechanical Engineers (1-4 years of experience): AU$70,446
Mid-career Mechanical Engineers (5-9 years of experience): AU$88,379
Experienced Mechanical Engineers (10-19 years of experience): AU$98,372
Estimated Annual Salary based on Location:
Brisbane: $133,980 per year
Canberra: $121,751 per year
Perth: $115,692 per year
Melbourne: $111,208 per year
Sydney: $108,951 per year
Adelaide: $96,695 per year
12. Job Prospects For Mechanical Engineers In Australia
From initial plans and material procurement to building, testing, and installing the finished product, Mechanical engineers are heavily involved in all aspects of machinery development.
Their vital contribution makes them integral to the smooth and efficient operation of Australia’s machine manufacturing industry.
From the food container in your kitchen to the train to ride to work, these versatile professionals are behind the innovative technologies that make our day-to-day life simple and convenient.
Furthermore, they are involved in addressing critical challenges countries face related to climate change, supply chain issues, and increasing environmental pollution.
The rising demand to innovate sustainable energy fields in aerospace, biomedical, environmental, AI, and Nanotechnology project future growth along with diverse and ample employment opportunities for Mechanical Engineers.
According to the Labour Market, the number of workers in this profession is expected to grow moderately, reaching 28,800 by 2026.
ANZSCO OCCUPATION GROUP
2335: Industrial, Mechanical, and Production Engineers
Around 92% of Mechanical Engineers work full-time hours for an average of 45 hours a week. (All other jobs average: 44 hours per week).
Professional, scientific and technical services: 27.4%
Other Industries (electricity, gas, water, waste services): 24.5%
Area-Wise Employment across Australia
Victoria and Western Australia have a large share of employment with respect to their population size.
New South Wales: 26.1%
South Australia: 7.0%
Western Australia: 17.5%
Northern Territory: 0.6%
Australian Capital Territory: 0.8%
Worker's Age and Gender Profile:
The average age of employed professionals is 38 years, most of them between 25 and 34. (All other jobs average: 40 years).
Females constitute only 7% of the workforce. (All other jobs average: 48%)
Being a Mechanical Engineer is a versatile, exciting and rewarding profession that gives you work opportunities in almost every industry. Whether you are passionate about mobile technology, communication, energy, or health care, there are countless positions for you to fill.
Furthermore, this high-demand and lucrative profession present endless opportunities to grow and move up your career ladder. If you find the role interesting, then take the first step and complete a Mechanical Engineering degree to get started.
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