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Everything you need to know about being a Mechanical Engineer

Do you have a passion for problem-solving? Are you fascinated by the way machines work? Do you want to work with cutting edge technology, change lives and advance industries? Then you may wish to consider a career in Mechanical Engineering.

What is mechanical engineering?

Mechanical engineering is an extremely broad and diverse industry. It involves taking a product from an initial idea through the design, research, development, building prototypes, construction, testing and manufacturing stages, right the way through to the marketplace. Mechanical engineers can work in any number of these stages depending on their areas of expertise.

What can mechanical engineers do?

Mechanical engineers are needed in industries as far-reaching as aerospace, automotive, construction, energy, manufacturing, medicine and railway. Here are just some examples of the work you could be doing:

Aerospace Engineer – you could be working on civil or military aircraft, missiles, weapons systems, satellites and spacecraft, responsible for aspects like flight safety, fuel efficiency and advancing technologies in your field as well as finding ways of reducing the environmental impact of air travel.

Civil Engineer – you could have a huge impact on the built and natural environment that people live in every day. Civil Engineers work on the planning, management, design and construction of projects such as buildings, coastal development, geotechnical engineering, highways and waste management.

Nuclear Engineer – working at the forefront of technology, Nuclear Engineers are responsible for the designing, building, running or decommissioning of nuclear power stations and finding technological solutions to the world’s power needs. You could be improving the efficiency and safety of old systems, designing completely new ones or anything in between.

Control and Instrumentation Engineer – C&I Engineers are vital in ensuring that the systems and processes across all fields within Mechanical Engineering operate effectively and safely. You would be responsible for designing, developing, installing, managing and maintaining equipment for engineering systems and machinery for companies in a huge range of industries such as nuclear and renewable energy, environmental agencies and many more.

How much do mechanical engineers get paid?

According to, a Mechanical Engineer in the UK earns an average of £34,720 per year, with the possibility of earning around £56,000. This increases in the London area, with an average of £34,000 a year and going up to £74,000. Of course, the salary varies depending on the field of Mechanical Engineering you work in, the company you work for, your area of expertise and where you live – there’s a huge demand for mechanical Engineers worldwide. For example, a Mechanical Engineer for energy company BP, would earn around £61,000 a year and a Mechanical Engineer for Siemens can earn anything between £19,000 and £159,000.

What qualifications do you need?

Being a mechanical engineer requires an extremely high level of skill, but there are very clear routes into a career in this area. To begin with, you’ll need good qualifications in Maths and Physics, equivalent to A-Level or BTEC Level 3, say You can do a dedicated Engineering qualification at [college name]. “Some courses may require chemistry or biology instead of physics, depending on the nature of the work you want to do. Design and technology qualifications may also be useful to you.” Most Mechanical Engineering careers require a higher-level qualification.

Engineering courses at Derby College

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