What Are the Different Fields of Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineering is a broad field that involves the design and creation of a vast array of products, from regular household items such as kitchen appliances to airplanes or artificial organs. Find out more about the different fields of mechanical engineering. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Brief Overview of Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineers use science to solve problems, whether it's designing a coffee maker to fit your kitchen counter to manufacturing all of the parts that go into it. It's an extremely broad discipline and includes materials science, fluid mechanics, control theory, bioengineering and heat transfer, among other fields, like robotics, thermodynamics, nanotechnology and manufacturing.

Important Facts About Mechanical Engineering

Median Salary (May 2018) $87,370 (for all mechanical engineers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 9% growth
Required Education Bachelor's degree
Similar Occupations Architectural and engineering managers; drafters; materials engineers; mathematicians; nuclear engineers; petroleum engineers; physicists; astronomers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


As a mechanical engineer working in the field of robotics, you may design and fabricate machines and devices that interact with their surroundings and can be operated remotely. Robots can range from simple machinery to complex creations that perform repetitive tasks in manufacturing settings, hazardous tasks too dangerous for humans or more nuanced motions, such as moving a limb. As a robotics engineer, you may work in many different industries, including agriculture and transportation.


If you're working in thermodynamics, your focus is on energy and the systems available to conserve and transform it for a number of different uses. For example, you may design systems that change thermal heat into mechanical energy. You could work in geothermal energy production or refrigeration. You may use your knowledge of heat transfer and fluid mechanics to help design power plants, propulsion systems or refrigeration and air conditioning systems.


Nanotechnology engineers manipulate atoms and molecules measured in nanometers, or one-billionth of a meter, for use in manufacturing and modeling. In this field, you'll apply your knowledge of the principles of mechanical engineering to problem solving at this smallest of scales, where materials, because of their size, may behave differently. You'll seek to take advantage of these differences in your work to improve manufacturing and other processes.


When you're a mechanical engineer who works in manufacturing, you may have a variety of jobs, ranging from the design and development of machines, to working in research or testing. Common to all of these jobs is the task of exploring efficient ways to convert raw materials into finished goods. You may also find opportunities to work in the design and coordination of production systems. Working in this field, you'll help make a variety of products, including cars, airplanes, toys, electronics and recreational equipment.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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