Experts of all stripes agree that the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are critical to the U.S. economy. A recent study estimated that STEM supports 67 percent of jobs in the U.S. and 69 percent of the country’s GDP. By generating innovation and technological advances, STEM fields help improve quality of life, make businesses more productive, and create new economic opportunities. And for students or professionals considering new careers, STEM fields are full of high-quality jobs: the number of STEM jobs has increased by 79% over the last three decades and is projected to grow by another 11% by 2030.
Of these fields, mechanical engineering is one of the most important in moving the U.S. economy forward. Mechanical engineers research, design, develop, and build a variety of mechanical devices. Their work touches almost every aspect of life in the U.S., from everyday consumer goods, like cars or home appliances, to tools that power the economy, like manufacturing equipment. And increasingly, mechanical engineers are working with innovative new technologies like robotics or nanotechnology that could open new economic frontiers.
With such a vital role in the U.S. economy, the job outlook for mechanical engineers is promising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 7% growth rate in jobs in the field between now and 2030. As manufacturing technologies become more complex, mechanical engineers’ skill set will continue to be in demand.
Another factor that makes mechanical engineering a strong choice of profession, like many other STEM jobs, is compensation. The median wage for a mechanical engineer in the U.S. is $95,300 per year, more than double the nation’s overall median wage for all occupations of $45,760.