1. Home: Explore careers
  2. Mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineer

Alternative titles for this job include

Mechanical engineers develop and design the components and machinery used in manufacturing, construction and other industries.

Average salary (a year)

£22,000 Starter


£55,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a mechanical engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly


You could do a higher national diploma or degree in:

  • mechanical engineering
  • electromechanical engineering
  • mechatronics
  • engineering manufacturing

Some courses include a year working in industry. This experience could be useful when you start applying for jobs after finishing your course.

You could also arrange your own work placement with a company.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and physics

More Information


You could do a Level 4 and 5 Higher National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering at college before looking for work.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, a level 3 diploma or relevant experience for a level 4 or level 5 course

More Information


Apprenticeships relevant to this role include:

  • Manufacturing engineer degree apprenticeship
  • Electro-mechanical engineer higher apprenticeship

You may also be able to do a more specialist engineering apprenticeship like:

  • Power and propulsion gas turbine engineer higher apprenticeship

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information


You could start as a mechanical engineering technician and do further training on the job to qualify as an engineer.

Direct Application

You can apply for jobs directly if you've got qualifications and several years' experience in engineering.

More Information

Further information

You can find out more about how to become an engineer through the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Tomorrow's Engineers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of physics
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You could:

  • turn research ideas into technical plans, using computer aided design/modelling (CAD/CAM)
  • carry out surveys of mechanical systems and equipment
  • research and assess new products and innovations
  • present design plans and data to managers and clients
  • produce other technical documents
  • support the contract team when bidding for new work
  • oversee maintenance programmes and quality control
  • manage and lead a project team of technicians, designers and other engineering professionals

Working environment

You could work at a client's business, in an office or in a factory.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could work for local and central government, the armed services, manufacturers in all industries, research and development facilities and public utilities.

With incorporated or chartered engineer status you could move into project management roles, specialise in a particular field, work in research or become an engineering consultant.

You could also teach in a further education college.

Find out more about teaching in further education from Teach in further education.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Engineering Technician - Mechatronics Apprentice

  • Wage: £174.00 - £328.40 Weekly
  • Location: Telford

Engineering Apprentice

  • Wage: £16,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Stafford

Courses In England

Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) - BEng (Hons) (part-time)

  • Start date: 13 September 2022
  • Location: Blackpool

Engineering Mechanical & Production - HNC (Special Circumstances)

  • Start date: 06 January 2022
  • Location: PRESTON

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

Take an assessment to learn more about your skills and the careers that might suit you.

Is this page useful?

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you for your feedback. Click here if you'd like to let us know how we can improve the service.