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Working as a Mechanical Engineer [NOC 2132]

Job Description

Mechanical engineers design, create, test, and conduct research into machines and mechanical systems of all kinds.

Working as a Mechanical Engineer you may perform the following duties:

  • Meet with managers and other engineers to discuss the expectations for the new machine
  • Design machines and products using computer-aided design (CAD) software
  • Conduct research into the feasibility, design, and performance of mechanisms, components, and systems
  • Plan and manage projects and prepare material, cost and timing estimates, reports, and design specifications for machinery and systems
  • Oversee the manufacture, operation, and maintenance of the machines
  • Test and repair machines when necessary
  • Supervise technicians, technologists, and other engineers and review and approve designs, calculations, and cost estimates.

Source: WorkBC, Career Profiles

Industry Overview

Qualified and experienced mechanical engineers are in demand in B.C.  Entry level jobs may be filled directly from Canadian graduates.  The shortage of experienced workers may come from qualified immigrants bringing knowledge from abroad.

The aeronautics, robotics, process automation, environmental standards industry will be sources of employment growth for mechanical engineers.

Source: Job Bank Canada, [search NOC 2132]

Job Outlook in BC

Mechanical Engineers

 job outlook in BC for mechanical engineers

Chart from WorkBC

WorkBC provides job openings in BC regions from 2015-2025:

Region Expected # of Job Openings Average Annual Employment Growth Expected Increase in Employment
Vancouver Island 130 0.3% 15
Lower Mainland /Southwest 1590 1.3% 580
Thompson-Okanagan 140 2.5% 65

You can learn more about the working as a mechanical engineer from:

Types of Employers

Mechanical engineers work for:

  • consulting engineering companies
  • manufacturing companies
  • architectural companies
  • government agencies

You may also consider jobs as technical equipment representatives or managers in an industrial company.

Salary

In BC, the median annual salary for mechanical engineers is $73,830. Your salary depends on education, experience, industry and employer. You generally earn more if you have a master’s degree or PhD.

If you work full-time you often receive benefits such as dental coverage, paid sick & vacation days and pension plans. Exact benefits vary by employer.

Sources: WorkBC & Career Cruising

Job Bank Canada provides hourly wages for Mechanical Engineers [NOC 2132]

hourly BC regional wages for mechanical engineers

Source: Job Bank, Wage Report

In its 2016 Report on Members’ Compensation and Benefits, Engineers & Geoscientists British Columbia (formerly APEGBC) provides these salary figures:

  Mean Lower Quartile Median Upper Quartile
Engineering Consulting – Mechanical $87,695 $70,000 $80,000 $102,000
Bachelor’s degree – Base salary – Mechanical $100,721 $92,570

Source: Engineers & Geoscientists British Columbia: Compensation Survey

Working Hours

You usually work long hours, 8 to 9 hours a day or 45 to 50 hours a week.  Longer hours and weekends may be required when deadlines are approaching, or if an important piece of machinery has broken down.

You may work especially long shifts if you are just starting out in the industry.

From Career Cruising database (Profile for Mechanical Engineer)

Skills, Education and Experience

Skills

  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Analytical and detail oriented
  • Decision making
  • Project management and team work
  • Proposal writing and presentations
  • Financial management
  • Committee work – industry ethics

Education and Experience

To work as an Industrial and Mechanical Engineer you require:

  • a Bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering or in a related engineering discipline
  • licensing by Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia in order to practise as a Professional Engineer (P.Eng)

You may also require:

  • a Master’s degree or doctorate in a related engineering discipline

Qualifications

This occupation is regulated in British Columbia.

Entry level engineering positions do not require professional designation in BC.

You must be registered with Engineers & Geoscientists British Columbia (formerly APEGBC) to use the title Professional Engineer in BC.

However, you can work in engineering, even if you haven’t been licensed by a professional engineering association, as long as you are supervised by a professional engineer (P.Eng).

Only licensed engineers are permitted to undertake and assume responsibility for engineering projects in BC.  Licensing is required to approve engineering drawings and reports, and to practise as a Professional Engineer (P. Eng.)

In order to become a registered member of Engineers & Geoscientists British Columbia you require:

  • graduation from an accredited educational program
  • four years of supervised work experience in engineering
  • passing a professional practice examination
  • completion of the law and ethics seminar

For more information:

Internationally Trained Engineers

If you are an internationally trained mechanical engineer you may qualify for provisional membership with Engineers & Geoscientists British Columbia if you meet all requirements including: education, work experience, language skills, good character, professionalism and ethics.

For more information:

Finding Jobs

You’ll find job advertisements in local newspapers, trade journals, and electronic sources, as well as through professional associations’ publications.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and in The Province on Sundays.

Job White Pages

  • Available online or in print at the Central Library
    NOTE: Access at VPL locations only

Online Job Postings

Professional Associations’ Career Resources

Identifying the Right Position

When you browse job ads, you’ll find a range of different job titles that are relevant.

For mechanical engineers, look for these related job titles (from NOC):

  • Acoustics Engineer
  • Design Engineer – Mechanical
  • Energy Conservation Engineer
  • Engineer, Power Generation
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Engineer
  • Nuclear Engineer
  • Robotics Engineer
  • Aeronautics Engineer

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of employers in Vancouver or the Lower Mainland. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • BC Tech, Technology Guide (special issue of BC Tech magazine)
    Includes biggest BC tech companies and the top 100 tech companies in BC.
    Available at the Central Library, 380 EL3CBh
  • Business in Vancouver Book of Lists.
    Biggest Engineering Firms in BC.
    Also available at the Central Library, 338.9711 B97b
  • HPAC (Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning )
    July/August Issue Directory, Available at the Central Library 697.05 H441
  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “mechanical engineering” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume or curriculum vitae and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your relevant experience.

Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

To learn about applying for jobs in Canada, see the following:

Getting Help from Industry Sources

Industry Associations

Associations for professional and mechanical engineers in BC and Canada provide assistance to individuals. Registration and fees are required for membership.

Industry Journals

Search the Vancouver Public Library catalogue for journals related to your profession, for example:

  • HPAC Engineering (Heating/Piping/Air Conditioning)
    Also available at the Central Library 697.05 H441
  • Innovation / Engineers & Geoscientists British Columbia
    Also available at the Central Library, 620.5 B86