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Career and Education Opportunities for Mechanical Engineers in Columbia, South Carolina

If you want to be a mechanical engineer, the Columbia, South Carolina area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 3,300 people are currently employed as mechanical engineers in South Carolina. By 2016, this is expected to grow 5% to about 3,470 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for mechanical engineers are expected to grow by about 6.0%. In general, mechanical engineers perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, and other mechanically functioning equipment.

The income of a mechanical engineer is about $35 hourly or $73,990 annually on average in South Carolina. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $36 per hour or $74,920 per year on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Engineering, people working as mechanical engineers in South Carolina earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Engineering nationally. People working as mechanical engineers can fill a number of jobs, such as: electro-mechanical engineer, hydroelectric plant mechanical engineer, and body engineer.

There are twenty schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including one within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as a mechanical engineer. Mechanical engineers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become a mechanical engineer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical Engineer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, mechanical engineers perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, and other mechanically functioning equipment. They also oversee installation, operation, and repair of such equipment as centralized heat, gas, and steam systems.

Mechanical engineers read and interpret blueprints, technical drawings and computer-generated reports. They also design and test models of alternate designs and processing methods to gauge feasibility, operating condition effects, possible new applications and necessity of modification. Equally important, mechanical engineers have to conduct research that tests and analyzes the feasibility, layout, operation and effectiveness of equipment, components and systems. Finally, mechanical engineers specify system components or direct modification of products to insure conformance with engineering layout and performance specifications.

Every day, mechanical engineers are expected to be able to think through problems and come up with general rules. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they read and understand documents and reports.

It is important for mechanical engineers to talk with engineers and other personnel to execute operating procedures, resolve system malfunctions, and furnish technical data. They are often called upon to recommend layout modifications to remove machine or system malfunctions. They also research and maintain mechanical products, equipment, systems and processes to fit requirements, applying knowledge of engineering principles. They are sometimes expected to assist drafters in developing the structural layout of products using drafting tools or computer-assisted layout (CAD) or drafting equipment and software. Somewhat less frequently, mechanical engineers are also expected to estimate costs and submit bids for engineering or extraction projects, and ready contract documents.

Mechanical engineers sometimes are asked to layout test control apparatus and equipment and develop processes for testing products. They also have to be able to research and analyze customer layout proposals and other data to review the feasibility and maintenance requirements of designs or applications and solicit new business and furnish technical customer service. And finally, they sometimes have to solicit new business and furnish technical customer service.

Like many other jobs, mechanical engineers must be thorough and dependable and be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Architectural Drafter. Prepare detailed drawings of architectural designs and plans for buildings and structures according to specifications provided by architect.
  • Biomedical Engineer. Apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems.
  • CAD/CAM Specialist. Prepare detailed working diagrams of machinery and mechanical devices, including dimensions, and other engineering information.
  • Chemical Engineer. Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, and pulp, by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics, and engineering.
  • Civil Draftsman. Prepare drawings and topographical and relief maps used in civil engineering projects, such as highways, bridges, pipelines, flood control projects, and water and sewerage control systems.
  • Civil Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures, and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, water and sewage systems, and waste disposal units. Includes architectural, structural, and geo-technical engineers.
  • Civil Engineering Technician. Apply theory and principles of civil engineering in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of structures and facilities under the direction of engineering staff or physical scientists.
  • Computer Engineer. Research, design, and test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, or scientific use. May supervise the manufacturing and installation of computer or computer-related equipment and components.
  • Electrical Engineer. Design, develop, or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components, or systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use.
  • Electronics Engineer. Research, design, and test electronic components and systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use utilizing knowledge of electronic theory and materials properties. Design electronic circuits and components for use in fields such as telecommunications, aerospace guidance and propulsion control, acoustics, or instruments and controls.
  • Electronics Engineering Technician. Lay out, build, and modify developmental and production electronic components, parts, and systems, such as computer equipment, missile control instrumentation, electron tubes, and machine tool numerical controls, applying principles and theories of electronics, electrical circuitry, engineering mathematics, electronic and electrical testing, and physics. Usually work under direction of engineering staff.
  • Equipment Engineering Technician. Apply electrical theory and related knowledge to test and modify developmental or operational electrical machinery and electrical control equipment and circuitry in industrial or commercial plants and laboratories. Usually work under direction of engineering staff.
  • Nuclear Engineer. Conduct research on nuclear engineering problems or apply principles and theory of nuclear science to problems concerned with release, control, and utilization of nuclear energy and nuclear waste disposal.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Mechanical Engineer Training

University of South Carolina-Columbia - Columbia, SC

University of South Carolina-Columbia, , Columbia, SC 29208. University of South Carolina-Columbia is a large university located in Columbia, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 27,500 students and an admission rate of 59%. University of South Carolina-Columbia has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Mechanical Engineering which graduated seventy-one, eleven, and seven students respectively in 2008.


Planning and Scheduling Professional: The PSP certification is to recognize specialists who meet a demanding set of planning and scheduling criteria by a rigorous examination, experience, education and ethical qualificaion.

For more information, see the AACE International (Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering through total cost management) website.

Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing Professional - Technologist: ASME GDTP Certification provides the means to recognize proficiency in the understanding and application of the geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) principles expressed in the ASME Y14.

For more information, see the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International website.

Certified in Plumbing Design: The Certified in Plumbing Design (CPD) program is an international certification program for engineers and designers of plumbing systems.

For more information, see the American Society of Plumbing Engineers website.

Certified Associate in Materials Handling: MHMS is proud to offer a professional certification program for its members.

For more information, see the Materials Handling and Management Society website.

PV Installer Certification: The target candidate for NABCEP certification is the person responsible for the system installation (e.

For more information, see the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina photo by Akhenaton06

Columbia is located in Richland County, South Carolina. It has a population of over 127,029, which has grown by 9.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia cost $142,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, four hundred thirty-four new homes were built in Columbia, down from seven hundred the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and public administration. For men, it is educational services, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 35.7% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 16.1%, which is greater than South Carolina's average of 12.0%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Progressive Church, Bishop Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church and Lutheran Seminary are among the churches located in Columbia. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Columbia is home to the Booker T Washington Center and the Longstreet Annex as well as Irwin Park and Columbia Historic District II. Shopping centers in the area include Five Points Shopping Center, Market Place Shopping Center and Columbiana Centre Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Marriott Columbia, Hampton Inn Columbia-SE-Fort Jackson and Embassy Suites Hotel for temporary stays in the area.