If you’re an international mechanical engineering graduate aspiring to work in the United States, you might be facing a dilemma regarding how to navigate job opportunities, visa sponsorship, and potentially long-term prospects. This guide aims to help you gain an understanding of the current job market, popular industries, job application requirements, available visas, and visa sponsorship, and the difficulties international job seekers face.
- Mechanical engineering is a growing and in-demand field in the United States, with almost 290,000 jobs available in 2020.
- Mechanical engineers have the opportunity to work in many industries, including aerospace, automotive, energy, manufacturing, and construction.
- Most mechanical engineering jobs require a bachelor’s degree and in-depth knowledge of CAD software.
- The H-1B visa is the most common type of visa for skilled foreign workers.
- Getting a job offer in the U.S. as an international mechanical engineering graduate can be challenging, but with perseverance and strategic preparation, it can be accomplished.
- To improve your chances of landing a job and visa sponsorship, it’s essential to network, upgrade your skills, and tailor your application materials to meet industry standards.
The Current Job Market
Mechanical engineering is a crucial and growing industry in the United States. In 2020, there were 287,800 jobs available in the field, with an estimated growth rate of 4% from 2019 – 2029. Some mechanical engineering jobs are more iconic than others, such as working in the aerospace or automotive industries. However, with the current energy crisis, there is a growing demand for renewable energy research, making it a promising new field. Mechanical engineering careers in the construction and manufacturing industries also continue to see growth.
Popular Industries for Mechanical Engineers
Mechanical engineers have the chance to work in various industries, depending on their interests, experiences, and education. These include:
Mechanical engineers who want to work on spacecraft, aircraft, and satellites can find employment in the aerospace industry. Aerospace engineers design and develop new technologies and improve existing ones. They also help maintain and test systems used in aviation and defense.
Automotive engineers design and develop cars and other vehicles. They use CAD software to develop blueprints for both vehicle design and systems like engines and transmissions. The industry is focused on developing more efficient and sustainable vehicles to meet fuel efficiency standards and the growing demand for environmentally friendly transportation.
With the growing global focus on renewable energy and sustainability, mechanical engineers can find work in this industry, working on wind turbines, solar panels, or more niche areas like hydroelectric power plants. Mechanical engineers in this industry work on the design, production, and testing of equipment that contributes to renewable energy harvesting and storage.
Mechanical engineers in the manufacturing industry are responsible for designing and improving mechanical processes and manufacturing techniques. They ensure that products meet industry standards and are cost-effective in their production.
Mechanical engineers in the construction industry work on designing the mechanical systems within buildings, such as HVAC and plumbing, as well as the large-scale machinery needed for construction.
Job Application Requirements
Although job requirements can vary by employer and industry, most mechanical engineering jobs require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or a related field. In addition to this, most employers also ask for a good understanding of CAD software and concepts like design, engineering, and mechanics.
Additionally, employers may require certifications relevant to the job at hand. These certifications can cover areas like welding, quality assurance, and other specific engineering topics.
Visas and Visa Sponsorship
The H-1B visa is the most common type of visa for skilled foreign workers seeking to work in the United States. H-1B visas allow skilled workers to work for specific American employers for up to six years. Obtaining an H-1B visa requires a job offer from a U.S. employer, and the employer must sponsor the visa application.
Another option for international mechanical engineering graduates is the F-1 optional practical training (OPT), which allows foreign students to work in the U.S. for up to 12 months after graduation. OPT is available for most international students who complete their degrees in a field related to their major.
The current job market can be challenging for international students seeking to work in the United States. Employers must go through a legal and sometimes complicated process to hire international workers. Employers must prove to the Department of Labor that an open position could not be filled by any available American workers. This process can be time-consuming and expensive.
One excellent way to overcome these challenges is to network aggressively. Attend job fairs, conferences, and online events, and make connections to hiring managers and recruiters in the field. Additionally, upgrade your skills in niche areas, develop a strong CV or resume tailored to industry standards, and seek out job opportunities that match your skills and interests.
Overall, landing a mechanical engineering job in the United States as an international graduate can be challenging but very rewarding. Opportunities exist in many industries, and employers are always seeking skilled and talented individuals. Though visa sponsorship can be a complicated process, international job seekers can overcome these challenges by networking, upgrading skills, and carefully researching job opportunities and employers.
How long does it take to get an H-1B visa?
The H-1B visa application process can be lengthy and time-consuming. Employers must submit a prevailing wage determination request to the Department of Labor, then apply for the H-1B visa with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This process can take several months, and applicants should begin the process as soon as possible to ensure they can work in the United States.
How can I improve my chances of getting hired as an international mechanical engineering graduate?
To improve your chances of getting hired, networking is essential. Attend industry events and conferences, join professional organizations, and seek out internships or volunteer opportunities in the field. Additionally, make sure to upgrade your skills and develop a strong CV/resume tailored to industry standards.
What is the average salary of a mechanical engineer in the United States?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for mechanical engineers in the United States was $90,160 in May 2020. Salaries can vary widely by industry, employer, and location, though most mechanical engineering jobs offer a competitive salary and benefits package.