The Career Doctor™


Dear Career Doctor:

I am considering becoming a Mechanical Engineer, but I am worried that they have to move a lot and that would be bad for my kids. (I think the work is often located at manufacturing plants in rural areas rather than in cities, so job changes mean relocating.) How do families cope with this if the children are in school? Also, what is the average salary for Mechanical Engineers and what companies hire them besides manufacturing companies?

Wen L.

Dear Wen:

I can't think of any career where there's a guarantee that you will never want or have to move. Moves are disruptive, since it usually takes at least six months to feel at home in a new community, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, some child psychologists say that children who move a couple times while growing up adjust better to college. However, every move obviously must be assessed in terms of the benefits and detriments to every person in the family.

As for the specifics of Mechanical Engineering: The average starting salary for someone with a Bachelor's Degree is almost $50,000. Many engineers start at a company and stay there for their whole careers, moving up the technical or corporate ladder. A broad range of places hire Mechanical Engineers from toy, automotive, aerospace and bio-medical manufacturers to the federal government. For example, the C.I.A. has recently been recruiting Mechanical Engineers to help design their spy gadgets.

The Career Doctor


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