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NOC Code: NOC Code: 2132 Occupation: Mechanical Engineers
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Mechanical engineers research, design and develop machinery and systems for heating, ventilating and air conditioning, power generation, transportation, processing and manufacturing. They also perform duties related to the evaluation, installation, operation and maintenance of mechanical systems. Mechanical engineers are employed by consulting firms, by power-generating utilities and in a wide range of manufacturing, processing and transportation industries or they may be self-employed. Mechanical engineers research, design and develop machinery and systems for heating, ventilating and air conditioning, power generation, transportation, processing and manufacturing. They also perform duties related to the evaluation, installation, operation and maintenance of mechanical systems. Mechanical engineers are employed by consulting firms, by power-generating utilities and in a wide range of manufacturing, processing and transportation industries or they may be self-employed.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4 5
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4 5
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3 4 5
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3 4
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3 4
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3 4 5
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3 4
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2 3 4
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3 4
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3 4
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3 4


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read email from co-workers, colleagues, customers and vendors. For example, read email from suppliers giving details about the availability of products and services. (1)
  • Read brief descriptions and instructions on forms to understand work requirements. For example, read summaries of customers' requests for work to be completed and mechanical engineering project details in work initiation forms. (2)
  • Read safety labels on machinery that describe shielding and guarding hazards and methods of protection. (2)
  • Read letters from suppliers describing products and services. Read meeting notes summarizing discussions with clients or contractors. (2)
  • Read articles in trade magazines such as Plant Engineering and Maintenance and newsletters to keep current with trends and new products in your industry. For example, read studies of global robotics markets or articles about scheduling plant shutdowns. (3)
  • Read about the application, performance, troubleshooting and maintenance of equipment in technical manuals. For example, read technical manuals during the design phase of projects to find out how machinery can be modified for specific applications. (3)
  • Read "invitation to tender" documents to prepare proposals to conduct work. For example, read lengthy tender documents requesting proposals to replace ventilation systems. They provide detailed descriptions of clients' technical requirements, diagrams and drawings, text that explains or presents the drawings and tables of outcomes to be achieved. Mechanical engineers read tenders carefully to get a thorough comprehension of new projects to be able to address all aspects of the work in the proposals. (4)
  • Read lengthy standards, codes and procedures. For example, read standards documents published by the American Society for Testing and Materials to understand equipment fabrication requirements, standards published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to identify technical requirements for engineering drawings, or your own organization's standard operating procedures to identify business process requirements. Then assess which standards are relevant to the projects at hand. (4)
  • Read scientific journals and complex mechanical engineering textbooks. Evaluate the quality of research and extract information relevant to your work. For example, read research reports published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers or articles from the Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, to keep abreast of the latest research in your specialty areas. The journal articles are highly technical, may be lengthy and are written for engineers. (5)
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Writing
  • Write notes to summarize conversations conducted during meetings with clients and co-workers. (1)
  • Write email to clients, co-workers, colleagues, suppliers and contractors. For example, write to clients to ask for technical details such as the capacity of their boilers, project managers to inform them of equipment delivery delays and the implications for project timelines, suppliers to request technical data about equipment and contractors explaining design requirements for projects. (2)
  • Write letters. For example, write cover letters to accompany reports submitted to clients. Write short business letters to architects or contractors to answer their questions about building code requirements. (2)
  • Write descriptions and explanations on forms and on work orders. For example, write descriptions of clients' equipment problems. (3)
  • Write preventive maintenance reports which summarize problems identified, services performed and solutions recommended. Write post-project assessment reports that summarize observations of project teams. (3)
  • Write proposals in response to [invitations to tender]. Describe proposed approaches in persuasive language and define roles, responsibilities, deliverables, timelines and costs. Clearly address all facets of projects in a well-organized and easily-followed fashion. (4)
  • Write lengthy analytical reports for clients. For example, write reports discussing the air quality of buildings in which you analyze air quality measurements, identify problems, suggest solutions and make recommendations. Present technical information so that it can be understood by clients who are not engineers. (5)
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Computer Use
  • Use communications software. For example, use Outlook to exchange email with attached documents with co-workers, colleagues and clients. (2)
  • Use financial software. For example, prepare project and annual operating budgets using the basic features of financial software programs such as QuickBooks. (2)
  • Use databases. For example, consult vendor databases in Access for equipment specifications to identify models that meet your needs. Access client contact information, project histories, maintenance services performed and problems encountered by using search features of customer management software programs. (2)
  • Use Internet software. For example, use Internet Explorer to find information on new products and technologies using search engines. Move large electronic files to customers using Internet file transfer protocol. Access web servers remotely using virtual private network protocols. For example, access and analyze vibration monitoring data at customer locations via the Internet. Download data from customer sites to their servers for further analysis. (3)
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining software. For example, draw mechanical plans using AutoCAD. Create three-dimensional models using advanced features of three-dimensional modelling software and enter data of the architectural and engineering plans and of existing structures into the software before drawing the mechanical structures. (3)
  • Use statistical analysis software. For example, conduct reliability studies and data analyses using the advanced features of statistical analysis software such as SPSS. (3)
  • Use spreadsheet software. Set-up or create spreadsheets such as Excel to collect data and create schedules and budgets. For example, plan project budgets, complete expense reports, monitor project expenditures, project schedules and person-hours worked. Create models to solve complicated math equations by using advanced features of spreadsheet software. (3)
  • Use graphics software. For example, use PowerPoint to present the results of analysis reports by using text, tables, graphs, pictures and animations. (3)
  • Use word processing software. For example, use Word to write letters to clients, vendors and contractors using standard templates. Write analysis reports and books of specifications containing tables of contents, heading levels, tables, graphs, imported pictures and bulleted lists. (3)
  • Plan, schedule and monitor projects using the advanced features of project management software. View digital site photographs using image viewer software. Use various specialized software to identify the preventive maintenance required for machinery and equipment, conduct vibration analysis of machines and develop reports of thermal imaging and measurement. (3)
  • Do programming, system and software design. For example, program robots using Programmable Logic Controllers such that the robots can interface with other robots and existing equipment. (5)
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Oral Communication
  • Communicate your expectations to contractors. For example, describe expectations for conducting jobs properly, quickly and within the agreed upon scope and budget. (2)
  • Contact suppliers to verify product availability, obtain equipment specifications and negotiate timely deliveries. For example, call suppliers to locate equipment that can handle high temperatures. Find out if such equipment exists, when it can be delivered or if the suppliers can provide suitable alternatives to meet their needs. (2)
  • Interact with supervisors or managers for advice and direction, to discuss work and provide updates. (2)
  • Interact with clients by phone or in person to identify client needs, discuss project requirements, obtain information about mechanical systems, inform them of problems or delays encountered and provide progress updates. (2)
  • Conduct job interviews to select engineering and technical staff for your organization. (2)
  • Consult with colleagues to obtain their input on challenging work problems. (2)
  • Negotiate service contracts with clients, suppliers and contractors. Get a clear understanding of clients' needs. Mechanical engineers try to get the best deals for their organizations while meeting client needs and maintaining positive relationships. (3)
  • Make presentations to clients, executives and colleagues on topics such as analysis reports, project scope descriptions, budget estimates and company capabilities. Mechanical engineers answer questions and justify their recommendations. (4)
  • Make presentations on research findings and highly technical and complex topics to large groups. (4)
  • Facilitate discussions with co-workers to co-ordinate work and brainstorm solutions to problems encountered. Motivate work teams and be responsible for ensuring engineering teams produce quality work within tight timeframes. (4)
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Money Math
  • Prepare travel reimbursement claims including living expenses, airfare charges, travel costs charged at per kilometre rates and applicable taxes. (2)
  • Prepare invoices and approve payments of suppliers' and contractors' invoices. For example, prepare invoices that include labour charges at per hour rates, and materials, travel expenses, taxes and discounts. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Prepare schedules for clients' projects such as conducting vibration analysis studies of equipment in oil refineries and pulp and paper mills. Calculate the expected number of person hours required to complete jobs and establish schedules that identify the key activities, timelines and project deliverables. (2)
  • Compare cost options for clients to help them determine best prices. For example, compare the short and long term costs of repairing equipment versus replacing it. (3)
  • Adjust project budgets. For example, review weekly and monthly cost reports, to monitor costs such as labour, materials and consultancy expenses. Compare budgeted amounts to actual costs and project costs forward to see if projects will be over or under budget, identify trends and prevent cash flow problems. (3)
  • Monitor budgets for the development, design and construction of large, multi-million dollar mechanical systems. Account for complications caused by unanticipated costs like changes to mechanical system design or delay in deliveries; and consider quantities of a variety of materials and supplies to track expenditures. Consult with team members to review in detail why costs may be higher than expected and make budget revisions as projects proceed to avoid losing additional time and money. (4)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Complete work order and change work order forms to notify key parties about projects. For example, complete work orders when oil refineries, power generation or food processing plants request infrared scans of their electrical systems or motor control centres. The forms indicate the work to be completed or revised and project, customer and work team requirements. (2)
  • Take measurements from scale drawings. For example, measure scale drawings of component parts to verify fit within allowed spaces or may measure scale drawings of pipes to ensure that they fit within electricity generation systems. (2)
  • Enter data into tables and spreadsheets. For example, enter the numbers of hours worked into cost control tables to monitor labour costs. (2)
  • Consult product specification books to identify the capacities, dimensions and prices of particular pieces of equipment. The specification books contain lengthy lists with headings and subheadings and tables with abbreviations and codes. (3)
  • Calculate areas and volumes. For example, measure project sites to identify obstacles which might complicate the installation of pieces of equipment. Calculate the volume of rooms to identify the level of ventilation required to meet acceptable air quality standards. (4)
  • Interpret radiographs, sonographs and other material inspection scans and images. For example, look at x-ray images during the inspection of piping joints. (4)
  • Interpret data presented in graphs. For example, the results of reliability studies to assess the cause of machinery problems. (4)
  • Make indirect measurements using trigonometry and geometry. For example, apply trigonometric principles to calculate the position of antennae in relation to satellites or measure vibration of equipment at inaccessible points. Calculate the curve or trajectory of robots using principles of geometry and trigonometry. Coordinates in space may be obtained to establish the relative positions of antennas, satellites and reflectors by using theodolites and applying principles of triangulation. (5)
  • Take information from complex scale engineering drawings illustrating how equipment and components work to calculate installation requirements and ensure the plans meet mechanical engineering standards. For example, evaluate manufacturing, industrial and power generation equipment scale drawings to identify areas within the drawings that require revision before projects can proceed. (5)
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Data Analysis
  • Track data for many performance and maintenance parameters using maintenance tracking programs. Track the number of failures, mean time between failures, labour and material costs that were required to maintain equipment over specified time periods. Use these analyses to determine if equipment operation can be improved to reduce the long term costs. For example, analyze used-oil analysis chemical reports to find out how much machines are wearing and to predict when bearings need to be replaced or gear boxes overhauled. (3)
  • Identify quality parameters, set up data gathering systems, collect and analyze data. For example, monitor lead levels in drinking water following water pipe reconditioning. Collect samples at regular intervals to ensure that lead levels meet acceptable standards and are declining as the system ages. (3)
  • Monitor productivity data of people and machines. For example, track work productivity by monitoring the number of change orders, source control documents, waivers, work instructions and written reports created and issue weighted outputs that recognize the relative difficulty of tasks to develop monthly performance benchmarking data for management and clients. Calculate production rates of robots by averaging their productivity over a number of trials and compare them to the desired levels of productivity of the assembly line. (3)
  • Collect data and develop statistics to describe equipment and system functionality. For example, conduct reliability studies during equipment testing to establish how it performs under various controlled conditions. (4)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the life of machines and equipment. For example, estimate the length of time until machine failures. Consider your knowledge, experience and the analysis of monitoring data to predict the time until failures occur. Clients depend on mechanical engineers to make accurate predictions so that they can take measures to prevent unnecessary and costly plant shutdowns. (3)
  • Estimate costs for mechanical design and construction projects. Consider previous experience with similar jobs. Making accurate estimates is important for mechanical engineers to be able to effectively plan and manage budgets. Inaccurate estimating invariably leads to client dissatisfaction and financial loss for engineering firms. (4)
  • Estimate durations of development, fabrication, construction and repair tasks. For example, estimate project completion times by considering how well projects have adhered to planned timelines, and the past and future utilization of personnel and materials. Estimate the time required to repair system malfunctions based on clients' descriptions of the problems and the mechanical engineers' experience with similar problems. Accurate estimates are essential for business success and satisfied clients. (4)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Mechanical engineers are autonomous and have flexibility to plan their work schedules within frameworks established by their managers. They determine how to organize their work to meet deliverables and timelines of team-based projects. They may need to coordinate and integrate job tasks with other engineers and technical staff. Mechanical engineers often have to reshuffle their schedules to meet client' requests and deal with problems caused by mechanical failures. Mechanical engineers may contribute to long-term and strategic planning for their organizations. They frequently assume project management roles for large projects and plan, assign and coordinate work of co-workers, contractors and vendors. They plan jobs, decide what tasks need to be done, draw up work schedules, and may be responsible for overseeing others' work, providing training and evaluating employees' work performance. (4)
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Decision Making
  • Decide which products to purchase and contractors to select. For example, review catalogues to determine if the parts are standard or must be customized and consider costs, volume discounts, delivery times and past experience with product vendors. When selecting contractors consider factors such as work quality, safety records, reputation and ability to deliver on time. If two bids are technically equal, select the lowest bid. (2)
  • Decide which measuring tools and methods to use. For example, decide where to place sensors within machines to get the best measurements when conducting vibration analysis. Consider previous experience, machine layouts, the horizontal or vertical orientation of machines and the shapes of bearings to determine the sensor placements. (2)
  • Decide the appropriate codes and standards to apply when completing client projects. Use technical knowledge and experience to select the most appropriate codes such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineering Codes and the International Organization for Standardization 9001 standards. (3)
  • Decide which clients have priority when multiple clients are experiencing technical difficulties simultaneously. Consider the types of services required, the time of the calls and the production losses and costs for the clients. For example, one robot out of operation in a car assembly plant can shut down the entire production and may cost ten thousand dollars per hour to the client. (3)
  • Decide which materials and equipment to use for engineering projects. Take into account client specifications, industry norms and cost. For example, decide the most appropriate steam flow meters to use by considering available technology, the level of precision needed, availability and costs. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Deal with team conflicts. Meet with the individuals involved, reinforce the fact they are on the same team and discuss options for solving the conflicts that maintain quality and safety. (2)
  • Engineering plans cannot be implemented due to unexpected financial or physical barriers. For example, a mechanical engineer may find that beams are blocking locations where pipes should pass. The mechanical engineer consults a civil engineer to find out if it is possible to move the beams and reviews engineering plans to identify alternative ways to pass the pipes. (2)
  • Machine or equipment components do not fit together well. For example, an engineer in a manufacturing facility finds that bearings on a conveyor belt are looser than the desired push fit. The engineer determines the correct dimensions for the bearings, revises the drawings, makes note of design changes and notifies the millwrights and others who will be affected by the changes. (3)
  • Deal with project delays because essential pieces of equipment will be shipped late. Determine the consequences to project budgets and schedules and identify strategies, such as locating alternate vendors and accelerating other areas until the equipment arrives, to minimize the effects. (3)
  • There are cost overruns in mechanical engineering projects. Consult with team members to review in detail why the costs are higher than expected. Brainstorm to identify less expensive methods and materials that meet the clients' specifications and timelines. (3)
  • Completed jobs do not meet safety and regulatory standards. For example, after school pipes and fittings are replaced, a mechanical engineer may find that lead levels are unacceptable. The engineer convenes a team to brainstorm and identify the sources of lead contamination. The engineer implements measures to deal with the high lead levels and communicates these plans to clients. Once the lead contamination is gone the engineer monitors the installation to see that lead does not exceed acceptable levels. (3)
  • Time and money has been lost when equipment malfunctions or fails to perform as expected. For example, following testing, mechanical engineers may determine that equipment is not performing as expected. They consult industry standards which describe potential problems that can be encountered, how to investigate them, potential solutions and remedial actions. They analyze data and formulate and investigate hypotheses to find the source of the problems. They re-design the equipment and conduct additional testing to demonstrate that the new pieces of equipment are of acceptable quality. (4)
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Finding Information
  • Contact vendors or consult catalogues and websites to obtain equipment specifications, prices and delivery options. For example, search for information about pump capacities and prices of fans. (1)
  • Consult organizational intranets to access organization-specific information required for your work. For example, locate project work templates such as job initiation forms and job task numbers, reports of previous projects and lists of equipment inventories. (2)
  • Find technical information about materials and engineering methods. Consult colleagues and experts in other engineering disciplines. For example, consult colleagues with expertise in welding or parts manipulation to find information about unfamiliar applications or ask metallurgical engineers about the properties of alloys to determine which materials to use for projects. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Judge the functionality or serviceability of equipment. Analyze evaluation data and apply International Organization of Standardization standards to calculate fault severities and consider codes such as the American Society for Mechanical Engineering, pipeline, structural steel codes, provincial boiler and pressure vessel acts and client limitations such as linguistic or financial barriers. Accurate judgements are vital to customer satisfaction and the credibility and profitability of the engineering firm. (3)
  • Judge the accuracy and completeness of mechanical engineering drawings before forwarding them for implementation. Ensure that the drawings adhere to required codes and standards and that the information is complete and presented in a clear and concise manner. Check that sufficient details have been provided for work to proceed. (3)
  • Conduct operations, environmental, safety and construction audits to assess quality, conformity with standards, safety and environmental risks. For example, conduct operational audits in manufacturing plants and construction sites to verify that the organizations meet all provincial and federal regulations. Also conduct environmental audits to check that organizations have spill containment procedures in place, that all tanks are double-walled and that organizations are following recycling and composting guidelines. Mechanical engineers' credibility will be damaged If they fail to think critically and their organizations can suffer serious consequences. (4)
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