When comparing mechanical contractors vs. engineers, it’s common for people to confuse the two as simply one and the same. While mechanical contractors are mechanical engineers, not all engineers are mechanical contractors. So, let’s discuss what mechanical contractors do, what makes them different from your typical engineer, and what you would use them for.
What Are Mechanical Contractors?
A mechanical contractor’s primary purpose is to take an existing mechanical system and redesign it to be more efficient and work better. Contractors possess the knowledge and expertise of any mechanical engineer so that they’re able to understand complex systems and identify where they can make improvements. Mechanical contracting services can be found in a wide variety of industries—from automotive to pharmaceuticals—to address problems as they appear and improve the overall quality of machinery and products.
How They Differ
As mentioned, mechanical contractors are mechanical engineers, but not all mechanical engineers are contractors. The primary difference between mechanical contractors vs. engineers is that the engineers design and produce new systems while the contractors will polish them to address any issues that are within the design. A mechanical engineer also handles the manufacturing of a product so that it can be used by the general public.
Typical Job Opportunities
Because mechanical contractors span across so many industries, many contractors will take up the roles of field service technician—contractors who frequently move between job sites as necessary—and general contractors that allow them to accept a wide variety of jobs, similar to a handyman. Some of the most common uses of mechanical contractors that you’ve likely seen include HVAC technicians that repair heating and cooling services for buildings. Mechanical contractors also operate on daily necessities like plumbing, electricals, and ductwork.
Becoming a Mechanical Contractor
If you were ever considering getting into the field of mechanical contracting yourself, then there are a few things you may need. First, and most importantly, is a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. You may go on to get a masters in your chosen field, but it is not typically necessary. Next, you’ll need a mechanical contractor license obtained from a written and practical exam that proves your expertise.
Notably, HVAC technicians do not need an engineering degree but do require an HVAC license.