I’m a 23 m with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering looking for career advice on what should I do next with my career?

I (23 m) am a 21 Mechanical Engineering grad. looking to for some career advice

I graduated with a B.S in mechanical engineering from an accredited college in the midwest in May of 2021. During my time at college I worked everyday that I wasn’t in school at various jobs such as a meat clerk at a grocery store, an equipment operator for a mining company, and I had a CAD internship during COVID which didn’t result in much. I did a year long project my senior year designing a VRF (variable refrigerant flow) and a DOAS (designated outside air system) for an apartment building. I took a mix of design, manufacturing, and robotics classes.

After I graduated college I took a job designing fire sprinkler systems. There wasn’t much out there when I graduated so I grabbed what I could find that. It wasn’t my 1st pick, but it was a job nonetheless. It pays alright with overtime. Everyone in the office is nice and everyone likes me.

I don’t mind the job, but I don’t see myself in it long term for the following reasons:

1. The only further education I would need is taking NICET water based systems layout tests to get to NICET level 4 (I’m currently level 1 and within 6 months ready to take level 2). I would get small bonuses and with my company it’s more of a requirement to stay employed rather than seen as a promotion. There’s plenty to learn about fire sprinkler systems, but that would be it for further education.

2. There are other paths within my company outside of design such as sales, but there isn’t any need for more sales people. Our company gets more contracts than we can handle right now. Sales doesn’t require any further education.

3. The pay is alright, but the raises are only once a year and barely keep up with inflation. If I were to stay in the next 1.5 years I would be salary and overtime is the only way I’ve been able to make the income I want to make.

One of my parents neighbors knows about my situation (my parents talk and hangout with some of the neighbors) and he works in the construction business. He says that I can if I want just stick it out till I get my NICET level 3 and then I can have a wider range of where I want to live and who I want to work for. He says there’s big money when I get my NICET level 3 (earliest I can get it is in 3 years). I don’t know if I want to stick it out for that long and if I do I might be missing out on better opportunities than if I get a job that requires and engineering degree.

My current ambitions are to get a well paying job where I can use my engineering degree with lots of room for upward mobility. I don’t mind working long hours. My Dad says I can do a lot more. He has a B.S. in STEM as well as an MBA. He says that if you want to earn the big bucks I need an MBA. I don’t know what industry or career path I would need to get one. Ideally I would be employed by a fortune 500 company and they would pay for most of it while I would work full time. I don’t really care what industry that I’m in. What matters most to me is having a well paying job that uses my engineering degree so I can save for retirement and travel.

Side note: I’m in a relationship and my gf (22) has recently accepted a really well paying job close to where I work. I don’t have any ties to where I’m currently at other than my gf. She also has a B.S. in chemical engineering.

If someone could give me advice as to where to get a job at that pays well and has plenty of upward mobility that uses my mechanical engineering degree that would be amazing!

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