Job Description of Engineering Technicians:
Engineering technicians solve technical problems in research and development, manufacturing, sales, construction, inspection, and maintenance by using science, engineering and mathematical principles. They often assist engineers
. The work of engineering technicians is more application oriented and more limited in scope than that of engineers. Engineering technicians specialize in the following engineering disciplines:
Employment Facts for Engineering Technicians:
Engineering technicians held 497,300 jobs in 2008. There were 164,000 electrical and electronic engineering technicians, 91,700 civil engineering technicians, 72,600 industrial engineering technicians, 46,100 mechanical engineering technicians, 21,200 environmental engineering technicians, 16,400 electro-mechanical technicians, and 8,700 aerospace engineering and operations technicians.
Educational Requirements for Engineering Technicians:
Those who want to work as engineering technicians should have at least an associate degree in engineering technology, although some employers will hire candidates who don't have formal training. Those who plan to become engineering technicians can expect to take courses in college algebra and trigonometry and basic science. Other coursework depends on specialty. For example, those who want to become electrical engineering technicians will take classes in electrical circuits, microprocessors and digital electronics.
Other Requirements for Engineering Technicians:
Certification of engineering technicians is voluntary but it can give job candidates a competitive advantage. It is offered by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies and includes a written exam in one of 30 specialties, job-related experience, a supervisory evaluation and a recommendation. Those who want to become engineering technicians should be creative and get along well with others.
Advancement for Engineering Technicians:
Engineering technicians initially work under the supervision of more experienced technicians, technologists, engineers or scientists. As they gain experience they are given more difficult assignments with limited supervision. Eventually they may become supervisors.
Job Outlook for Engineering Technicians:
Employment of engineering technicians, across all disciplines, is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2018. The outlook, however, will vary by specialty. For example, job growth for environmental engineering technicians is projected to be faster
, through 2018, than it will be for other occupations requiring post-secondary training or an associate degree (The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Civil engineering technicians will also see an increase in employment as it grows faster than the average for all occupations. Employment of electro-mechanical engineering technicians will decline (The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
How Much Do Engineering Technicians Earn?:
Median Annual Earnings in the Industries Employing the Largest Numbers of Engineering Technicians(U.S., 2009)
- Aerospace engineering and operations technicians: $56,960
- Electrical and electronic engineering technicians: $54,820
- Mechanical engineering technicians: $48,970
- Electro-mechanical technicians: $48,010
- Civil engineering technicians: $45,970
- Environmental engineering technicians: $42,350
Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much engineering technicians currently earn in your city.
A Day in an Engineering Technician's Life:
Engineering Technicians who work in research and development:
- build or set up equipment;
- prepare and conduct experiments;
- collect data;
- calculate or record results;
- assist engineers in design work, which may involve using computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) equipment
Engineering Technicians who work in quality control:
- inspect products and processes;
- conduct tests;
- collect data;
Engineering Technicians who work in manufacturing:
- assist engineers in product design;
- assist engineers in product development;
- assist engineers in production;
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Engineering Technicians, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos112.htm (visited April 26, 2010).
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oes/ (visited November 17, 2010).
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