Engineering Technicians Job Description, Career as a Engineering Technicians, Salary, Employment
Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job
Education and Training: College
Salary: Median— $46,065
Employment Outlook: Good
The term “engineering technician” is used for persons who have a practical understanding of general engineering theories. They are primarily involved in solving technical problems through the use of scientific, mathematical, and engineering theories and principles. Their work is application-oriented, and the job profile depends on the technician’s area of specialization. For instance, those working in research and development are mostly involved in building equipments, conducting experiments, collecting data, calculating or recording results, and assisting scientists or engineers. On the other hand, engineering technicians employed in manufacturing industries are responsible for helping with the design, development, and production of products. Some are even associated with processes like quality control and inspection of products.
Engineering technicians work in the same disciplines as engineers, and have a variety of occupational titles. One can be an aerospace engineering and operations technician, civil engineering technician, electrical and electronics engineering technician, electromechanical engineering technician, environmental engineering technician, industrial engineering technician, or a mechanical engineering technician.
Education and Training Requirements
To enter the profession of an engineering technician, an associate’s degree is a must. Most employers prefer candidates with a 2-year college education in the field of engineering technology. A large number of community colleges, technical institutes, and private vocational-technical schools offer courses in the field. However, when enrolling in an institute, one must make sure that the academic program is accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
Academic requirements vary in accordance with the job one wishes to take up. For example, those wishing to become mechanical engineering technicians should pursue courses in mechanical design, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics. Similarly, electrical engineering technicians should ideally have an educational background in microprocessors, electrical circuits, and digital electronics.
Getting the Job
A large number of companies recruit entry-level engineering technicians through campus interviews conducted in technical schools and colleges. Interested candidates can also apply directly to the organization, or go through employment consultants and agencies. Often, job openings are listed on the company’s website, or in job portals on the Internet. One can also look up classified advertisements in newspapers, and accordingly apply to positions of his/her choice. Job information is also available through state employment services.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
To advance in one’s career as an engineering technician, it is beneficial to have certification. A number of voluntary certification programs are offered by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies. To obtain a certification, one has to clear a written examination in the chosen specialty, have certain relevant experience, undergo evaluation by a supervisor, and possess a recommendation. These certifications, though not mandatory, help give a candidate a competitive edge over others in the job market.
In entry-level jobs, the work of engineering technicians is very limited. However, with experience and expertise, one may advance to the position of a supervisor or a manager. Continuing education gives one the scope to pursue the profession of an engineer. Likewise, one can opt for a master’s or a doctorate degree in the field and take up the position of an instructor or faculty in an educational institute.
The employment of engineering technicians is expected to increase by 7% in the coming decade. Those with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, or with extensive training and experience, are likely to have an advantage as far as job opportunities are concerned.
Engineering technicians may be employed in offices, laboratories, construction sites, or industrial plants. Depending on their place of work, engineering technicians may be exposed to physical injuries from toxic substances, equipments, or chemicals. However, the work schedule is regular, and engineering technicians generally work for about 40 hours a week.
Where to Go for More Information
Junior Engineering Technical Society Guidance
1420 King St., Suite 405
Alexandria, VA 22314
Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc.
111 Market Place, Suite 1050
Baltimore, MD 21202
National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies
1420 King St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
American Society of Civil Engineers
1801 Alexander Bell Drive
Reston, VA 20191
American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Three Park Avenue
New York, NY 10016-5990
National Society of Professional Engineers
1420 King St.
Alexandria, VA 22314–2794
Earnings and Benefits
The earnings of engineering technicians vary in accordance with their industries. Those employed as aerospace engineering and operations technicians are among the most highly paid, and earn around $53,300 every year. On the other hand, the median annual wage of civil engineering technicians and environmental engineering technicians is about $ 40,560.
Engineering technicians also enjoy a host of benefits including paid leaves and vacations, retirement plans, and health insurance coverage.
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