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What Does an Engineering Technician Do?
Engineering technicians help engineers and scientists solve technical issues through scientific research and development. Those working in research and development are in charge of building and operating equipment, conducting experiments, collecting data and recording results for industry use and designing new equipment. In order to design new equipment, these technicians will use computer-aided drafting (CAD) programs to produce renderings and make adjustments to previous designs. Some work in quality control positions, in which they test products, monitor equipment and gather data for production purposes. Other engineering technicians work in manufacturing, which involves product design assistance, development and production duties. The majority of engineering technicians work in manufacturing, followed by professional, scientific and technical service industries in engineering or business services companies. A large amount of technicians also work for the federal government, state governments and local governments, doing engineering work on a contractual basis.
What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for an Engineering Technician?
The employment outlook for engineering technicians is favorable, but it’s expected to have a slower growth than the average for all other careers. However, the possible growth and job prospects will vary by engineering specialty. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of engineering technicians is likely to grow by 5 percent by 2018. Industry competition will cause companies to improve and update manufacturing facilities and processes, forcing them to hire more technicians. On the other hand, increased efficiencies and increasing globalization of the development process will most likely slow the job growth of engineering technicians. In an effort to reduce costs and increase project efficiency, many companies relocate parts of their development team, including engineering technicians, to overseas facilities. Engineering technicians made an average salary of $56,560 in 2008, according to the Bureau. Job opportunities will be the greatest for graduates with an associate degree or additional postsecondary education in engineering technology or other related majors.
How Can I Become an Engineering Technician?
Your pursuit to become an engineering technician begins with earning an associate degree in engineering technology or another related field. Associate degrees can be obtained at community colleges, technical institutes, four-year colleges and universities, as well as public and private vocational-technical schools. Most employers prefer to hire candidates with at least two years of postsecondary training, because they are suited with the technical training and science skills needed within the industry. Many degree programs allow students to specialize in a particular field of engineering technology, such as electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and electro-mechanical engineering. Depending on the desired specialty, more courses or training may be required before you can enter the specific field. In addition to your associate degree and additional training, job applicants should possess creativity, professional communication skills and teamwork abilities. Once they are employed, engineering technicians will perform general duties under the supervision of experienced technicians, engineers or scientists. With time, they will increase their responsibilities and take on more difficult assignments with little supervision.