How to Become an Engineering Technician

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Engineering is a very complex field that involves obtaining and applying scientific, technical, and mathematical knowledge to designing and creating many different things and processes. Engineering technicians are vital professionals in the field that solve technical problems and assist scientists and engineers with many tasks such as research and development.

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What does an engineering technician do?

Engineering technicians use science, mathematics, and engineering theories and principles to solve technical problems in all aspects of engineering such as maintenance, research and development, sales, manufacturing, construction, and inspection. Some work in quality control collecting data, testing processes and products, and carrying out tests. In the manufacturing division, they help with the design, development, or production of products. In the research and development area they set up or build equipment, collect data, set up and carry out experiments, record and analyze results, and help scientists and engineers with other tasks. They may also assist in creating models of new equipment.

Most engineering technicians specialize in a specific type of engineering such as biomedical, aerospace, civil, mechanical, and industrial engineering.

What kind of training does an engineering technician need?

Engineering technicians typically need an associate degree in engineering technology. Many community colleges, technical institutes, vocational-technical schools, colleges and universities, and the Armed Forces offer engineering technician training. The Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredits most of the associate degree engineering technology programs.

Many engineering technicians become certified to become more competitive in the field. Certifications are offered by various organizations such as the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies. A passing score on a written examination, work experience, recommendations, and a supervisory evaluation are typically the certification requirements.

What are the prospects for a career as an engineering technician?

Employment of engineering technicians is projected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 7% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Companies expanding and updating their product designs and manufacturing divisions will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for engineering technicians with formal education or extensive on the job training in engineering technology. Job openings will also arise from the need to replace workers who retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do engineering technicians make?

As of August 2009, engineering technicians with less than 1 year experience were paid hourly rates between $12.10 and $16.40. Engineering technicians with 1 to 4 years experience were paid hourly rates between $13.61 and $19.55 (2).

A career as an engineering technician is a great choice for people interested in engineering technology. Engineering technicians must have great creativity and be innovative because many help in design and development. Good communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively with other professionals are essential because engineering technicians are typically a part of a team of engineers and other professionals.

Joshua T Osborne

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