Engineering Technician Career: Pathways, Salary, Skills, Opportunities

Engineering Technician Career Guide

Engineering technicians play a critical support role in many industries by helping engineers design, develop, test, and manufacture products and systems. If you're mathematically inclined and interested in hands-on technical work, read on for an overview of this promising career path.

Engineering Technician: A skilled professional who supports engineers in various technical tasks related to engineering projects.

Engineering Technician Career Path

Most engineering technicians begin by earning an associate's degree in engineering technology. Relevant fields include electrical, mechanical, industrial, civil, and architectural engineering technology. Coursework covers engineering principles, technical procedures, equipment operation, and hands-on practice.

With an associate's degree, engineering technicians qualify for entry-level roles assisting engineers in research, design, testing, manufacturing, and field work. On the job experience allows technicians to gain specialized skills. Some go on to earn a bachelor's degree to advance to leadership positions.

Education and Skills Required

To start work as an engineering technician, you'll need an associate's degree in engineering technology. Programs typically take 2 years to complete. Some technicians later obtain a bachelor's degree as well, which allows them to advance and work more independently.

Important skills for engineering technicians include mathematical reasoning, technical aptitude, computer competency, critical thinking, communication, and the ability to work well on a team. Familiarity with engineering software and equipment used in your specialty is also beneficial.

Engineering Technician Salary Expectations

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for engineering technicians as of 2020 was $56,850 annually. Salaries range from around $40,000 for assistants and trainees to over $85,000 for experienced senior level technicians. Industries with the highest pay include oil/gas extraction, aerospace, utilities, and government.

Recommended Reading

  • Engineering Technician's Handbook - Comprehensive reference guide covering key engineering principles, calculations, and procedures.
  • Mathematics for Civil Engineering Technicians - Provides the math skills needed for civil engineering technology roles.
  • FE Electrical and Computer Review Manual - Helpful manual for preparing for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam.

Key Topics to Study

Some essential topics engineering technician students should master include:

  • Engineering drawing and CAD software
  • Technical writing and documentation
  • Applied physics, chemistry, and mathematics
  • Materials science and engineering processes
  • Quality control methods
  • Safety procedures and regulations
  • Equipment operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting

Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming an Engineering Technician

Typical steps to starting an engineering technician career include:

  • Earning an associate's degree in engineering technology
  • Completing an internship if possible while in school
  • Learning specialized engineering software or equipment
  • Obtaining certification or licensure if required
  • Developing math, science, technology, and problem-solving skills
  • Researching engineering technician job openings
  • Preparing your resume and interviewing successfully
  • Starting in an entry-level assistant or trainee role
  • Gaining on-the-job experience in your specialty

Top Programs and Colleges

Some of the top US engineering technology programs can be found at:

  • Fox Valley Technical College
  • Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology
  • Purdue University Northwest
  • Georgia Southern University
  • Texas A&M Engineering Technology

Look for ABET-accredited programs that align with local engineering industry needs.

Applying for Engineering Technician Jobs

When applying for engineering technician roles, highlight your degree, technical skills, computer abilities, math proficiency, and interest in hands-on engineering work. Prepare to interview by researching the company and practicing responses to common interview questions. With persistence and the right training, you can break into this promising and meaningful career field.