Fluid power engineers are experts at using pressurized fluids to transmit and control energy. Workers in this career use liquids such as hydraulic fluid and gas including pressurized air to accomplish engineering goals. Individuals typically complete four years of specialized college education in order to become a fluid engineer. Additionally, specialists in this field often attend internships and advanced training courses to improve their employment prospects.
The fluid power industry in the United States generates billions of dollars in revenue each year. Fluid power in both hydraulic and pneumatic forms is commonly used in the robotics, aerospace, and construction industries. When a new fluid power device is developed or tested, a fluid engineer is required. These specialists work in many diverse areas of industry, but most follow the same general path to become a fluid engineer.
Preparation for a career in fluid engineering should begin at the high school or even middle school level. During this time, students should take classes in math and science. Those who wish to be fluid power engineers should focus on maintaining good grades, and pursue extracurricular activities related to engineering. There are also a number of engineering groups that may be available for membership to high school students.
A four-year college degree is usually required to become a fluid engineer. Students should attend a college that offers courses in fluid power. Most colleges do not offer a degree specifically for fluid engineering. People interested in careers in this field should ideally earn a Bachelor of Science degree such as Mechanical Engineering or Civil Engineering.
Some companies offer fluid engineering jobs to graduates with only a bachelor's degree. Internships after college often improve the chances of a job offer in this field, and also increase the potential salary of an engineer. There are a number of organizations and universities that offer a variety of internship opportunities to engineering professionals. The training provided through groups like these provide hands-on experience that is very attractive to fluid power employers.
Job seekers who have both an engineering degree and training in fluid power can apply for positions in a variety of industries. Industry associations including the National Fluid Power Association maintain lists of companies that have a need for qualified fluid engineers, and may be a valuable resource for those seeking employment in the field. Workers who have studied and gained the experience needed to become a fluid engineer can typically work on projects ranging from farm tractors to jet aircraft.