What does a Field Service Engineer do?

A. Garrett

A field service engineer designs, installs, or repairs equipment related to various sectors of technology. For example, an engineer can work in electronics or biomedical fields, and in the public or private sector. People working in this profession perform repairs and installations on site at the customer’s home or place of business instead of from one standard location. The job description is fairly standard throughout the trade, but it does vary somewhat based on sub-specializations. Working as a field service engineer usually requires a bachelor’s degree from a college or university or equivalent training.

A field service engineer may install and operate equipment.
A field service engineer may install and operate equipment.

Technically, there is no particular training or schooling available for becoming a service engineer who works in the field, and any formally educated engineer who installs or repairs electronics at a work site can probably do this job. These engineers can work in the public or private sector, although employment is most commonly found at private sector electronics manufacturing companies. Companies often hire engineers so that they can consult with customers seeking to buy equipment or install and help train the customer’s employees on how to use hardware.

Field service engineers may be tasked with testing and calibrating manufacturing equipment.
Field service engineers may be tasked with testing and calibrating manufacturing equipment.

Additional job duties include field-testing equipment and designing it. Someone working in this job may be asked to look at blueprints to find potential flaws in a design or to develop procedures for proper installation. Also, the job description associated with this occupation may require the engineer to install and operate equipment at test sites to ensure a product’s efficacy.

Usually, a field service engineer focuses primarily on identifying and repairing equipment problems at a customer’s site. Someone working in the field is expected to resolve the issue in a timely manner without disrupting the client’s work flow. These engineers seldom work under direct supervision and sometimes oversee the work performed by repair or installation technicians. Consequently, someone hired for this position should be self-motivated and be comfortable in a leadership role.

Due to the fact that these engineers perform most of their work at the client’s office or work site, someone seeking employment in this occupation should be willing to travel and usually must have a clean driving record. He or she should also be able to effectively communicate and teach clients about the products. Most people in this field have a bachelor’s degree in some engineering discipline, but some employers hire people who have on-the-job or military training.

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Discussion Comments


@CrazyGamer6- I don't think there would be a task or job that someone with a Bachelor's degree would not be able to do. Likewise I don't think there would ever be a time when someone who has real-world skills would not be able to complete a job or task. I think it more centers on the character and work ethic on the individual. That more than anything else would determine the outcome of a comparison. You could have someone with a lot of book smarts and the skills to get the job done, that is a lazy and non-motivated person who would not do everything he or she could to get a job done. Or you could have a veteran engineer who has knowledge that isn't interested in doing a good job but is more interested in getting paid.


I'm sure someone would notice which of the two was a better engineer. Inevitably there would come a time when a task or job needed to be done and one of the two would do it better than the other.


It would be interesting to see how someone would compare two people who have the same set of skills in this field. With the only difference being one would have real-world, hands-on experience while the other would have a Bachelor's degree and impressive grades.

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