When technical problems arise in various fields, an engineering technician is often called to the scene. An engineer tech works with other engineers and scientists to solve problems using engineering, science, and mathematical fundamentals. He or she usually specializes in a single area to fully learn and understand how engineering applies to that single discipline.
Many different job sectors may require an engineering technician. Sales, inspection, research and development, construction, maintenance, and manufacturing fields all require the expertise of an engineering tech at some point in time. Each field has its own unique individual needs, however, which calls for engineers with specialized training.
Some specialized areas that an engineer may choose to work in can include energy development, such as nuclear, petroleum, or mining, and geothermal concentrations. Others may choose a chemically inclined route dealing with biomedical or chemical materials. Engineers with an affinity for gadgets might work with electronics or computer hardware, while those who enjoy the outdoors and architecture can choose mechanical, industrial, and materials concentrations. Still other specialized fields include civil, aerospace, environmental, and agricultural majors.
The day to day work life of an engineering technician varies depending on his or her focus. He or she may build and set up equipment, collect data, work on designs with computer-aided drafting equipment, and conduct experiments if working in research and development. If operating in the quality control field, however, duties might include inspecting products, collecting data, designing products, and aiding other engineers in product development and production in general.
While an engineering technician may have an assistant engineer, he or she also usually works beneath the supervision of a superior engineer, scientist, or technologist. The more experienced an engineer becomes, the more difficult assignments he or she may be given. Eventually engineers who become very experienced may become supervisors themselves. Electrical engineers may design or test electrical equipment, while civil engineers help design bridges and highway systems.
An engineering technician can typically expect to work a standard forty-hour work week. The location of his or her workplace will vary depending upon his or her area of concentration. Laboratories, factories, offices, construction sites, and many other locations may serve as a job site. People who work in this profession may face the risk of being exposed to hazardous materials, depending on the field.
People who wish to become engineering technicians should have a strong background in mathematics, science, and related fields. An associate degree is typically a minimum requirement for an engineering position, though some engineers are hired based on experience. Degrees should be in engineering technology or comparable areas. Specialty coursework should also be completed based on the preferred area of concentration. While certification is optional in this field, it can provide technicians with an advantage.