Equipment Engineer: Job Description and Education Requirements
The professional title of equipment engineer may reference engineers in several engineering fields. Aspiring equipment engineers are typically required to earn at least a bachelor's degree in engineering, along with the appropriate licensing.
Equipment engineers may evaluate, inspect, maintain, design, analyze and improve various types of equipment, including electronic and mechanical equipment. These engineers can work in distinct areas, such as electrical, mechanical or computer engineering.
Their specific responsibilities may depend on the type of equipment they work on. However, general duties can include testing and overseeing the production of equipment, as well as performing extensive and complex repairs on existing equipment.
Salary and Employment Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have employment growth predictions or median salary data specifically for equipment engineers. However, the BLS expected electrical engineers, mechanical engineers and computer hardware engineers would see slower-than-average growth in employment opportunities between 2012 and 2022.
As of May 2012, the BLS indicated that electrical engineers earned a median salary of $87,920 per year. In comparison, the same report found mechanical engineers earned a median of $80,580, while computer hardware engineers saw a median of $100,920.
Equipment engineers are required to hold at least a bachelor's degree in a sub-field of engineering, such as electronic, mechanical or computer engineering, from an accredited college or university. The curriculum may include math and science courses, such as calculus, physics and chemistry, along with applied design work in laboratories, on computer software or both. The bachelor's degree must be from an ABET-accredited program.
According to the BLS, all states require engineers to be licensed (www.bls.gov). Although specific requirements can vary by state, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) offers the licensing examination (www.ncees.org).
The NCEES requires prospective engineers to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) test before they can become a designated engineer-in-training. Once they gain the requisite four years of work experience under a professional engineer, they may then qualify to take the NCEES' Principles and Practice in Engineering exam in order to become a Professional Engineer (PE).
Some equipment engineers may want to gain more specific knowledge and credentials through advanced training. For example, equipment engineers working on mechanical heating and cooling equipment may want to complete an Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) advanced certificate program as part of a job requirement or for general career advancement. Graduate programs, such as the Master of Science in Engineering, can also offer specialized preparation.
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