Fabrication Engineer: Job Description, Salary and Requirements
Fabrication engineers design, implement and improve manufacturing systems and process. These professionals are generally manufacturing engineers who may have specialized knowledge in metallurgy, welding or a specific production process.
Job Description for a Fabrication Engineer
Fabrication engineers apply engineering principles and practices towards improving manufacturing processes. Employment may range from the automotive to optoelectronics industries. Engineers may be directly involved in the development and production process or act as project consultants, providing advice and recommendations when needed.
Fabrication engineers may begin a project by meeting with peers and clients in order to ascertain specific, desired improvements. These professionals may then research structural materials and components in order to enhance production and remove inefficiencies. Next, engineers might use computer aided design (CAD) software to draft models, design stress tests and ensure system integrity. Lastly, fabrication engineers may formally present performance enhancements, potential production schedules and estimated budgets to superiors or clients in order to gain project approval.
Once the project is approved, engineers begin to implement the changes in production. This may include assigning projects to technicians, placing orders for materials and overseeing installations. Throughout this phase, engineers monitor teams in order to investigate failures or setbacks, resolve technical issues and ensure the integrity of design. Other duties include meeting with vendors to ensure the quality and timeliness of materials and keeping records of change orders.
According to Payscale.com, entry-level manufacturing engineers earned salaries between $46,648 and $86,717, as of December 2013. The median salary for manufacturing engineers, regardless of experience, was $64,057. The same source indicated that salaries for manufacturing engineers with 1-4 years of experience ranged from $44,555 to $71,020.
Fabrication engineers are required to complete an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) accredited bachelor's degree program in manufacturing engineering, mechanical engineering or a related field. Students take general education classes in English and social sciences, as well as courses in advanced mathematics, steel structure analysis and process engineering. Students may also take CAD courses and use advanced designing principles to analyze models, projects and production.
All states require engineers to be licensed. Although licensing requirements may vary by state, most include a degree from an ABET-approved program, four years of documented work experience and completion of a two-part state examination. College graduates are qualified to take the first part of the exam, fundamentals of engineering, upon graduating. Those who successfully complete the exam are referred to as engineers-in-training (EITs).
EITs who have attained the sufficient four years of work experience may take the second part of the licensing exam, the principles and practice of engineering. Engineers who have completed all of the requirements become licensed professional engineers (PEs). Some states might require continuing education for PEs, which could include completing college-level coursework, attending educational seminars or publishing research papers.
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