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Become a Facilities Engineer: Career Guide

Discover the requirements to become a facilities engineer in this lesson. Learn about the job description and duties, and see the process to start a career in facilities engineering. View article »

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  • 0:05 Facilities Engineers
  • 0:56 Earn a Bachelor's Degree
  • 1:42 Find Entry-Level Work
  • 2:10 Earn an Engineering License
  • 3:00 Consider Voluntary…

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Video Transcript

Facilities Engineers

Facilities engineers design, review, and implement new processes or improvements in manufacturing, facilities management, or a related field. Facilities engineers may also be responsible for plant operations. In this role, they may analyze material and labor costs, review construction bids, and make contractual recommendations. Other duties may include reviewing procedures to ensure compliance with government health and safety standards. Facilities engineers can work in offices, with some site visits, depending on the project. A typical work week is comprised of full-time hours, but some facilities engineers can work longer hours.

Facilities engineers earn a median annual salary of $73,003 as of October 2016, according to PayScale.com.

Degree Level Bachelor's degree is standard; occasionally employers prefer a master's degree
Degree Field Structural, mechanical, or manufacturing engineering
Experience 3-10+ years' experience required by employers, depending on specifics of the position
Certification and Licensure Some employers prefer candidates with EPA certification, boiler operator license, and professional engineer license
Key Skills Problem solving skills; verbal and written communication skills; familiarity with Auto CAD, MAYA Nastran, ReliaSoft Weibull++ 6, Sigmetrix CETOL 6 Sigma, and MathWorks MATLAB; knowledge of the building process; knowledge of structural code requirements; ability to read blueprints
Salary (2016) $73,003 yearly (median)

Sources: Job postings, Occupational Information Network, PayScale.com

Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Facilities engineers must complete at least a bachelor's degree program. Bachelor's degree programs in civil, mechanical, or structural engineering typically last about 4 years and include general education classes in addition to courses in mechatronics, thermodynamics, and automatic control mechanisms. These programs also include computer-aided design (CAD) courses, in which students use computer software to develop and test mechanical prototypes and processes. Students may also participate in hands-on laboratory classes in which they can fabricate, assemble, and disassemble machinery. Additionally, some programs may require students to manage a design project, which includes estimating input costs, project timeframes, and financial benefits.

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Find Entry-Level Work

Entry-level facilities engineers are responsible for reviewing machine performance and noting areas of inefficiency or improvement. Engineers may begin by analyzing the specific design for a machine. They may use CAD software and mathematical modeling to modify components and test performance. Once an ideal prototype or model is created, engineers may then coordinate the implementation of changes with technicians.

Earn an Engineering License

Engineers extending their services to the public must be licensed. While requirements may vary by state, licensure includes completing an accredited program, providing documented work experience, and passing a state examination. College graduates may consider taking the first part of the state licensing exam, the Fundamentals of Engineering. Those who pass the exam are referred to as engineers-in-training (EITs).

EITs with four years of documented work experience are qualified to take the second licensing exam, Principles and Practice of Engineering. Those who successfully complete the exam become professional engineers (PEs). Some states may require continuing education for PEs, which may include completing college-level coursework, attending educational seminars, or publishing research papers.

Consider Voluntary Certification

Although not required, voluntary certifications may increase job opportunities. The Association for Facilities Engineering certifies qualified individuals as Certified Plant Engineers (CPMs). Eligibility requirements include an engineering degree and either four years of facility management experience or six years of field experience. Certification lasts three years, and candidates may be recertified by showing proof of continuous employment and attending approved seminars and workshops.

In summary, in order to become a facilities engineer, prospective candidates must earn a bachelor's degree, find entry-level work, earn an engineering license, and consider being certified by the Association for Facilities Engineering.

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