Design technicians are any type of engineering technicians that are responsible for designing products. They may be electronic or mechanical designers, or they may work with civil engineers in the creation of bridges, highways or buildings. A design technician aids an engineer in data collection, experimenting and drafting and revising reports. An associate's degree in a relevant engineering field is required to become a design technician.
|Career||Civil Engineering Technician||Mechanical Engineering Technician||Electrical Engineering Technician|
|Required Education||Associate's degree||Associate's degree||Associate's degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)||1%*||5%*||0%*|
|Average Annual Salary (2013)||$49,380*||$54,280*||$58,770*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Description of a Design Technician
Design technicians work as part of an engineering team that designs and implements many different types of projects. A design technician is a specific type of engineering technician who works with engineers who create designs for electrical or mechanical products or large structures such as buildings, highways and bridges.
Design technicians can be found in many engineering fields, and their salaries and job outlook differ accordingly. Three major types of design technicians are described below.
Civil Engineering Technicians
Civil engineering technicians help their supervisors plan infrastructure projects, from utilities to road systems. They review blueprints and add input to designs. Their duties may also include cost estimating, concrete testing and maintaining documentation for the project.
As of 2013, the BLS reported that the average annual wage was $49,380 for civil engineering technicians. The BLS predicts little to no employment growth between 2012-2022 for civil engineering technicians, with only a 1% increase expected due to foreign competition and increased automation.
Mechanical Engineering Technicians
Like civil engineering technicians, techs working in mechanical engineering review designs, plans and blueprints, but their focus is on machines and devices rather than structures. Mechanical engineering technicians are also concerned with the process used to construct the parts they help design. Testing and recordkeeping are also among their duties.
According to the BLS, mechanical engineering technicians earned an average annual salary of $54,280 in 2013. They should see a 5% increase in job openings from 2012-2022, per the BLS.
Electrical Engineering Technicians
Technicians working in electrical engineering help design plans for electronic equipment, from computers to navigation systems to medical devices. They also construct and test new electronic units, using the results to find - and fix - any flaws in the design.
Electrical engineering technicians earned an average of $58,770 as of 2013, according to the BLS. Like civil engineering technicians, they should see little to no job growth from 2012-2022; zero change was expected in the number of electrical engineering technician jobs.
Duties of a Design Technician
Design technicians play a large role in assisting engineers in many steps of the design process. They are expected to help collect and interpret data, research ideas, run complex functions and equations, create cost estimates, create models and help fact-check and review reports. The role of a technician may also include inspecting and repairing products and setting up and executing experiments on potential designs.
Requirements for Design Technicians
The job of a design technician requires knowledge of complex mathematics, physics and often chemistry. Many employers prefer an applicant to have completed an associate's degree in a relevant field. Community colleges, trade schools and vocational schools offer many degrees that are relevant to all types of design technicians including engineering technology, design drafting, electronics and mechanical engineering technology.
In addition to earning an associate's degree, potential design technicians must possess good problem-solving abilities, strong communication, creativity and knowledge of mathematics. Design technicians are initially given routine duties and are closely monitored. As they gain experience, they are given more challenging tasks and more creative freedom. Design technicians may also have room for advancement into supervisory roles.