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Design Technician: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a design technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs and job duties to determine if this is the career for you.

Civil engineering technicians, mechanical engineering technicians and electrical engineering technicians are all design technicians. They design products or structures, such as buildings, bridges or roads. Formal education resulting in an undergraduate degree is required.

Essential Information

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 and Electronics Engineering Technician
Required Education Associate's degree Associate's degree Associate's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 5% 2% -2%
Average Annual Salary (2015)* $51,330 $56,390 $61,870

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.

Career Options

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 2015, the BLS reported that the average annual wage was $51,330 for civil engineering technicians. The BLS predicts 5% employment growth between 2014-2024 for civil engineering technicians.

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 $56,390 in 2015. They should see a 2% increase in job openings from 2014-2024, per the BLS.

Electrical and Electronics 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 and electronics engineering technicians earned an average of $61,870 as of 2015, according to the BLS. They will see jobs decline 2% from 2014-2024.

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.

An associate's degree in an engineering design field is required to be a design technician. The primary function of design technicians is to assist engineers. They may be responsible for gathering information relevant to the design and help construct models of the project design, as well as determining project costs.

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