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Engineering Lab Technician: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Engineering lab technicians require little formal education. Learn about education, job duties, and professional organizations to see if this is the right career for you.

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Engineering lab technicians work on research and development for a myriad of different engineering fields. A high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement for entry-level positions, but an associate's degree is recommended for increased job prospects. Job duties for engineering lab technicians vary from industry to industry.

Essential Information

Engineering lab technicians assist scientists and engineers by working to solve technical problems. They can be employed in a variety of engineering fields, working in the areas of research and development. Employers may prefer candidates with an associate's degree.

Required Education High school diploma; associate's degree is recommended
Other Requirements Membership to the American Society of Certified Engineering Technicians is recommended
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 2% (mechanical engineering technicians)*
Mean Salary (2015) $53,910 (mechanical engineering technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, engineering lab technicians work to resolve issues and solve problems in manufacturing, construction, research and development, inspection and maintenance. To accomplish their goals they use science, engineering and math, and the theories that accompany them.

Engineering lab technicians often work in laboratories, but may also work in:

  • Offices
  • Manufacturing plants
  • Industrial plants
  • Construction sites

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Job Duties

In most cases engineering lab technicians specialize in a particular area of engineering, and help engineers and scientists in the implementation of principals and theories in their related field. The duties of the technician will depend on the specialized area. As noted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these might titles and responsibilities can include:

Aerospace Engineering Technician

  • Operate and maintain test equipment
  • Identify reason for equipment malfunction
  • Run computer simulations
  • Record and interpret data

Civil Engineering Technician

  • Estimate construction costs
  • Prepare drawings
  • Perform land surveying
  • Plan and oversee the construction of highways, buildings, bridges and dams

Electrical Engineering Technician

  • Design, develop and test equipment
  • Evaluate and test products
  • Adjust, test and repair equipment

Environmental Engineering Technician

  • Develop methods in the prevention, control or remediation of environmental hazards
  • Inspect and maintain related equipment

Industrial Engineering Technician

  • Prepare layouts of machinery and equipment
  • Conduct studies on production time and quality
  • Analyze production costs

Mechanical Engineering Technician

  • Help engineers design, develop and test machinery and equipment
  • Product testing
  • Record and analyze data
  • Prepare layouts and drawings

Requirements

In some instances technician applicants will not need formal training beyond high school, but an associate degree or some sort of postsecondary training are more common job requirements. Programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology will include college level mathematics and basic science courses. Creativity and good communication skills are also helpful traits for an engineering lab technician.

To further distinguish themselves from other applicants, those seeking work as an engineering lab technician might want to consider becoming a member of the American Society of Certified Engineering Technicians.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

From 2014-2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted job growth of 10% environmental engineering technicians and 5% for civil engineering technicians, 2% in mechanical, -2% in electric and electronic, and 4% for aerospace engineering technicians. In 2015, civil engineering technicians earned median annual salaries of $49,260, according to the BLS. Those in the mechanical field made $53,910, electric and electronics techs earned $61,130 and aerospace engineering technicians brought home $66,180, per the BLS.

Those who wish to become an engineering lab technician will probably want to invest in an associate's degree or some form of post-secondary training. Becoming a member of the American Society of Certified Engineering Technicians can increase job opportunities.

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