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Equipment Engineer: Job Description and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an equipment engineer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

An equipment engineer designs, enhances and maintains various electrical, computer or mechanical devices. These engineers need to complete a bachelor's degree in an engineering field, and the program must be ABET-accredited. Licensure is also mandatory, and guidelines for this vary by state; however, becoming a licensed Professional Engineer requires at least four years of engineering experience as well as possession of the Fundamentals of Engineering credential.

Essential Information

The professional title of equipment engineer may refer to engineers in several different engineering fields. Aspiring equipment engineers are typically required to earn at least a bachelor's degree in engineering, along with the appropriate licensing.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in engineering or sub-field of engineering
Other Requirements Licensure requirements vary by state
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 1% for electrical engineers; 5% for mechanical engineers; 3% for computer hardware engineers
Median Salary (2015)* $93,010 for electrical engineers; $83,590 for mechanical engineers; $111,730 for computer hardware engineers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Equipment engineers may evaluate, inspect, maintain, design, analyze and improve various types of equipment, including electronic and mechanical equipment. These engineers can work in distinct areas, such as electrical, mechanical or computer engineering.

Their specific responsibilities may depend on the type of equipment they work on. However, general duties can include testing and overseeing the production of equipment, as well as performing extensive and complex repairs on existing equipment.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have employment growth predictions or median salary data specifically for equipment engineers. However, the BLS expected electrical engineers would see slower-than-average growth in employment opportunities between 2014 and 2024, with a one percent change projected. The BLS predicted a slightly better employment growth of five and three percent for mechanical and computer hardware engineers during the same period.

As of May 2015, the BLS indicated that electrical engineers earned a median salary of $93,010 per year. In comparison, the same report found mechanical engineers earned a median of $83,590, while computer hardware engineers saw a median of $111,730.

Education Requirements

Equipment engineers are required to hold at least a bachelor's degree in a sub-field of engineering, such as electronic, mechanical or computer engineering, from an accredited college or university. The curriculum may include math and science courses, such as calculus, physics and chemistry, along with applied design work in laboratories, on computer software or both. The bachelor's degree must be from an ABET-accredited program.

Licensure

According to the BLS, all states require engineers to be licensed (www.bls.gov). Although specific requirements can vary by state, the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) offers the licensing examination (www.ncees.org).

The NCEES requires prospective engineers to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) test before they can become a designated engineer-in-training. Once they gain the requisite four years of work experience under a professional engineer, they may then qualify to take the NCEES' Principles and Practice in Engineering exam in order to become a Professional Engineer (PE).

Continuing Education

Some equipment engineers may want to gain more specific knowledge and credentials through advanced training. For example, equipment engineers working on mechanical heating and cooling equipment may want to complete an Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) advanced certificate program as part of a job requirement or for general career advancement. Graduate programs, such as the Master of Science in Engineering, can also offer specialized preparation.

Having a postsecondary education and licensure are both very important in the engineering field, and as such many equipment engineers continue learning over the course of their careers by enrolling in a master's program or by obtaining professional certifications. The subjects these engineers study at the undergraduate level often include calculus, chemistry and physics. Electrical, mechanical and computer hardware engineers should not expect to see any significant increase in new job opportunities over the 2014-2024 decade, reports the BLS.

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