A process control engineer designs and maintains quality assurance on the control systems in manufacturing plants producing polymers, steel, aluminum, glass fiber, or petroleum products. Education requirements for this high-paying career typically include a bachelor's degree in engineering or in a more specific area, such as electrical engineering, chemistry or computer science, depending on the student's career goals.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in engineering or relevant field|
|Job Growth (2012-2022)||4% (chemical engineers)*|
|Median Salary (2014)||$88,933 (advanced process control engineers)**|
Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com
Salary Information for Process Control Engineers
Process control engineers operate in different engineering sectors on widely varying processes, but they're more frequently found in chemical engineering. Chemical engineers' median income in 2013 was $95,730, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The salary range for most advanced process control engineers, who manage processes that require them to account for multiple variables, was $62,785-$140,263, according to PayScale.com in September 2014.
Job Duties for Process Control Engineers
Process control engineers design, test, troubleshoot, and oversee implementation of new processes. In plants with established control systems, the process control engineers may design and install retrofits to existing systems and troubleshoot hardware, software, and instrument problems. Overseeing the larger production picture, these engineers create and implement new strategies to improve process efficiency, as well as supporting start-up activities. Process control engineers are often responsible for creating or maintaining automation processes, usually in chemical or mechanical industries.
Education and Career Requirements for Process Control Engineers
Entry-level process control engineers must normally have a bachelor's degree, though career advancement chances may be improved by a graduate degree. Though uncommon, undergraduate programs in process control systems award dual bachelor's degrees in chemical engineering and systems engineering. Process control engineers may also seek a degree specifically in the industry they will choose to work in. Chemical engineering, chemistry, computer science, and electrical engineering are all common degrees sought by employers of process control engineers.
Process control engineers may be required to fill team leadership positions. This often requires leadership experience and skills, and the ability to train team members in new subject areas. Conflict resolution skills may also be necessary or helpful. Some employers may wish to hire engineers who have knowledge of specific processes, automated manufacturing hardware, or computer applications.