If your interest is maintaining, evaluating and testing engineering systems, then a career as a validation engineer may appeal to you. Earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical or electrical engineering will put you on the right path. Make sure you're aware of the salary and job growth rates for electrical engineers and mechanical engineers before making your final decision.
Validation engineers are responsible for testing the systems used to develop or manufacture products, such as pharmaceuticals or automobiles. They measure, analyze and calibrate the equipment and processes to ensure the highest quality products are created. Validation engineers complete at least a bachelor's degree program before pursuing work.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in electrical or mechanical engineering, computer science or related field|
|Other Requirements||Several years of similar work experience typically required|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||5% for mechanical engineers; 1% for electrical engineers|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$83,590 for mechanical engineers; $93,010 for electrical engineers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Description of a Validation Engineer
Validation engineers evaluate and calibrate the equipment and procedures used in development and production of a variety of products. They ensure all systems are running according to necessary specifications and operate within regulations to ensure the production of quality products. Validation professionals work within a number of different fields, such as the aerospace, automotive, biotechnology, computer software and pharmaceutical industries.
Typical validation responsibilities include equipment budgeting, purchasing, monitoring and testing. They need to be familiar with industry standards and regulatory guidelines and also oversee the work of validation technicians.
Duties of a Validation Engineer
The primary duty of validation engineers is testing. They establish validation standards, develop testing protocols, prepare equipment, document test results and maintain records for later analysis. They often need to coordinate with other personnel or departments who will be affected by testing.
Validation engineers compose reports and make adjustments to equipment or processes that require improvement. They could also decide if equipment needs to be repaired or entirely replaced. Other duties include preventative maintenance, maintenance of testing equipment and overseeing the inventory of validation supplies.
Requirements to Become a Validation Engineer
According to November 2016 job postings on Monster.com and professional organizations, such as the North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research, completion of a bachelor's degree program is the minimum qualification for entry-level validation technician positions (www.ncabr.org). Engineering jobs generally require both a degree and several years of experience. Qualifying degree fields generally include electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science. Relevant coursework includes math, statistics and materials science. Completion of a master's degree program can increase advancement opportunities.
Supplemental coursework or experience can vary by industry. For example, validation engineers working in the electronics or computer industries might be required to know computer programming languages, while biotechnology validation positions could require a biological or medical background and laboratory experience.
Salary and Employment Outlook Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have salary or employment outlook data specifically for validation engineers. However, the BLS indicated in its May 2015 salary report that engineers not fitting into its specialization groups earned a median salary of $95,900. In comparison, electrical engineers earned $93,010 and mechanical engineers earned $83,590 in median salary according to that same salary report.
The BLS doesn't have employment outlook data for the non-specialized engineers. However, it indicates that mechanical engineers could see employment growth of five percent while electrical engineers could see little to no change from 2014 to 2024.
To become a validation engineer, you need to earn a degree in electrical or mechanical engineering. There are various job skills you will need to have, so earning the proper education and training will prepare you for this career.