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Building Automation Engineer: Job Description & Career Info

Read on to discover what building automation engineers do. Learn about education and training requirements, and see what the job prospects are to decide if this field is right for you.

Career Definition for a Building Automation Engineer

Building automation engineers supervise the installation and maintenance of automation systems that control such features as lighting, temperature, and water heating. They also repair broken automation systems. Job duties include providing cost estimates, designing and wiring systems, checking software parameters, and training personnel in the use of systems. Building automation engineers must keep current on developing technology in their field.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in engineering, electrical engineering, or industrial engineering required, work experience may be substituted
Job Skills Strong communication, troubleshooting, math skills, CAD software knowledge
Median Salary (2017)* $97,970 for electrical and electronics engineers, $85,880 for industrial engineers
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 7% for electrical and electronics engineers, 10% for industrial engineers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree in engineering, electrical engineering or industrial engineering is required to become a building automation engineer. However, some employers may substitute several years of work experience for a bachelor's degree. Courses usually emphasize science and math, and may include technology physics, heating and cooling systems, and materials science. In addition to education, some employers require work experience in building maintenance or project management.

Required Skills

Building automation engineers must have strong communication and customer service skills to be able to interpret customer desires and preferences, and serve as intermediaries between customers and construction engineers. They also need the technical skills to troubleshoot design or installation problems, and the math skills to budget and manage projects. Building automation engineers must have the ability to work with CAD software to design system schematics and must be comfortable with HVAC systems.

Career and Economic Outlook

Building automation engineers fall under the broad category of electronics/electrical engineers or industrial engineers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Job growth for both engineering fields is projected to increase from 2016-2026. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for an electrical or electronics engineer was $97,970 in May 2017, while industrial engineers earned $85,880 in the same time.

Alternate Career Options

Consider these other options for work in the field of electricity:

Electrician

An electrician installs, maintains, tests, and repairs residential and commercial electrical systems. Electricians use specialized tools, blueprints, and their knowledge of the National Electric Code and local regulations to work on circuits, lighting fixtures, wiring, and related electrical components. Apprenticeships are common, but some aspiring electricians complete postsecondary vocational training. Electricians are typically required to hold a state license. The BLS predicts that jobs for electricians will increase 9% from 2016-2026; the agency also reports that electricians earned median pay of $54,110 in 2017.

Cost Estimator

Cost estimators gather information about the components of a project to make assessments about how much a given construction or manufacturing project will cost. For example, cost estimators may calculate the cost of an item based on the cost of raw materials, labor, and time spent making it. A bachelor's degree and strong math skills are usually required for employment; previous experience - such as in construction - is also highly valued, as is voluntary professional certification. According to the BLS, cost estimator jobs are expected to increase 11% from 2016-2026, and this occupation paid a median salary of $63,110 in 2017.


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