Fabrication engineers start their careers with a bachelor's degree related to engineering from an accredited program. These engineers must also become licensed, which is completed in two parts: the first after graduation, and the second after some work experience has been completed.
Fabrication engineers design, implement and improve manufacturing systems and processes. Also known as industrial engineers or manufacturing engineers, they may have specialized knowledge in metallurgy, welding or a specific production process.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||State examinations and licensing|
|Projected Growth (2014-2024)*||1% (for industrial engineers)|
|Average Salary (2015)*||$86,990 (for industrial engineers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Description for a Fabrication Engineer
Fabrication engineers apply engineering principles and practices towards improving manufacturing processes. Employment may range from the automotive to optoelectronics industries. Engineers may be directly involved in the development and production process or act as project consultants, providing advice and recommendations when needed.
Fabrication engineers may begin a project by meeting with peers and clients in order to ascertain specific, desired improvements. These professionals may then research structural materials and components in order to enhance production and remove inefficiencies. Next, engineers might use computer aided design (CAD) software to draft models, design stress tests and ensure system integrity. Lastly, fabrication engineers may formally present performance enhancements, potential production schedules and estimated budgets to superiors or clients in order to gain project approval.
Once the project is approved, engineers begin to implement the changes in production. This may include assigning projects to technicians, placing orders for materials and overseeing installations. Throughout this phase, engineers monitor teams in order to investigate failures or setbacks, resolve technical issues and ensure the integrity of design. Other duties include meeting with vendors to ensure the quality and timeliness of materials and keeping records of change orders.
In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average annual salary of $86,990 for industrial engineers in all fields.
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Fabrication engineers are required to complete an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) accredited bachelor's degree program in manufacturing engineering, mechanical engineering or a related field. Students take general education classes in English and social sciences, as well as courses in advanced mathematics, steel structure analysis and process engineering. Students may also take CAD courses and use advanced designing principles to analyze models, projects and production.
All states require engineers to be licensed. Although licensing requirements may vary by state, most include a degree from an ABET-approved program, four years of documented work experience and completion of a two-part state examination. College graduates are qualified to take the first part of the exam, fundamentals of engineering, upon graduating. Those who successfully complete the exam are referred to as engineers-in-training (EITs).
EITs who have attained the sufficient four years of work experience may take the second part of the licensing exam, the principles and practice of engineering. Engineers who have completed all of the requirements become licensed professional engineers (PEs). Some states might require continuing education for PEs, which could include completing college-level coursework, attending educational seminars or publishing research papers.
Fabrication engineers use their training and expertise to work in teams with other peers and professionals to improve manufacturing processes. They are involved in the entire process, from designing to implementing to ensuring the efficiency of any improvements. Once fabrication engineers have obtained their license, they become professional engineers and are required to continue their education in order to maintain their license.