Field Service Engineers
Field service engineers, also known as engineering technicians, do maintenance, make service repairs, and install electrical, electronic, and engineering equipment products. They may also generate product sales. Field service engineers usually work directly with the clients who rent, lease, or own such products, so customer service skills are also crucial.
|Degree Level||Associate's degree minimum|
|Degree Field||Engineering technology, engineering|
|Experience||0-7 years, depending on position|
|Key Skills||Customer service, time management|
|Technical Skills||Computer, algebra, trigonometry, applied calculus|
|Salary (October 2016)||$64,410 per year (median salary)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monster.com job listings from December 2012, Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology, O*NET OnLine, PayScale.com
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Complete the Necessary Education
An associate's degree in engineering technology is a good choice for this profession. Programs that explore both engineering and electronics provide a strong technical background that's oriented towards practical skills. Courses may cover microprocessors, C++ programming, and physics. Some employers offer training programs for high school graduates, and for some jobs a vocational certificate is sufficient.
A bachelor's degree in engineering or engineering technology may be required for some jobs. While a variety of engineering degree programs are available, a major in mechanical engineering provides the broadest range of training. Coursework may include computer-aided drafting (CAD) software, as well as classes in math, physics, machinery, and chemistry. Some programs allow students to choose a specialty, such as aerospace or petroleum engineering.
Develop Good Communication Skills
Most employers expect workers to possess well-developed communication or customer service skills, since field service engineers may be the main contact between company and client. Field service engineers must know how to speak effectively and explain complicated processes in simple terms. For students earning a degree, there may be communication courses among their general education requirements or elective options.
Using a Mobile Office
Field service engineers may work off-site most of the time conducting routine repairs, maintaining equipment, and showing customers how to use products. Frequent travel, often on very short notice, is therefore a hallmark of the profession. Field service engineers need to be able to make effective use of the mobile office environment and equipment to communicate with both clients and employer and to stay organized during the workday.
In summary, becoming a field service engineer requires a technical-based education, the development of good communication and customer service skills, and being comfortable with a mobile office and working on the road.