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Job Description of a Staff Engineer

Sep 27, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a staff engineer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about the training, job duties and career options to find out if this is the right career for you.

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Staff engineers are licensed professionals who design, develop, and inspect a range of equipment, products, or structures. While there are many specializations in the engineering field, the most common staff engineers outlined in detail here include mechanical, industrial, electrical, and civil engineers.

Essential Information

Staff engineers may perform a variety of duties for the companies that employ them. Most are employed in technical services or manufacturing industries. Popular specializations for staff engineers include civil, mechanical, industrial and electrical engineering, though there are many others. This career field typically requires a bachelor's degree in engineering from an accredited program as well as state license. Optional specialty certifications can also be achieved, depending on the industry.

Staff Civil Engineer Staff Mechanical Engineer Staff Industrial Engineer Staff Electrical Engineer
Required Education Bachelor's degree in civil engineering Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering Bachelor's degree in industrial engineering Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering
Additional Requirements State licensing State licensing State licensing State licensing
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 6% 4% 8% 5%
Median Salary (2018)* $86,640 $87,370 $87,040 $96,640

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Engineers design, build and test a variety of structures, systems, products, services and equipment, depending on their specialty area. All engineers that offer services to the public must meet state licensing requirements. Requirements differ from state to state but usually include a bachelor's degree in engineering, at least four years of work experience and passing two required licensing exams. Below are overviews of four possible staff engineer career options, along with details on job duties and average salary.

Staff Civil Engineer

Staff civil engineers are often employed by architectural or construction companies, though they may also work for state and local government offices. After securing a state license, these engineers may hold the Civil Engineering Certification as well as additional specialty certifications in water resources, geotechnical engineering or coastal, ocean, port and navigation engineering.

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the employment of civil engineers will increase faster than average by 6% during the 2018-2028 decade (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported in May of 2018 that the median yearly salary for these engineers was $86,640.

Job Duties

Staff civil engineers typically oversee the structural design and construction of bridges, sewer systems, buildings, and other aspects of urban and suburban infrastructure. Their duties may include projecting the financial costs of a construction project as well as anticipating the rate of degradation to its structural integrity over time. They also are responsible for considering health and safety regulations in the event of natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods or extreme weather like hurricanes or blizzards.

Staff Mechanical Engineer

Staff mechanical engineers often work in the manufacturing industry, though an education in mechanical engineering may be applied a variety of engineering industries. Additionally, mechanical engineers can obtain certifications in a wide variety of mechanical products, such as boilers, nuclear facilities, elevators, hazardous waste incinerators and many others.

The BLS anticipates a 4% increase in the employment of mechanical engineers from 2018 to 2028. These professionals earned a median salary of $87,370, as stated by the BLS in May of 2018.

Job Duties

Staff mechanical engineers design and develop machinery, engines and tools. Products created by mechanical engineers can range from turbines to refrigerators, car engines to power tools. In addition to research and design, staff mechanical engineers may also oversee the production and testing of the devices they develop. They are often involved in solving design problems as well as creating the manufacturing equipment required to construct their products, including automated or robotic machinery.

Staff Industrial Engineer

Staff industrial engineers analyze product designs and take into consideration the equipment and manpower required for production. Many staff industrial engineers earn certificates in Lean Six Sigma and Six Sigma systems as well as personnel and risk management programs. Because staff industrial engineers must make decisions that determine company productivity, they are often placed in supervisory positions.

The demand for industrial engineers is predicted to grow by 8% between 2018 and 2028, based on BLS data. In May of 2018, these engineers earned a median wage of $87,040, as reported by the BLS.

Job Duties

Industrial engineers must consider the cost, materials, equipment, manpower and energy consumption of producing a product or service. They often design control systems that ensure production moves with the utmost efficiency. They may also be involved in regular evaluation of their company's production and distribution systems.

Staff Electrical Engineer

Staff electrical engineers design and develop electrical equipment, such as wiring, lighting, motors, navigation and communication systems. Electrical engineers, who deal with power supply, are different from electronics engineers, who deal with electronic systems and equipment that make use of a power supply. To this end, many electrical engineers earn certifications in biometrics, software development and communications.

According to BLS statistics, electrical engineers should see 5% growth in employment during the 2018-2028 decade. The BLS estimated in May of 2018 that annual median earnings equaled $96,640.

Job Duties

Staff electrical engineers must be knowledgeable in electrical circuits, processors and chips. They may also be involved in the manufacture and testing of electrical equipment, which requires the use of spectrometers, signal generators and various types of computer-aided design software.

A staff engineer can work in a variety of industries, depending on their specialty. Popular sectors employing the engineers outlined in this article are manufacturing, electronics, heavy machinery, and architecture. A bachelor's degree with a specialization is required for staff engineers.

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