Utilities engineers work in the energy industry, including electricity, gas, and water. These professionals help energy producers to monitor and create more efficient forms of energy. Engineers in this industry must have good leadership skills, be able to communicate well with others, and have a knack for problem-solving.
Utilities engineers work in various energy producing industries, such as electricity, hydraulic, nuclear or green energy. Some conduct research about the changes in energy use over time and predict how much energy will be needed in the future. Others maintain current energy producing equipment. Most positions require a bachelor's degree in engineering along with 2-6 years of experience in the energy industry.
|Required Education||A bachelor's degree in engineering and 2-6 years of experience|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)|| 8%* (for Civil Engineers)
Little to no growth* (for Electrical & Electronics Engineers)
|Median Annual Salary (May 2015)|| $82,220* (for Civil Engineers)
$93,010* (for Electrical Engineers)
Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
Utilities Engineer Job Description
Records from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that engineers create and test technological equipment for consumer and commercial use. In the utilities industry, engineers focus on equipment used for producing and maintaining electricity, hydraulic power, nuclear power and natural resources. Most choose to specialize in a particular utility field, although many have a general knowledge of how energy producing equipment functions for all utility types.
Multiple job sites provide different challenges for utilities engineers. Some may work for a city district designing energy distribution grids. These engineers may even act as consultants concerning the power needs of a growing urban area. Others may work at smaller complexes maintaining power in all buildings and installing backup generators for emergencies. Several work at manufacturing plants or at outdoor job sites supervising the construction of turbines and other power producing equipment.
The BLS projected an 8% increase in job opportunities for civil engineers and no change for electrical and electronics engineers during the 2014-2024 decade. In May 2015, the BLS estimated that civil engineers received $82,220 in median yearly wages, and electrical engineers earned a median wage of $93,010.
Job Duties of Utilities Engineers
In job listings on Careerbuilder.com from November of 2014, several employers indicated that utilities engineers would require bachelor's degrees in mechanical, electrical or industrial engineering, along with about six years of related experience. Engineers should be able to communicate effectively, train performance improvement teams, oversee special projects, negotiate rates and improve the reliability of electricity, water and sewer services. Many employers also expect workers to find ways to save energy through such tasks as updating old equipment, rerouting the flow of energy or implementing more energy-efficient policies.
The BLS stated that engineers often perform daily tasks through working with other team members. Workers often complete separate portions of the project, write detailed reports and then present their findings at daily or weekly meetings. Depending on the type of employer, some utilities engineer teams may have to present projects to city officials and other investors. Those involved with city planning, for instance, may have to show how the project will serve the public, the amount of energy that will be produced and the overall cost of the project.
Utilities engineers usually possess bachelor's degrees in electrical, industrial, or mechanical engineering, and they often have multiple years of experience monitoring energy projects, verifying the use of energy, and making recommendations for more efficient energy consumption methods. Per the BLS, the rate of job growth for engineers in this industry will be slow to average during the 2014-2024 decade.