Process Development Engineer: Job Description, Salary and Outlook

Sep 29, 2019

Process development engineer positions require at least a bachelor's degree. Learn about the degrees and job duties to see if this is the right career for you.

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A process development engineer plans, designs and executes cost-effective production systems for a variety of industries, such as mining or manufacturing, in order to enhance the speed and quality of processing, and ensure produced items comply with government regulations and industry standards. A bachelor's degree in engineering is required, and some engineers complete a master's degree as well.

Essential Information

Process development engineers design and implement manufacturing, mining, and other production systems. Process development engineers study engineering, earning bachelor's degrees in fields such as industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, or chemical engineering. In addition to design and manufacturing, they work on quality assurance and project management teams. Licensure is typically required for those engineers that work for the public.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in an engineering-related field; optional master's degree
Optional Requirements Licensure as a professional engineer
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 8% for industrial engineers
6% for chemical engineers
Median Salary (2019)** $124,469

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **Payscale.com

Job Description of a Process Development Engineer

Process development engineers use technical knowledge and industry expertise to review existing manufacturing production lines and plan cost-effective production processes within a business. For example, these professionals may use computer modeling software to test how new machinery or technology could improve the speed of production.

Instituting quality assurance methods is also a job duty of process development engineers. This requires the engineers to confer with scientists and researchers to simulate production or create test trial products. These professionals may then review both the development process and final product to ensure it meets industry standards and complies with government laws and regulations.

Process development engineers also act as project managers and analyze new equipment, technology, or machinery to implement into the production process. For example, these professionals may evaluate new drilling techniques or boring products with current systems in order to assess whether they would increase output efficiency. Engineers may then design specifications for product use, create schedules for implementation, and oversee installation or construction.

Salary Information for a Process Development Engineer

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't provide information for process development engineers; however, the Bureau does provide info for industrial engineers, who have similar duties to process development engineers. The BLS estimated that in 2015, industrial engineers earned a median annual salary of $87,040. Chemical engineers earned a median annual salary of $104,910 in 2018, per the BLS. An additional search on PayScale.com cited that the majority of principal process development engineers received wages between $93,000 and $148,000 as of August 2019.

Employment Outlook for a Process Development Engineer

According to the Bureau, the employment of all types of industrial engineers may grow faster than average between 2018 and 2028. The BLS also indicated that job opportunities for chemical engineers might increase by just two percent during the same time frame.

Process development engineers who provide some form of public service must have appropriate state licensure. Strong leadership skills are essential in this career, as a process development engineer often performs project management duties. According to the BLS, neither industrial nor chemical engineers are expected to see a significant increase in employment opportunities through 2028.

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