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Field Service Engineer Career Paths

Aug 28, 2019

Field service engineers fix problems with machinery, electrical equipment, and electronics. This hands-on technical background is a strong foundation for several career advancement options.

Field Service Engineer Advancement Options

Field service engineers problem-solve issues with electronics, electrical installations, machinery, and more. They have experience working with an array of technical and mechanical tools in a variety of work environments. With additional training and education, their skills can move them from repair and maintenance to the engineering of mechanical and technical equipment. Four career options are examined here, including the educational requirements and skills needed for each.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2016-26)** Qualifications
HVAC Systems Engineer $65,881 9% (mechanical engineers) Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or similar
Robotics Engineer $81,985 9% (mechanical engineers) Master's degree in robotic or mechanical engineering
Electrical Engineer $74,577 9% Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering or similar
Electronics Engineer $76,791 4% (electronics engineer, except computer) Bachelor's degree in electronics engineering; Professional Engineer (P.Eng) certification

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information

HVAC Systems Engineer

A heating and cooling (HVAC) systems engineer designs, modifies, and troubleshoots heating and cooling systems for a variety of environments, including buildings, transportation vehicles, and specialty areas like computer rooms and factory floors. Each environment has its unique set of needs and complications, and an HVAC systems engineer must know how to assess equipment capabilities and energy use in order to provide the best design. HVAC systems engineers work alongside designers to create drawings based on their specifications. Strong math, problem solving, and mechanical skills are important for success. A bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or similar area from an ABET accredited institution is typically required.

Robotics Engineer

A field service engineer with an aptitude for advanced technology and an interest in moving out of the field and into an office or manufacturing environment could pursue a career in robotics engineering. Robotics engineers are mechanical engineering specialists who focus on the maintenance and design of robotic systems. This is a continually evolving field and staying current on the latest technology and trends is a key responsibility for this position. A proven understanding of design, analytical thinking, and creative problem-solving skills are critical. Most employers require a master's degree in robotic or mechanical engineering or a similar field. A few may prefer applicants with a doctoral degree.

Electrical Engineer

Experience in the troubleshooting and maintenance of electrical devices is a strong foundation for a field service engineer interested in an electrical engineering career. Electrical engineers research, design, and improve components for electrical use, including radar systems, power generators, motors, and more. They are integral to the creation of new communication systems, power technologies, and production automation. They often work on engineering teams, creating not only the devices but also the standards for manufacturing and installation. A bachelor's in electrical engineering or similar from an ABET accredited school is a requirement for this career move.

Electronics Engineer

An experienced field service engineer could advance their career in the electronics field by becoming an electronics engineer. Electronics engineers research and design equipment for communications, radar systems, transportation, computers, and more. They can design for a wide number of fields, including commercial, medical, scientific, industrial, or military. As well as designing new electronics equipment, they can also be responsible for inspecting equipment for safety and efficiency and preparing technical documentation. Attention to detail and an ability to communicate clearly are vital skills. A bachelor's in electronics engineering and a Professional Engineer (P.Eng) certification are typically required for this role.

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