Process Engineer Vs. Process Technician

Process engineers and process technicians work in similar environments. This article looks at how their education requirements, incomes and duties differ. It also touches on aspects of their work that are similar.

Comparing Process Engineers to Process Technicians

Process engineers and process technicians can both work in a number of engineering fields. They are both primarily involved with processing materials or the process of combining materials to produce a product. Engineers supervise technicians and may be involved with creating products or developing the production methods that technicians follow.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)**
Process Engineers Bachelor's degree $71,459 2% (for materials engineers)
Process Technicians Associate's degree $50,372 1% (for industrial engineering technicians)

Sources: *PayScale; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Process Engineers vs. Process Technicians

Process engineers work to refine substances and the methods used to process them or produce a specific product. Their skills can be applied to making things like medications or plastics. Process technicians follow the directions of process engineers to combine ingredients or refine substances. Process engineers also conduct research and consider things like how their products or production methods affect the environment. They assess the processing methods used so that they can determine how to improve them. Process technicians also routinely test products to ensure quality.

Process Engineers

Process engineers work with different types of materials that must be processed. These include materials such as ceramics or chemicals. Some process engineers may opt to pursue advancement to management roles once they have sufficient practical work experience. They spend most of their time working indoors in an office or laboratory and are most commonly employed in manufacturing or research fields. They need strong math skills to perform calculations and they also need to be good at developing solutions to address problems.

Job responsibilities of a process engineer include:

  • Developing project plans
  • Producing a project budget
  • Designing ways to process materials
  • Overseeing other staff
  • Evaluating products
  • Identifying ways to improve products

Process Technicians

Process technicians are primarily employed in manufacturing and may be involved with the production of things as varied as chemicals and plastics. They need to be good at assessing data and paying attention to details to ensure accuracy in their work. They work under the direction of an engineer and assist with production-related tasks using equipment that processes materials to make different products. Opportunities for advancement are limited unless they opt to complete a bachelor's degree and pursue a role as a process engineer.

Job responsibilities of a process technician include:

  • Using equipment to refine materials
  • Combining materials to produce products
  • Maintaining a clean working environment
  • Reading blueprints and technical specifications
  • Testing products
  • Documenting their work

Related Careers

Those considering a career as a process engineer may wish to use the link below to explore the duties of an industrial engineer. Aspiring process technicians may be interested in reviewing information about what biomedical engineering technicians do.

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