Comparing Technologists, Technicians and Engineers
Engineers, technologists and technicians may work for the same company and on the same projects, but in different capacities. Engineers will work under the management of project managers, technologists are the assistants to the engineers, and technicians will aid both technologists and engineers. Below is a comparison of three similar engineering careers plus vital salary information about them.
|Job Title||Education Requirements||Median Salary* (2016)||Job Growth* (2014-2024)|
|Engineer||Bachelor's degree||$84,190 (for mechanical engineers)||5%|
|Technologist||Bachelor's degree||$62,330 (for mechanical technologists)||0%|
|Technician||Associate's degree||$54,480 (for mechanical technicians)||2%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Responsibilities of Technologists vs. Technicians vs. Engineers
Mechanical engineers are those general engineers who take on the major tasks of analyzing, designing and building new engines and thermal products, or updating items like medical devices. Mechanical technologists are those trained personnel who work closely with engineers interpreting their drafts and designs. They will work as go-betweens with work crews and engineers. Technicians also work with engineers, but in most companies they will work directly under a technologist doing much of the more basic work This might include data collection and analysis, double-checking schematic specifications, and providing tech support for other employees.
Mechanical engineers are the generalists of the engineering arena. They will have their fingers in a lot of pies including research, development, design, and creation. These engineers also test and retest a variety of devices that might include engines, tools, or simple machines. Overall, they usually work in offices, but may also visit work sites when necessary.
Job responsibilities of an engineer include:
- Analyze problems that might need new types of testing devices
- Design and/or redesign thermal devices
- Create and test prototypes
- Design power-machines like engines, generators and turbines
- Run simulations to check if systems work together properly
Mechanical technologists assist mechanical engineers in a variety of responsibilities. They could aid engineers with the generation, transmission and use of certain types of energy. These individuals may be put in charge of preparing workflow layouts, performing cost analysis or conducting data analysis. Technologists usually have more education and responsibilities than a technician.
Job responsibilities of a technologist include:
- Interpret schematics and specifications for work crews
- Assist engineers in the creation and testing of manufacturing products or machines
- Design and help produce specialized equipment
- Use computer drafting software to create blueprints or drafts for tools or machines
- Work with crews providing technical support or construction instructions
Mechanical technicians aid mechanical engineers and technologists with their work. They may be tasked with drafting rough layouts based on the engineers' descriptions. Technicians could be asked to record testing information and analyze the data for a new engine. They might also make cost estimates for labor and materials on a project.
Job responsibilities of a technician include:
- Measure dimensions on a drafting sketch for accuracy
- Create layouts and drawings of tools or schematics
- Use 3D software to create the process of putting parts together
- Review blueprints and specifications for projects
- Work with engineers to make production run smoothly
Individuals interested in the problem-solving aspects of careers as mechanical engineers might also like to work in oil and gas as petroleum engineers, who develop ways to extract fossil fuels from underground. Those who consider technologist or technician positions, involving technical drawings and computer programs, might also become electrical drafters or tool and die machinists.