Test engineering professionals typically assist engineers and scientists with product and manufacturing research and development. Commonly known as engineering technicians, these professionals may collect data and perform tests on various designs or processes. They may also help build and review equipment and prepare experiments.
Engineering technicians often specialize in the same work areas as their engineer and scientist supervisors. These professional fields frequently include:
Test engineering professionals should have advanced knowledge of the tools, technology and review processes related to their area of specialty. Strong analytical skills and the ability to work alone or with others are required in this field. In addition, engineering technicians may be required to work in laboratories and use specialized machines or equipment.
Most test engineering professionals combine specialized training with a degree from an accredited online institution or a traditional college or university. A bachelor’s degree in mathematics, engineering, or a related technology field may offer a solid foundation for a career as an engineering technician.
Some employers may hire test engineering professionals with a two-year associates degree from a program accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Advanced courses related to a specific field (i.e., mechanical design, electrical engineering or environmental regulations) may give prospective test engineers a career advantage.
The annual salary for a test engineering professional may vary depending on his or her career field, location or industry. According to from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest-paid engineering technicians in 2008 earned a median annual wage of $55,040 in the aerospace engineering and operations field. The lowest-paid professionals for this same period were environmental engineering technicians; they earned a median annual salary of $41,100.
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics