Spring 2006: Needs Assessment Engineering Technician Occupations

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1 Spring 2006: Needs Assessment Prepared by: Sunnary T. Adeva Date: March 1, 2006 Revised: March 9, 2006 SP06: Reviewed by: Jim Fillpot

2 I. (Civil, Environmental, Industrial ): Background Information: Civil : Civil help civil engineers plan and build highways, buildings, bridges, dams, wastewater treatment systems, and other structures, as well as do related research. Some prepare drawings or perform landsurveying duties. Others may set up and monitor instruments used to study traffic conditions. Environmental : Environmental work closely with environmental engineers and scientists in developing methods and devices used in the prevention, control, or correction of environmental hazards. They inspect and maintain equipment related to air pollution and recycling. Some inspect water and wastewater treatment systems to ensure that pollution control are met. Industrial : Industrial study the efficient use of personnel, materials, and machines in factories, stores, repair shops, and offices. They prepare layouts of machinery and equipment, plan the flow of work, make statistical studies, and analyze production cost. Mechanical : Mechanical help engineers design, develop, test, and manufacture industrial machinery, consumer products, and other equipment. They may assist in production tests for example, by setting up instrumentation for auto crash tests. They make sketches and rough layouts, record and analyze data, make calculations and estimates, and report on their findings. When planning production, mechanical engineering technicians prepare layouts and drawings of the assembly process and of parts to be manufactured. They estimate labor costs, equipment life, and plant space. Some test and inspect machines and equipment or work with other engineers to eliminate production problems. 2

3 II. Outlook: According to the California Labor Market Information Division and the Development Department architecture and engineering occupations are expected to grow by at least 31 percent by the year 2012 for the MSA(Metropolitan Statistical Area) of. 1 The estimated number of workers in architecture and engineering occupations will reach 65,280 within the State of California. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics about 36 percent of all engineering technicians work in manufacturing, mainly in the computer and electronic equipment, transportation equipment, and machinery manufacturing industries. 2 An additional 22 percent work in professional, scientific, and technical service industries, mostly in engineering or business service companies that do engineering work on contract for government, manufacturing firms, or other organizations. Table 1: MSA Riverside & Year Occupation Civil Electrical and Electronic Environmental Industrial Mechanical Estimated Projected Numeric Percent Growth Separations Total 960 1, , Table 2: Comparison of Projections by Los Angeles Orange Diego Occupation Estimated Projected Numeric Percent Growth Separations Total 11,140 14,590 3, ,720 38,930 5, ,158 36,550 42,400 5, ,374 32,070 37,380 5, , California Labor Market Information and Development Department. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 3

4 Job opportunities will be best for individuals with an associates degree or extensive job training in engineering technology. As technology becomes more sophisticated, employers will continue to look for technicians who are skilled in new technology and require a minimum of additional job training. An increase in the number of jobs related to public health and safety should create job opportunities for engineering technicians with the appropriate training and certification. 3 Overall employment of engineering technicians is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through However, competitive pressures will force companies to improve and update manufacturing facilities and product designs, resulting in more jobs for the engineering technicians. In addition to growth, many job openings will stem from the need to replace technicians who retire or leave the labor force. Because engineering technicians work closely with engineers, employment of engineering technicians is often influenced by the same local and national economic conditions that affect engineers. As a result, the employment outlook varies with industry and specialization. Growth in the largest specialty electrical and electronics engineering technicians is expected to be about as fast as the state average, while employment of environmental engineering technicians is expected to grow faster than the state average to meet the environmental demands of an ever-growing population. 4 III. Earning Potential: Tables 3 and 4 illustrate the current wages for engineering technician occupations. The highest average salary for engineering technician occupations is in electrical and electronic engineering. Table 3: MSA Salaries for SOC Code Year Occupation Mean Salary Entry-Level Salary Experienced Salary Civil Electrical and Electronic Environmental Industrial Mechanical $51,441 $37,016 $58,653 $52,558 $39,570 $59,050 $38,740 $25,957 $45,132 $43,420 $31,167 $49,547 $43,021 $28,722 $50, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook Development Department, Occupational Profile. 4

5 Table 4: Hourly Wages for Year Occupation Table 3: Civil Electrical and Electronic Environmental Industrial Mechanical Number Employed Mean Wage Entry-Level Wage Experienced Wages 1,060 $24.73 $17.80 $ $25.27 $19.03 $ $18.63 $12.48 $ $20.87 $14.99 $ $20.69 $13.81 $24.12 Table 5: Average Salary by Industry Job Title Average Salary Federal Government $64,160 Wired telecommunications carriers $51,250 Architectural, engineering, and related services $44,800 Navigational, measuring, electro medical, and control instruments, manufacturing $42,780 Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing $41,300 V. Education and Training: Although it may be possible to qualify for certain engineering technician jobs without formal training, most employers hire someone with at least a 2-year associates degree in engineering technology. Training is available at technical institutes, community colleges, extension divisions of colleges and universities, public and private vocational-technical schools, and the Armed Forces. Persons with college courses in science, engineering, and mathematics may qualify for some positions but may need additional specialized training and experience. Although employers usually do not require engineering technicians to be certified, such certification may provide jobseekers a competitive advantage. Most 2-year associates degree programs that are accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for and Technology (ABET) require a minimum of college algebra and trigonometry and one or two basic science courses. Depending on the specialty, more math or science may be required. 5

6 Because many engineering technicians assist in design work, creativity is desirable. Because the workers are part of a team of engineers and other technicians, good communication skills and the ability to work well with others are also important. technicians usually begin by performing routine duties under the close supervision of an experienced technician, technologist, engineer, or scientist. As they gain experience, they are given more difficult assignments with only general supervision. Some engineering technicians eventually become supervisors. Community colleges offer curriculums that are similar to those in technical institutes but include more theory and liberal arts. There may be little or no difference between programs at technical institutes and community colleges, as both offer associate degrees. After completing the 2-year program, some graduates get jobs as engineering technicians, whereas others continue their education at 4-year colleges. 6

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