Engineering technicians are professionals that act as a first mate to engineers, in all fields of that profession. There are electrical/electronic engineering technicians, civil engineering technicians, environmental engineering technicians, industrial engineering technicians, mechanical engineering technicians - and the list goes on, through the dozen or more engineering fields that exist today.

Anybody who is interested in the way things work and cannot afford the time or money to study engineering can opt for a career as an engineering technician. Assisting in any of these fields can be an intriguing job. Mechanical engineering technicians may help devise tests for new mechanical designs, may perform some of those tests, and will certainly be keeping records of the results.

A Career with Many Specialties

An environmental engineering technician may be responsible for field studies on a geographical area that is threatened by development, or take water samples checking on pollution levels. In the electrical field, an engineering technician will help with the diagnostic functions on new or repaired equipment.

There are over a half million engineering technicians working today, so the market niche for the profession is fairly large. About a third of those are working in the electrical/electronics field, the largest subsection in the engineering technician profession.

Some people prepare for careers in this field by studying engineering technology in general. Others choose to focus on electrical engineering technology, civil engineering technology, or another specialty that has appeal and is available as a course of study.

Rapid Academic Preparation

Attending an engineering college for this career is usually a two year process as the position requires an associate's degree for most specialties. Occasionally you will find a diploma program, and occasionally you may find a bachelor's degree is in order in such fields as biomedical or aerospace engineering. However the great majority of engineering technology careers can be launched with an associate's degree.

For people who have been in the construction trades and are in search of a career change, there are several options in the engineering technology field. There are options in building and construction design, in cost estimates and work flow, and in keeping tabs on code issues facing the engineer or architect. The options open to someone with an associate's degree in engineering technology may also extend into the project management area on construction projects and major repair efforts.

Pay Scales and Future Options

There is some excellent wage scale information for the field in the Department of Labor's Bureau of Statistics salary data. You will also find information there on the projected growth in the various engineering technician specialties over the next several years. The field of electronics will be very strong due to the ever-accelerating pace of technology development, so much of which involves computer chips and the electronics that surround them.

The engineering technician field is another professional option where the associate's degree provides an entry-level position where the work will be interesting, and the opportunities for further studies in engineering available to those who want to pursue them. It's a great first step into a challenging professional field.

Author's Bio: 

Bob Hartzell covers careers and education for a number of websites.