Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Engineering Technician

  1. Nov 20, 2012 #1
    I already hold a degree in a non engineering field. I started on the path to becoming an engineer but got discouraged after hitting a wall. That was a year ago. Ever since my mind always wandrs back to engineering and I still feel drawn to this profession. I want to do it again but I wanna try to get a job that can get my foot into the field as well as pay my bills and schooling. Ive been interested in engineering technician. I looked at my local community college but they dont have a formal program it seems. Does anyone have any advice about how I should go about becoming a technician?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2012 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to PF.

    Engineering and related technical fields are extremely broad. Do you have any idea which particular field you are interested in?

    I'm an HVAC engineer. It is possible to learn CAD and take an HVAC designer course and become an HVAC designer; a technician level job. Though it is no longer possible to officially become an HVAC (or electrical, in the construction industry) engineer without a degree in this profession in most states, you can still work your way up to most engineer-level responsibilities and a six-figure salary. Or work on a degree while working at the job and make a smooth transition to becoming an engineer.
  4. Nov 22, 2012 #3
    Im interested in aerospace or mechanical. Im planning to attend my local community college to complete whatever math or science courses I still need to either start a second bachelors program in engineering or that will allow me to become a technician. If I becime a technician I plan to attend school while working as technician so I can get my degree in engineering. If anyone further insight into becoming an engineering technician it would be most appreciated.
  5. Nov 22, 2012 #4
    I have a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering, so can answer any questions you have about that, but I have no idea about the technicial side. I guess you'd want to be an aircrat technician or something. That requires a trade course.
  6. Nov 22, 2012 #5
    Well if you had to mentor somebody who wanted to be an engineer what would be some common misconceptions you would want them to dispel in order to give them a good grasp what this field involves, and get rid of any apprehensions they may have?
  7. Nov 22, 2012 #6
    That's a very broad question. Is there anything in particular you've heard and would like to get an answer for it?
  8. Nov 22, 2012 #7
    Well people seem to have a very negative outlook on engineering. They seem to think its just about math and that you have to be a prodigy in order to be successful in the field. Ive found from reading these forums that while math is important part most engineers had to struggle and some have barely made it through. But in the end they still became highly succesful in their field and it had nothing to do with their performance in school it was how they performed in the workforce. Im looking for inspiration and encouragement.
  9. Nov 22, 2012 #8
    That's a tricky question to answer. In the beginning, you need a decent mathematical aptitude in order to get through the degree. Mechanical in particular, given all the engineering analysis you will be doing. Note that this varies between unis and some people will get on here and say it's easy and you do hardly any. I did a heap of this due to the Aerospace part and it was damm tough and I usuually I find maths very easy. Some unis offer a lot of assisstance, but the one I went to requires you to mainly learn it by yourself. It's a top uni for the profession for a reason. This shocks a lot of people and causes a lot to leave as a result. Probably coming from private schools who hold your hand the whole way through...

    The main thing is your marks to help you actually get a job. Unless you have a relative that is an engineer and can get you a position, you're going to be competing with a lot of other people. Most companies use your grades to initially thin applicaitons for interviews. This is when your personal attributes come into play and where you can beat people with higher marks based on this.

    In other words, you can get by without being the smarest person in the world, but you need to be competitive in the beginning to get a foot in the door. Grades are even more important now with the small amount of graduate positions being offered.

    It also depends on what type of job that you end up doing. Not all enigneering jobs require actually doing any engineering analysis. You might be a project manager or technician supervisor. I'm persoanlly a design engineer and do maths all day. When it comes down to it, you can be successful in any role, it just comes down to finding the right position for you and getting that initial foot in the door. Not so easy in Australia at the moment.

    The hardest part is the work isn't just complicated, but the workload requires a lot of dedication and focus. Things not a lot of people are willing to give up their lives for four years for.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  10. Nov 22, 2012 #9
    Well that helps. Im not super at math but when I work hard I get through and thats really my main goal is getting through it. I know I like aircraft and I want to be in a job where I play a major part in their development.Even if I have to start at the bottom because my grades arent up too snuff then so be it. Trust me there are worse trajedies in life. We all will get to the top eventually if we just keep plugging away.
  11. Nov 22, 2012 #10
    Getting a job working with aircraft is another issue all together. There's just too many people... I'm one of them and have been trying for years. Unless you know someone, there is no starting at the bottom. Aerospace companies only offer like one graduate position a year. Guess how many Aerospace companies there are and how many applicnats they get and not just from recent graduates.

    I'm not telling you this to discourage you, I wish you luck, just a warning from my experience. Just be prepared to work in another mechanical field. When I chose this field, it never occured to me I wouldn't end up with the job I wanted.
  12. Nov 23, 2012 #11
    No sir your not discouraging me. I read that one of the engineers who developed the space shuttle started outas a designer of microwaves so I kind of figured that engineers have to start in a position unrelated to their desired field. Just as long as I always keep my goal in sight thats all that matters. I know that may sound idealistic but oh well. Trust me there are worst places to start out.
  13. Nov 24, 2012 #12
    Instead of the engineering technician idea is there another job that would be good to work out while trying to complete an engineering degree. I really want to work in a job that has ties to engineering. It would be good to get a support job in a local engineering job so I can establish myself. Any advice? Sorry if this may seem vague.
  14. Nov 25, 2012 #13
    Just have to look out for engineering companies offering jobs to current students. You'll see some jobs advertised that ask for engineering students just to help them with stuff. This would be ideal.
  15. Nov 25, 2012 #14
    I thought about going to my local community college and getting certified in autocad or something just so I can get my fooot in the door. I would like to have a full time job with somebody. I dont care if its being office assistant or fetching coffee as long as I have the chance to establish myself. I here autocad skills are good to have but I also heard it can be dead end.
  16. Nov 25, 2012 #15
    Worth a try mate. The CAD course could give you a step up over other candidates, so might as well give it a shot.
  17. Nov 26, 2012 #16

    jim hardy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Indeed - place yuorself in the shoes of a propective employer. What can you offer him?

    Every manufacturer needs drafting. The Autocad course is an obvious step.
    Nowadays it's a small step from drafting to CNC machine programming.

    Those skills would make you quite valuable.

    old jim
  18. Nov 27, 2012 #17
    Well Im planning to gi back to school, most likely part time since I must work full time. It would be nice to get a job that would be related to the engineering field, or perhaps any entry level job that would get me in at an engineering firm. I know Ive asked about engineering tech and draftsmen but it seems that the there is little availability of those jobs. Does anyone have any suggestions?
  19. Dec 3, 2012 #18
    Would taking all my maths and sciences at the community college and then searching for an egineering tech position be a good move?
  20. Dec 21, 2012 #19
    I graduated from an Engineering Technology program in May 2010. If you are interested in pursuing ET as a career choice, there are some things you need to look in to. Start with ABET's discussion of the two programs:

    then take a look at the list of accredited programs here:

    and then possibly most important- spend some time searching the job boards for jobs calling for "Engineering Technologist" ""engineering technology: etc. in places you want to live.
    The difference in salaries is significant as well.
    I'll answer any questions that I can.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook