When you graduate from a pre-engineering or engineering technology curriculum, you can begin a career as an engineering technician. Electrical, industrial and aerospace engineering are a few of the technologies studied in school that can lead you to work in manufacturing, research and development and construction. While an electrical engineer will design a computer motherboard or an industrial engineer will create a new productivity measurement, their respective technicians will assist them with specific areas of the design or creation process as well as implementation and maintenance of the tools created. Ultimately, engineering technicians specialize in focused areas, including quality control, testing, inspection, installation and repair of tools and products created by engineers and scientists.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean salary range for engineering technicians is $46,820 to $59,990, as of May 2010. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians earn the highest mean salary, while environmental engineering technicians earn the lowest. Aerospace engineering technicians who work in the courier and express delivery services industry have mean salaries of $84,560, while those in the navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instruments manufacturing industry earned a mean salary of $56,260. Meanwhile, environmental engineering technicians who work in oil and gas extraction earn a mean salary of $72,030, while those in management, scientific and technical consulting services earn a mean salary of $40,160.
Most engineering technicians have an associate degree from a two-year college or technical institute. College algebra, basic science and several technical courses are required for you to complete this type of degree. If you do not pursue a degree, you will need on-the-job training for several years before being eligible to become an engineering technician. Military training in engineering technology is well-respected by employers but may need to be supplemented by additional training to fit the civilian world. You may pursue certifications to stay up-to-date in your technical knowledge and pursue a raise in your salary.
Although engineering technician professions as a whole are expected to grow more slowly than average, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects civil and environmental engineering technicians will experience faster-than-average growth of 17 percent and 30 percent, respectively, due to population growth as well as other factors. Electrical, electronic and electro-mechanical engineering technicians are expected to decline in numbers due to better practices in the design of electrical products.
With experience, engineering technicians can move up to become supervisors. Another option is pursuing an additional two to three years of education to become engineers or scientists. Some coursework from technical institutes may not transfer to four-year colleges. This should be taken into consideration prior to pursuing a pre-engineering education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2008 the average starting salary for engineers can range from $52,048 as a civil engineer to $83,121 as a petroleum engineer.
2016 Salary Information for Nuclear Engineers
Nuclear engineers earned a median annual salary of $102,220 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, nuclear engineers earned a 25th percentile salary of $82,770, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $124,420, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 17,700 people were employed in the U.S. as nuclear engineers.