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Become A Controls Design Engineer

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Working As A Controls Design Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $78,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Controls Design Engineer Do

Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment, such as electric motors, radar and navigation systems, communications systems, or power generation equipment. Electrical engineers also design the electrical systems of automobiles and aircraft.

Electronics engineers design and develop electronic equipment, such as broadcast and communications systems, from portable music players to global positioning systems (GPSs). Many also work in areas closely related to computer hardware.

Duties

Electrical engineers typically do the following:

  • Design new ways to use electrical power to develop or improve products
  • Perform detailed calculations to develop manufacturing, construction, and installation standards and specifications
  • Direct the manufacture, installation, and testing of electrical equipment to ensure that products meet specifications and codes
  • Investigate complaints from customers or the public, evaluate problems, and recommend solutions
  • Work with project managers on production efforts to ensure that projects are completed satisfactorily, on time, and within budget

Electronics engineers typically do the following:

  • Design electronic components, software, products, or systems for commercial, industrial, medical, military, or scientific applications
  • Analyze customer needs and determine the requirements, capacity, and cost for developing an electrical system plan
  • Develop maintenance and testing procedures for electronic components and equipment
  • Evaluate systems and recommend design modifications or equipment repair
  • Inspect electronic equipment, instruments, and systems to make sure that they meet safety standards and applicable regulations
  • Plan and develop applications and modifications for electronic properties used in parts and systems in order to improve technical performance

Electronics engineers who work for the federal government research, develop, and evaluate electronic devices used in a variety of areas, such as aviation, computing, transportation, and manufacturing. They work on federal electronic devices and systems, including satellites, flight systems, radar and sonar systems, and communications systems.

The work of electrical engineers and electronics engineers is often similar. Both use engineering and design software and equipment to do engineering tasks. Both types of engineers also must work with other engineers to discuss existing products and possibilities for engineering projects.

Engineers whose work is related exclusively to computer hardware are considered computer hardware engineers.

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How To Become A Controls Design Engineer

Electrical and electronics engineers must have a bachelor’s degree. Employers also value practical experience, so participation in cooperative engineering programs, in which students earn academic credit for structured work experience. Having a Professional Engineer (PE) license may improve an engineer’s chances of finding employment.

Education

High school students interested in studying electrical or electronics engineering benefit from taking courses in physics and mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. Courses in drafting are also helpful, because electrical and electronics engineers often are required to prepare technical drawings.

In order to enter the occupation, prospective electrical and electronics engineers need a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, electronics engineering, or electrical engineering technology. Programs include classroom, laboratory, and field studies. Courses include digital systems design, differential equations, and electrical circuit theory. Programs in electrical engineering, electronics engineering, or electrical engineering technology should be accredited by ABET.

Some colleges and universities offer cooperative programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education. Cooperative programs combine classroom study with practical work. Internships provide similar experience and are growing in number.

At some universities, students can enroll in a 5-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as an instructor at some universities, or in research and development.

Important Qualities

Concentration. Electrical and electronics engineers design and develop complex electrical systems and electronic components and products. They must be able to keep track of multiple design elements and technical characteristics when performing these tasks.

Initiative. Electrical and electronics engineers must be able to apply their knowledge to new tasks in every project they undertake. In addition, they must engage in continuing education to keep up with changes in technology.

Interpersonal skills. Electrical and electronics engineers must be able to work with others during the manufacturing process to ensure that their plans are implemented correctly. This collaboration includes monitoring technicians and devising remedies to problems as they arise.

Math skills. Electrical and electronics engineers must be able to use the principles of calculus and other advanced math in order to analyze, design, and troubleshoot equipment.

Speaking skills. Electrical and electronics engineers work closely with other engineers and technicians. They must be able to explain their designs and reasoning clearly and to relay instructions during product development and production. They also may need to explain complex issues to customers who have little or no technical expertise.

Writing skills. Electrical and electronics engineers develop technical publications related to equipment they develop, including maintenance manuals, operation manuals, parts lists, product proposals, and design methods documents.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as electrical and electronics engineers. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam can be taken right after graduation from a college or university. Engineers who pass this exam commonly are called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After getting work experience, EITs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam.

Several states require engineers to take continuing education courses to keep their license. Most states recognize licensure from other states if the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements.

Advancement

Electrical and electronic engineers may advance to supervisory positions in which they lead a team of engineers and technicians. Some may move to management positions, working as engineering or program managers. Preparation for managerial positions usually requires working under the guidance of a more experienced engineer. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

For sales work, an engineering background enables engineers to discuss a product's technical aspects and assist in product planning and use. For more information, see the profile on sales engineers.

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Controls Design Engineer Career Paths

Controls Design Engineer
Design Engineer Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Project Engineer Systems Engineer
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Controls Engineer Project Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Controls Engineer Project Manager Product Manager
Director Of Product Development
11 Yearsyrs
Controls Engineer Project Manager Vice President
Vice President Product Development
13 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Systems Engineer Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Electrical Design Engineer Electrical Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Electrical Design Engineer Electrical Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Electrical Design Engineer Electrical Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Engineer Senior Engineer Senior Test Engineer
Test Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Engineer Engineering Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Engineering Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer Engineering Director
Director Of Manufacturing Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Electrical Controls Engineer Senior Electrical Engineer Construction Manager
Commissioning Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Electrical Controls Engineer Senior Electrical Engineer Principal Engineer
Group Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Electrical Controls Engineer Senior Electrical Engineer Project Lead Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Engineer Process Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Engineer Consulting Engineer Senior Engineering Technician
Engineering Laboratory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Controls Engineer Project Engineering Manager Program/Project Manager
Custom Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Controls Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Senior Storage Engineer
Senior Engineering Team Leader
8 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Controls Design Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Design Engineer 3.4 years
Project Engineer 3.4 years
Controls Engineer 3.4 years
Controls Designer 2.9 years
Top Careers Before Controls Design Engineer
Engineer 3.8%
Internship 3.5%
Designer 2.9%
Foreman 2.9%
Top Careers After Controls Design Engineer
Engineer 4.2%

Do you work as a Controls Design Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$78,000
Show Salaries
$58,000
Min 10%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$104,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Xerox
Highest Paying City
Cupertino, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Controls Design Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Controls Design Engineer in the United States is $78,090 per year or $38 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $58,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $104,000.

Real Controls Design Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Rfic Controller Design Engineer GCT Semiconductor, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 18, 2011 $109,866 -
$117,000
Principal Controls Design Engineer Solar Turbines Incorporated San Diego, CA Sep 08, 2011 $104,322
Instrument & Control Design Engineer G.A.S. Unlimited, Inc. Pasadena, TX Sep 13, 2014 $104,000
Control & Automation Design Engineer GE Energy Power Conversion USA Inc. Pittsburgh, PA Sep 15, 2015 $99,923 -
$100,000
Controls Design Engineer Cornellcookson, Inc. Goodyear, AZ Jun 06, 2016 $93,766
Controls Design Engineer Cornellcookson, Inc. Goodyear, AZ Nov 23, 2016 $93,766
Multivariable Controls Algorithm Design Engineer General Motors Company Milford, MI Aug 24, 2016 $93,000
Quality Control/Design Engineer Forever 21, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 19, 2012 $91,800 -
$103,043
Controls Design Engineer MacHine Builders, LLC Erie, MI Feb 12, 2010 $91,146
Design Engineer, Control Interfaces RGB Systems DBA Extron Electronics Anaheim, CA Jun 24, 2016 $90,000
Embedded Digital System Control Design Engineer TDK-Lambda Americas Inc. Neptune, NJ Sep 21, 2013 $90,000 -
$110,000
Electrical Controls Design Engineer Kiewit Engineering & Design Co. Lenexa, KS Jun 10, 2016 $86,000
Electrical Controls Design Engineer Kiewit Engineering & Design Co. Lenexa, KS Sep 10, 2015 $84,500
Control Design Engineer Primus Green Energy, Inc. Hillsborough, NJ Mar 25, 2016 $83,600
Controls Design Engineer Outbound Technologies Incorporated Hudson, MI May 01, 2014 $83,480
Motor Control Design Engineer Populus Group Oxnard, CA Aug 17, 2015 $83,480
Engineer-Design and Quality Control Kiewit Construction Company Woodcliff Lake, NJ Jul 10, 2010 $82,659 -
$95,410
Electrical Controls Design Engineer Kiewit Engineering and Design Co. Lenexa, KS Sep 09, 2015 $80,000
Engineer II-Protection & Control Design Duke Energy Florida Lake Mary, FL Nov 05, 2016 $79,199 -
$90,900
Electrical/Controls Design Engineer Kiewit Engineering & Design Co. The Woodlands, TX Oct 16, 2015 $75,000
Senior Controls Design Engineer Comau, Inc. Southfield, MI Sep 14, 2009 $75,000
Lead Controls Design Engineer Peak Technical Services, Inc. Erie, PA Feb 11, 2013 $74,109
Controls and Instrumentation Design Engineer Atlas Copco MAFI-Trench Company LLC Santa Maria, CA Oct 01, 2012 $71,635
Controls Design Engineer Outbound Technologies Ohio, Inc. Olde West Chester, OH Aug 04, 2016 $70,013
Hydraulic Controls Engineer/Designer Steel MacHinery Manufacturing Company Irving, TX Nov 01, 2013 $70,000
Control Design Engineer Primus Green Energy Hillsborough, NJ Aug 12, 2011 $70,000
Design Engineer, Software and Controls Design AGCO Corporation Hesston, KS Jan 09, 2016 $70,000

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Top Skills for A Controls Design Engineer

  1. PLC
  2. Electrical Systems
  3. Autocad
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designed PLC programs and Graphical User Interfaces to integrate into existing production systems for various industrial applications.
  • Provided technical support for plant and contract electricians on the start-up/debug of the electrical systems.
  • Design electrical schematics, PLC architecture, panel design, and bills of material for automated machinery using AutoCAD Electrical 2014.
  • Designed assembly station hardware, wrote and debugged assembly station PLC and HMI software using Mitsubishi GX Developer and GT Works.
  • Supervised auto-cad operators in generation of these electrical drawings before participating in sign-off.

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Top 10 Best States for Controls Design Engineers

  1. California
  2. Washington
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Alabama
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Texas
  7. Virginia
  8. Maryland
  9. New Mexico
  10. District of Columbia
  • (4,983 jobs)
  • (826 jobs)
  • (941 jobs)
  • (289 jobs)
  • (210 jobs)
  • (1,799 jobs)
  • (898 jobs)
  • (524 jobs)
  • (101 jobs)
  • (135 jobs)

Controls Design Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

78.8%

Unknown

10.7%

Female

10.5%
Ethnicity

White

57.1%

Hispanic or Latino

13.9%

Asian

13.4%

Black or African American

10.2%

Unknown

5.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

33.3%

Japanese

9.5%

Italian

9.5%

Chinese

4.8%

Greek

4.8%

Albanian

4.8%

Cantonese

4.8%

Malay

4.8%

Gujarati

4.8%

Carrier

4.8%

Hindi

4.8%

Mandarin

4.8%

Korean

4.8%
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Controls Design Engineer Education

Schools

Purdue University

10.5%

University of Phoenix

9.3%

University of Houston

7.0%

Arizona State University

5.8%

Wichita State University

5.8%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.8%

Clemson University

5.8%

Pennsylvania State University

4.7%

California State University - Fullerton

4.7%

University of Cincinnati

4.7%

Cleveland State University

4.7%

University of Florida

3.5%

University of South Florida

3.5%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.5%

University of Central Florida

3.5%

University of Colorado at Boulder

3.5%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.5%

Iowa State University

3.5%

University of California - Berkeley

3.5%

Illinois Institute of Technology

3.5%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

34.6%

Mechanical Engineering

16.4%

Business

9.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

6.6%

Engineering

5.1%

Drafting And Design

3.9%

Mechatronics And Robotics

2.7%

Computer Engineering

2.4%

Civil Engineering

2.4%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.4%

Computer Science

1.8%

Industrial Technology

1.8%

Aerospace Engineering

1.8%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.5%

Information Technology

1.5%

Precision Metal Working

1.2%

Finance

1.2%

Industrial Engineering

1.2%

Chemical Engineering

1.2%

Systems Engineering

0.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.9%

Masters

25.7%

Other

14.7%

Associate

6.5%

Doctorate

3.0%

Certificate

2.5%

Diploma

0.7%
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