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Become A Controls Designer

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Working As A Controls Designer

  • 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

  • $84,567

    Average Salary

What Does A Controls Designer 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 Designer

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 Designer Videos

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Controls Designer Career Paths

Controls Designer
Piping Designer Field Engineer Construction Manager
Commissioning Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Design Engineer Electrical Engineer
Contract Electrical Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Senior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Controls Engineer Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Lead Designer Senior Design Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Designer Senior Electrical Design Engineer Senior Electrical Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Engineer Project Engineer Facility Engineer
Facilities/Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Piping Designer Senior Mechanical Designer Project Engineering Manager
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Senior Design Engineer Engineering Manager
Manufacturing Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Design Drafter Mechanical Engineer Plant Engineer
Plant Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Development Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Designer Lead Designer Design Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Engineer Application Engineer Control Systems Engineer
Senior Instrumentation And Control Engineer
13 Yearsyrs
Controls Engineer Project Manager Operations Director
Vice President Of Manufacturing
14 Yearsyrs
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Controls Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

78.7%

Female

13.1%

Unknown

8.2%
Ethnicity

White

53.3%

Asian

18.4%

Hispanic or Latino

14.5%

Black or African American

9.0%

Unknown

4.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

47.6%

Chinese

14.3%

Mandarin

14.3%

Cantonese

9.5%

Japanese

4.8%

French

4.8%

Italian

4.8%
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Controls Designer Education

Schools

University of Southern California

11.7%

University of Texas at Arlington

6.4%

University of Florida

6.4%

Macomb Community College

6.4%

Texas A&M University

5.3%

Northeastern University

5.3%

Purdue University

5.3%

Drexel University

5.3%

Michigan Technological University

4.3%

San Jose State University

4.3%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

4.3%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.3%

A-Technical College

4.3%

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

4.3%

Carnegie Mellon University

4.3%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

4.3%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.3%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.2%

Texas Tech University

3.2%

Pennsylvania State University

3.2%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

31.5%

Mechanical Engineering

11.5%

Drafting And Design

10.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

7.7%

Business

6.7%

Engineering

5.4%

Computer Science

3.8%

Computer Engineering

3.6%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.6%

Electromechanical Instrumentation And Maintenance Technologies/Technicians

2.1%

Industrial Technology

1.8%

Mechatronics And Robotics

1.8%

Industrial Engineering

1.8%

Engineering Technology

1.5%

Music

1.5%

Aerospace Engineering

1.5%

Project Management

1.3%

Graphic Design

1.3%

Mathematics

1.3%

Fine Arts

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

32.1%

Masters

22.0%

Other

21.4%

Associate

17.0%

Doctorate

3.0%

Certificate

2.6%

Diploma

1.4%

License

0.4%
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Controls Designer Videos

Day in the Life: Video Game Designer

Automotive engineers | A day in the life at Johnson Controls

Designer Drugs - Drugs Are In Control (F.O.O.L Remix)

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Real Controls Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Instrumentation & Controls Designer The Global Edge Consultants, LLC Houston, TX Sep 17, 2015 $130,000 -
$175,000
Electrical/Controls Designer 4 (Electrical Enginee Kiewit Offshore Services, Ltd. Ingleside, TX Jul 15, 2014 $96,200
Controller-Merge CAD Merge Healthcare Incorporated Bellevue, WA Jan 04, 2010 $94,203 -
$120,000
Controls Designer Magneti Marelli Powertrain USA, LLC Auburn Hills, MI Dec 02, 2014 $89,211
Control Design/Development General Motors Company Pontiac, MI Nov 17, 2014 $89,016
Controls Design-PLC Debug Senior Level Spectrum Engineering Solutions Bessemer, AL Nov 20, 2015 $82,930
Controls Designer Magneti Marelli Powertrain USA, LLC Auburn Hills, MI Jan 01, 2015 $82,400
Controls Designer Magneti Marelli Powertrain USA, LLC Auburn Hills, MI Sep 29, 2012 $82,400
Controls Designer Magneti Marelli Powertrain USA, LLC Auburn Hills, MI Oct 01, 2012 $82,400
Driveline Controls Design Development and Validati Chrysler Group LLC Auburn Hills, MI Oct 07, 2013 $82,174
Interactive Control Designer General Electric Company Louisville, KY Nov 01, 2013 $73,500
Interactive Control Designer General Electric Company (GE Home & Business Solut Louisville, KY Nov 01, 2010 $70,000
Controls Designer Pom Group, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Feb 17, 2010 $69,915
Controls Designer Magneti Marelli Powertrain USA, LLC Auburn Hills, MI Feb 09, 2016 $66,394
Project Controls Designer AEC Engineering, Inc. Minneapolis, MN Apr 06, 2015 $65,000
Controls Designer The Cookson Company, Inc. Phoenix, AZ Nov 29, 2013 $65,000
Controls Designer Magneti Marelli Powertrain USA, LLC Farmington Hills, MI Oct 01, 2009 $59,000
Controls Designer Automotive Lighting LLC Farmington Hills, MI Oct 01, 2009 $59,000

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Top Skills for A Controls Designer

  1. Drawing Packages
  2. PLC
  3. Line Diagrams
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Coordinate drawing packages for field engineers in a timely manner for machine modifications according to scheduling requirements.
  • Design and develop PLC controls for automated asphalt load out systems, and Rock Quarry Motor Control Center Systems.
  • Design and redesigned of fire alarm and access control systems plans, one-line diagrams, and load calculations.
  • Compressed Natural Gas Delivery Systems Senior controls designer, PLC and HMI programmer, AutoCAD, BOM, field commissioning
  • Control & design (and check-out), I/O assignment, Electrical details, Graphic design.

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Top 10 Best States for Controls Designers

  1. Alabama
  2. California
  3. Texas
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Virginia
  6. Maryland
  7. Massachusetts
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Ohio
  10. Rhode Island
  • (77 jobs)
  • (678 jobs)
  • (395 jobs)
  • (36 jobs)
  • (197 jobs)
  • (103 jobs)
  • (137 jobs)
  • (31 jobs)
  • (224 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)

Top Controls Designer Employers

Jobs From Top Controls Designer Employers

Controls Designer Videos

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Designer Drugs - Drugs Are In Control (F.O.O.L Remix)

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