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Become A Controls Engineer

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Working As A Controls 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

  • $78,260

    Average Salary

What Does A Controls 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 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 Engineer Jobs

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Controls Engineer Career Paths

Controls Engineer
Engineering Manager Operations Vice President Construction Manager
Commissioning Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Engineer Senior Process Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Director Of Manufacturing Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Lead Engineer Project Engineering Manager Senior Process Engineer
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Commissioning Engineer Project Engineer Facility Engineer
Facilities/Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Construction Manager
Installation Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Automation Engineer Senior Engineer Project Engineering Manager
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Engineer
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Engineer Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Project Engineer
Plant Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Engineer Senior Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Product Manager
Product Line Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Analyst Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Engineer Principal Engineer Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Project Controls Engineer Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Controls Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Controls Engineer 3.0 years
Controls Designer 2.9 years
Robotics Engineer 2.2 years
Top Employers Before
Engineer 5.8%
Internship 4.4%
Top Employers After
Engineer 7.8%

Do you work as a Controls Engineer?

Controls Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

86.3%

Female

10.3%

Unknown

3.4%
Ethnicity

White

57.7%

Asian

13.7%

Hispanic or Latino

12.8%

Black or African American

10.0%

Unknown

5.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

37.3%

French

8.7%

Mandarin

6.8%

Chinese

6.8%

German

6.2%

Arabic

6.2%

Russian

4.3%

Carrier

3.1%

Japanese

3.1%

Korean

2.5%

Cantonese

2.5%

Italian

2.5%

Portuguese

2.5%

Turkish

1.9%

Thai

1.9%

Polish

1.2%

Swedish

0.6%

Cherokee

0.6%

Romanian

0.6%

Hindi

0.6%
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Controls Engineer Education

Schools

Purdue University

12.7%

Pennsylvania State University

7.3%

University of Phoenix

6.3%

Rochester Institute of Technology

5.8%

Wayne State University

5.3%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

5.3%

Michigan Technological University

5.1%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.1%

Ohio State University

4.6%

State University of New York Buffalo

4.3%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

4.1%

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

4.1%

Lawrence Technological University

4.1%

Clemson University

4.1%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.8%

University of Houston

3.8%

Oakland University

3.8%

Arizona State University

3.5%

Cleveland State University

3.5%

Drexel University

3.5%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

38.2%

Mechanical Engineering

11.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

8.3%

Business

7.8%

Computer Engineering

4.4%

Computer Science

3.6%

Engineering

3.4%

Chemical Engineering

2.7%

Industrial Technology

2.6%

Mechatronics And Robotics

2.6%

Project Management

2.2%

Industrial Engineering

1.8%

Finance

1.7%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.7%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.6%

Computer Information Systems

1.4%

Management

1.3%

Aerospace Engineering

1.3%

Civil Engineering

1.2%

Information Technology

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.4%

Masters

24.3%

Other

14.9%

Associate

8.9%

Certificate

2.9%

Doctorate

2.7%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.0%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Controls Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Subsea BOP Controls Engineer BP America Inc. Houston, TX Jan 12, 2015 $161,500 -
$175,000
Controls Engineer Achates Power, Inc. San Diego, CA Jan 10, 2016 $154,000
Regional Controls Engineer Linde North America, Inc. Naperville, IL Aug 25, 2015 $140,000
Subsea Controls Engineer Chevron Corporation Houston, TX Dec 03, 2016 $139,900
Subsea Controls Engineer Chevron Corporation Houston, TX Jun 15, 2015 $137,000
Control Engineer (Power Generation) AMEC Foster Wheeler North America Corporation Hampton, NJ Jul 21, 2015 $133,968
Jack S. Malo Power and Controls Engineer Chevron Corporation Houston, TX Feb 18, 2015 $133,200
Servo Controls Engineer Applied Materials, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Oct 19, 2016 $125,536
Robotic Control Engineer Park Plus Inc. Fairview, NJ Aug 31, 2016 $121,534
Controls Engineer Verb Surgical Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 20, 2016 $120,000 -
$128,000
Controls Engineer Faraday&Future Inc. Gardena, CA Feb 12, 2015 $120,000
Guidance, Navigation and Control Engineer Autel Robotics USA LLC San Ramon, CA Jan 02, 2016 $120,000
Mechatronics & Control Engineer Rethink Robotics, Inc. Boston, MA May 07, 2016 $118,000
Optimization and Controls Engineer Robert Bosch LLC Palo Alto, CA Dec 16, 2016 $117,875
Controls Engineer Belcan Services Group Ltd Partnership I Rossville, IL Aug 20, 2016 $85,567
Controls Engineer Belcan Engineering Group, Inc. Rossville, IL Aug 20, 2016 $85,567
Controls Engineer Epitec, Inc. Milford, MI Aug 27, 2015 $85,280
Embedded Controls Engineer LHP Software, LLC Columbus, IN Sep 23, 2015 $85,000
Controls Engineer Tesla Motors, Inc. Fremont, CA Aug 31, 2016 $85,000 -
$99,000
Controls Engineer, Driver Assistance & Autopilot Tesla Motors, Inc. Fremont, CA Sep 01, 2015 $85,000 -
$100,000
Climate Control Attribute Engineer Aerotek, Inc. Dearborn, MI Aug 31, 2016 $74,958
Change Control Engineer Ross Recruiting, Inc. Kalamazoo, MI Aug 11, 2015 $74,880
Controls Engineer Cinetic DYAG Corporation Farmington Hills, MI Mar 20, 2015 $74,838 -
$90,000
Controls Engineer AES Warrior Run LLC Cumberland, MD Oct 09, 2016 $74,798 -
$95,313
Embedded Controls Engineer LHP Software, LLC Columbus, IN May 21, 2015 $74,651
Embedded Controls Engineer LHP Software, LLC Columbus, IN Jun 08, 2015 $74,651
Electronic Controls-Engineer Cummins Inc. Columbus, IN Dec 19, 2016 $74,277 -
$84,800
Electronic Controls-Engineer Cummins Inc. Columbus, IN Sep 15, 2016 $74,277 -
$85,200

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Top Skills for A Controls Engineer

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  1. Plc/Hmi
  2. Control System Design
  3. Ladder Logic
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Organized and managed PLC/HMI programs to be accessible by the Field Technicians, Engineers and U.S. Water Services management.
  • Control system design and implementation of industrial manufacturing equipment for the automotive and industrial manufacturing industries.
  • Interpret mechanical sequence and controls drawing and writes ladder logic to customer specifications.
  • Assisted in report modernization techniques including use of word processing templates, computerized risk diagramming and square footage determination.
  • Designed and created electrical prints for automation equipment with AutoCad Electrical.

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Top 10 Best States for Controls Engineers

  1. New Mexico
  2. Connecticut
  3. California
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Massachusetts
  6. District of Columbia
  7. Texas
  8. Vermont
  9. Michigan
  10. Washington
  • (184 jobs)
  • (386 jobs)
  • (4,336 jobs)
  • (231 jobs)
  • (1,006 jobs)
  • (234 jobs)
  • (2,030 jobs)
  • (76 jobs)
  • (876 jobs)
  • (839 jobs)

Top Controls Engineer Employers

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