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Become A Process & Automation Engineer

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Working As A Process & Automation Engineer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • $80,845

    Average Salary

What Does A Process & Automation Engineer Do

Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.

Duties

Industrial engineers typically do the following:

  • Review production schedules, engineering specifications, process flows, and other information to understand methods that are applied and activities that take place in manufacturing and services
  • Figure out how to manufacture parts or products, or deliver services, with maximum efficiency
  • Develop management control systems to make financial planning and cost analysis more efficient
  • Enact quality control procedures to resolve production problems or minimize costs
  • Design control systems to coordinate activities and production planning in order to ensure that products meet quality standards
  • Confer with clients about product specifications, vendors about purchases, management personnel about manufacturing capabilities, and staff about the status of projects

Industrial engineers apply their skills to many different situations, from manufacturing to healthcare systems to business administration. For example, they design systems for

  • moving heavy parts within manufacturing plants
  • delivering goods from a company to customers, including finding the most profitable places to locate manufacturing or processing plants
  • evaluating job performance
  • paying workers

Industrial engineers focus on how to get the work done most efficiently, balancing many factors, such as time, number of workers needed, available technology, actions workers need to take, achieving the end product with no errors, workers’ safety, environmental concerns, and cost.

To find ways to reduce waste and improve performance, industrial engineers study product requirements carefully. Then they use mathematical methods and models to design manufacturing and information systems to meet those requirements most efficiently.

Their versatility allows industrial engineers to engage in activities that are useful to a variety of businesses, governments, and nonprofits. For example, industrial engineers engage in supply chain management to help businesses minimize inventory costs, conduct quality assurance activities to help businesses keep their customer bases satisfied, and work in the growing field of project management as industries across the economy seek to control costs and maximize efficiencies.

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How To Become A Process & Automation Engineer

Industrial engineers must have a bachelor’s degree. Employers also value experience, so cooperative education engineering programs at universities are also valuable.

Education

Industrial engineers need a bachelor’s degree, typically in industrial engineering. However, many industrial engineers have degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering technology, or general engineering. Students interested in studying industrial engineering should take high school courses in mathematics, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; computer science; and sciences such as chemistry and physics.

Bachelor’s degree programs include lectures in classrooms and practice in laboratories. Courses include statistics, production systems planning, and manufacturing systems design, among others. Many colleges and universities offer cooperative education programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education.

A few colleges and universities offer 5-year degree programs in industrial engineering that lead to a bachelor’s and master’s degree upon completion, and several more offer similar programs in mechanical engineering. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as a professor at a college or university or to engage in research and development. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative education plans combine classroom study with practical work, permitting students to gain experience and to finance part of their education.

Programs in industrial engineering are accredited by ABET.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Industrial engineers use creativity and ingenuity to design new production processes in many kinds of settings in order to reduce the use of material resources, time, or labor while accomplishing the same goal.

Critical-thinking skills. Industrial engineers create new systems to solve problems related to waste and inefficiency. Solving these problems requires logic and reasoning to identify strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to the problems.

Listening skills. These engineers often operate in teams, but they also must solicit feedback from customers, vendors, and production staff. They must listen to customers and clients in order to fully grasp ideas and problems the first time.

Math skills. Industrial engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. In designing facilities for manufacturing and processes for providing services, these engineers deal with several issues at once, from workers’ safety to quality assurance.

Speaking skills. Industrial engineers sometimes have to explain their instructions to production staff or technicians before they can make written instructions available. Being able to explain concepts clearly and quickly is crucial to preventing costly mistakes and loss of time.

Writing skills. Industrial engineers must prepare documentation for other engineers or scientists, or for future reference. The documentation must be coherent and explain their thinking clearly so that the others can understand the information.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as an industrial engineer. 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, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Several states require engineers to take continuing education in order to keep their licenses. Most states recognize licenses from other states, as long as the other state’s licensing requirements meet or exceed their own licensing requirements.

Advancement

Beginning industrial engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers also may receive formal training in classes or seminars. As beginning engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move on to more difficult projects with greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, industrial engineers may advance to become technical specialists, such as quality engineers or facility planners. In that role, they supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Obtaining a master’s degree facilitates such specialization and thus advancement.

Many industrial engineers move into management positions because the work they do is closely related to the work of managers. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

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Do you work as a Process & Automation Engineer?

Process & Automation Engineer Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Staff Engineer 4.3 years
Process Engineer 3.4 years
Lead Engineer 3.3 years
Engineer 3.2 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 5.8%
Designer 3.3%
Top Employers After
Architect 3.6%

Do you work as a Process & Automation Engineer?

Process & Automation Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

82.4%

Female

13.7%

Unknown

3.9%
Ethnicity

White

56.8%

Hispanic or Latino

16.9%

Asian

12.9%

Black or African American

9.6%

Unknown

3.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.0%

German

10.0%

Bulgarian

10.0%

Cherokee

10.0%

French

10.0%

Macedonian

10.0%

Croatian

10.0%
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Process & Automation Engineer Education

Schools

Purdue University

11.1%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

8.3%

University of Alabama

5.6%

West Virginia University Institute of Technology

5.6%

Youngstown State University

5.6%

Michigan State University

5.6%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

5.6%

Pennsylvania State University

5.6%

Colorado Technical University

5.6%

Utah State University

5.6%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

5.6%

The Academy

5.6%

Pepperdine University

5.6%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

2.8%

University of Texas at Arlington

2.8%

University of Connecticut

2.8%

University of Akron

2.8%

University of Maryland - University College

2.8%

Washington University in Saint Louis

2.8%

University of Massachusetts - Boston

2.8%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

22.9%

Chemical Engineering

18.6%

Mechanical Engineering

11.0%

Business

8.5%

Computer Engineering

6.8%

Computer Science

4.2%

Finance

3.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.5%

Industrial Technology

2.5%

Information Technology

2.5%

Industrial Engineering

2.5%

Electromechanical Instrumentation And Maintenance Technologies/Technicians

2.5%

Management

1.7%

Music

1.7%

Biology

1.7%

Mechatronics And Robotics

1.7%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.7%

Physics

1.7%

Teaching Assistants/Aides

0.8%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

0.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

54.7%

Masters

23.4%

Other

12.4%

Associate

5.8%

Certificate

1.5%

Doctorate

1.5%

Diploma

0.7%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Process & Automation Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
IT Process Automation Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Nov 18, 2014 $127,150 -
$161,700
Process Automation Engineer HTSE Group, Inc. Hemlock, MI Dec 05, 2011 $92,830
Senior Stamping Process Automation Engineer Christy Industries Inc. D/B/A Cosma Die Technology Troy, MI Sep 09, 2016 $91,815 -
$96,405
Process Automation Engineer Aviat U.S., Inc. Santa Clara, CA Dec 01, 2011 $88,382
Senior Process Automation Engineer Fisher Rosemount Systems, Inc. Hillsboro, OR Sep 15, 2015 $87,235 -
$126,136
Process/Automation Engineer Medivators, Inc. Conroe, TX Feb 25, 2016 $86,216
Process Automation Engineer ROTO-Die Company, Inc. Eureka, MO Sep 03, 2015 $85,000 -
$95,000
Process Automation Engineer Holcim (Us) Inc. Ada, OK Aug 10, 2012 $82,000 -
$85,000
Process Automation Engineer Evraz Inc. Na Pueblo, CO Jan 09, 2016 $82,000
Automated Driving Engineer-Sensor Processing Ford Motor Company Dearborn, MI Aug 24, 2016 $81,203 -
$111,360
Process Automation Engineer-Power Station Arcelormittal USA LLC Burns Harbor, IN Sep 07, 2015 $80,000
Process Automation Engineer Arcelormittal USA LLC East Chicago, IN Jul 01, 2013 $76,000 -
$99,000
Process Automation Engineer Arcelormittal USA LLC East Chicago, IN Sep 18, 2012 $76,000 -
$99,000
Process Automation Engineer Christy Industries Inc. Troy, MI Apr 14, 2014 $75,000 -
$92,000
Process Automation Engineer 1-Metals Senior Tmeic Corporation Roanoke, VA Dec 10, 2013 $72,392
Stamping Process/Automation Engineer Christy Industries Inc. Troy, MI Sep 02, 2011 $72,000 -
$80,000
Process Automation Engineer Arcelormittal USA LLC East Chicago, IN Oct 01, 2011 $70,992
Associate Process Automation Engineer Arcelormittal USA LLC Burns Harbor, IN Sep 01, 2012 $70,200
Associate Process Automation Engineer Arcelormittal USA LLC Burns Harbor, IN Sep 01, 2012 $69,600
Process Automation Engineer 1-Metals Senior Tmeic Corporation Roanoke, VA Feb 01, 2013 $68,038
Associate Process Automation Engineer Arcelormittal USA LLC Burns Harbor, IN Sep 01, 2012 $67,900
Process Automation Engineer-Metals Senior TM GE Automation Systems LLC VA Apr 01, 2010 $67,878
Process Automation Engineer-Metals Senior TM GE Automation Systems LLC Roanoke, VA Apr 01, 2010 $67,878
Automated Driving Engineer-Sensor Processing Ford Motor Company Dearborn, MI Sep 21, 2015 $67,642 -
$111,360
Automated Driving Engineer-Sensor Processing Ford Motor Company Dearborn, MI Aug 16, 2016 $67,642 -
$111,360
Process Automation Engineer-Metals Senior TM GE Automation Systems LLC VA Feb 01, 2010 $65,864
Process Automation Engineer Teligentems, LLC Havana, FL Oct 27, 2011 $64,210
Research Scientist and Process Automation Engineer Rare Antibody Antigen Supply, Inc. Agoura Hills, CA Aug 14, 2016 $62,000
Process Automation Engineer Teligentems, LLC Havana, FL Oct 27, 2010 $60,000

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Top Skills for A Process & Automation Engineer

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  1. Process Control Systems
  2. PLC
  3. HMI
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Specified, designed, and configured process control systems to support continuous and batch chemical operations.
  • Designed and installed control panels including Allan Bradley PLC's, relays, terminal strips and 24 volt power supplies.
  • Developed interactive HMI for operator use.
  • Organized Factory Acceptance Test and Site Acceptance Test of Application Software and Hardware of DCS, PLC and SCADA.
  • Coordinated maintenance activities, supervised planners, conducted safety meetings, maintained key performance indicators.

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Top Process & Automation Engineer Employers

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