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Working As a Process Control 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

  • $83,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Process Control 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 Control 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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Process Control Engineer Career Paths

Process Control Engineer
Project Manager Quality Manager Plant Manager
Manufacturing Director
14 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Quality Manager
Supplier Quality Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Quality Manager Manufacturing Manager
Senior Manufacturing Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Systems Engineer Quality Assurance Engineer
Quality Assurance Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Director Of Manufacturing Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Process Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Process Control Manager Production Manager Processing Manager
Senior Process Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Process Control Manager Quality Assurance Manager Manager, Quality Engineer
Director Of Quality & Engineering
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Engineer Information Technology Project Manager Engineering Program Manager
Senior Program And Engineering Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Engineer Project Engineering Manager
Plant Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Process Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Project Lead Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Engineer Production Engineer
Production Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Engineering Supervisor Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Project Manager-Manufacturing
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Lead Engineer Section Manager
Manager Of Engineering Department
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Process Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Manufacturing Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Engineer Quality Control Manager Research And Development Manager
New Product Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Engineer Production Supervisor Production Superintendent
Launch Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Production Supervisor Manufacturing Manager Product Engineering Manager
Global Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Process Control Manager Production Manager Continuous Improvement Manager
Manager Of Operations Excellence
10 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Controls Engineer 3.4 years
Process Engineer 3.4 years
Top Careers Before Process Control Engineer
Engineer 6.6%
Internship 3.6%
Top Careers After Process Control Engineer
Engineer 5.5%
Consultant 3.8%
Manager 3.0%

Do you work as a Process Control Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$83,000
Show Salaries
$65,000
Min 10%
$83,000
Median 50%
$83,000
Median 50%
$83,000
Median 50%
$83,000
Median 50%
$83,000
Median 50%
$83,000
Median 50%
$83,000
Median 50%
$105,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Chevron
Highest Paying City
Corpus Christi, TX
Highest Paying State
Texas
Avg Experience Level
3.8 years
How much does a Process Control Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Process Control Engineer in the United States is $83,563 per year or $40 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $65,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $105,000.

Real Process Control Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Area Process Control Engineer BP America Inc. Whiting, IN Oct 01, 2015 $131,300
Process Controls Engineer IV Paton Controls (U.S.) Inc. Channelview, TX May 04, 2016 $131,040
Process Controls Engineer IV Paton Controls (U.S.) Inc. Channelview, TX Sep 23, 2015 $131,040
Principal Process Control Engineer Lanzatech, Incorporated Skokie, IL Jun 25, 2015 $130,000
Area Process Control Engineer, Fluid Cracking Unit BP America Inc. Whiting, IN Nov 21, 2016 $130,000 -
$140,000
Process Controls Engineer Koch Fertilizer Dodge City, LLC Dodge City, KS Jan 07, 2015 $130,000
Process Controls Engineer Koch Fertilizer Dodge City, LLC Dodge City, KS Jul 01, 2015 $130,000
Principal Process Control Technology (PCT) Engineer Bayer Materialscience LLC Baytown, TX Jan 27, 2016 $127,000
Process Controls Engineer (Chemical) Bloom Energy Corporation Sunnyvale, CA Dec 13, 2016 $123,625
R2R Process Control Engineer Micron Technology, Inc. Manassas, VA Oct 01, 2015 $120,879
Process Control Engineer Celanese Corporation Pasadena, TX Aug 22, 2016 $120,000 -
$140,000
Process Control Engineer Alma Plantation, LLC LA Aug 27, 2015 $120,000
Process Control Technology (PCT) RUN Engineer Bayer Materialscience LLC Baytown, TX Jan 27, 2016 $119,059
Process Control Engineer Shell Global Solutions (Us) Inc. Houston, TX Aug 25, 2016 $111,500
Chief Process Control Engineer Freeport-McMoran Morenci Inc. Morenci, AZ Aug 29, 2016 $98,785
Process Control Engineer Caterpillar Global Mining LLC South Milwaukee, WI Feb 25, 2015 $98,000
R2R Process Control Engineer Micron Technology, Inc. Manassas, VA Sep 21, 2016 $96,408
R2R Process Control Engineer Micron Technology, Inc. Manassas, VA Nov 18, 2015 $96,290
Chief Process Control Engineer Freeport-McMoran Morenci Inc. Morenci, AZ Aug 29, 2016 $95,900
Deltav Process Control Automation Engineer Sequoia Consulting Group, LLC Solana Beach, CA Sep 18, 2016 $92,768 -
$110,000
Process Control Engineer Evraz Inc. Na Pueblo, CO Aug 09, 2015 $92,700
Process Controls Engineer RFID & Process Automation Services, LLC Houston, TX Sep 16, 2015 $79,040
Process Control Engineer Best USA Logistics, Inc. Fremont, CA Aug 21, 2016 $79,014
Process Control Engineer, Biochemistry Caliper Life Sciences, Inc. Hopkinton, MA Sep 04, 2015 $78,620
Process & Process/Controls Engineer Ada Carbon Solutions (Red River), LLC Coushatta, LA Aug 18, 2015 $78,125 -
$112,000
Process Control and Data Analysis Engineer NMK Global Inc. Coushatta, LA Sep 15, 2015 $78,125
Process Control Engineer Micron Technology, Inc. Manassas, VA Nov 22, 2015 $78,000
Advanced Process Controls Engineer Evonik Corporation Theodore, AL Sep 05, 2015 $77,500

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Top Skills for A Process Control Engineer

  1. Process Control Systems
  2. PLC
  3. DCS
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Specified, designed and implemented distributed process control systems for compounding and pellet extrusion, powder handling, and hydrogen/chlorine production.
  • Provided electrical controls engineering & PLC software programming in support of product development.
  • Specified, designed, and developed integrated safety shutdown system & operator interface and successfully performed DCS factory acceptance tests.
  • Direct involvement with operations on key process improvements, strategic planning, and training of new regulatory and advanced control improvements.
  • Developed HMI graphics, consolidating large amounts of information into intuitive displays.

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Top 10 Best States for Process Control Engineers

  1. Texas
  2. Washington
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Louisiana
  5. New Mexico
  6. Arizona
  7. California
  8. Colorado
  9. Idaho
  10. New Hampshire
  • (2,154 jobs)
  • (802 jobs)
  • (1,038 jobs)
  • (246 jobs)
  • (151 jobs)
  • (459 jobs)
  • (4,378 jobs)
  • (579 jobs)
  • (115 jobs)
  • (233 jobs)

Process Control Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

78.4%

Female

12.5%

Unknown

9.0%
Ethnicity

White

58.8%

Hispanic or Latino

13.7%

Asian

12.5%

Black or African American

10.5%

Unknown

4.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.3%

Chinese

8.3%

German

6.9%

Arabic

5.6%

Portuguese

4.2%

French

4.2%

Hindi

4.2%

Mandarin

4.2%

Cantonese

2.8%

Japanese

2.8%

Urdu

2.8%

Russian

2.8%

Indonesian

1.4%

Lithuanian

1.4%

Greek

1.4%

Occidental

1.4%

Malayalam

1.4%

Polish

1.4%

Tamil

1.4%

Korean

1.4%
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Process Control Engineer Education

Schools

Purdue University

9.1%

Drexel University

7.8%

University of Phoenix

7.4%

Pennsylvania State University

6.5%

University of Houston

6.5%

University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez

5.2%

Texas A&M University

5.2%

Oklahoma State University

5.2%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.8%

North Carolina State University

4.3%

Purdue University Calumet

4.3%

Clemson University

4.3%

University of Cincinnati

3.9%

Lamar University

3.9%

Carnegie Mellon University

3.9%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

3.9%

Michigan Technological University

3.5%

University of Akron

3.5%

University of Pittsburgh -

3.5%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.5%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

20.9%

Chemical Engineering

20.3%

Business

12.2%

Mechanical Engineering

9.7%

Electrical Engineering Technology

5.1%

Industrial Engineering

3.7%

Industrial Technology

3.4%

Computer Science

3.0%

Engineering

2.9%

Computer Engineering

2.5%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.3%

Management

2.0%

Chemistry

2.0%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.7%

Manufacturing Engineering

1.6%

Computer Information Systems

1.6%

Project Management

1.5%

Electromechanical Instrumentation And Maintenance Technologies/Technicians

1.4%

Engineering Technology

1.2%

Mechatronics And Robotics

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

50.5%

Masters

27.8%

Other

10.5%

Associate

6.9%

Doctorate

2.5%

Certificate

1.5%

Diploma

0.3%
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Top Process Control Engineer Employers

Jobs From Top Process Control Engineer Employers

Process Control Engineer Videos

Mod-01 Lec-01 Lecture-01-Introduction to Process Control

A Day in the Life of Jessica, Process Engineering Team Member at Suncor Energy

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Updated May 19, 2020