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Become A Research And Development Engineer

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Working As A Research And Development Engineer

  • $85,581

    Average Salary

What Does A Research And Development Engineer Do

Health and safety engineers develop procedures and design systems to prevent people from getting sick or injured and to keep property from being damaged. They combine knowledge of systems engineering and of health or safety to make sure that chemicals, machinery, software, furniture, and other consumer products will not cause harm to people or damage to buildings.

Duties

Health and safety engineers typically do the following:

  • Review plans and specifications for new machinery and equipment to make sure they meet safety requirements
  • Identify and correct potential hazards by inspecting facilities, machinery, and safety equipment
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of various industrial control mechanisms
  • Ensure that buildings or products comply with health and safety regulations, especially after an inspection that required changes
  • Install safety devices on machinery or direct the installation of these devices
  • Review employee safety programs and recommend improvements
  • Maintain and apply knowledge of current policies, regulations, and industrial processes

Health and safety engineers also investigate industrial accidents, injuries, or occupational diseases to determine their causes and to determine whether the incidents could have been or can be prevented in the future. They interview employers and employees to learn about work environments and incidents that lead to accidents or injuries. They also evaluate the corrections that were made to remedy violations found during health inspections.

Health and safety engineers are also active in two related fields: industrial hygiene and occupational hygiene. In industrial hygiene, they focus on the effects of chemical, physical, and biological agents. They recognize, evaluate, and control these agents to keep people from becoming sick or injured. For example, they might anticipate that a particular manufacturing process will give off a potentially harmful chemical and recommend either a change to the process or a way to contain and control the chemical.

In occupational hygiene, health and safety engineers investigate the environment in which people work, and then use science and engineering to recommend changes to keep workers from being exposed to sickness or injuries. They help employers and employees understand risks, and improve working conditions and practices. For example, they might observe that the noise level in a factory is likely to cause harm to workers’ hearing and recommend ways to reduce the noise level through changes to the building or reducing exposure time, or by having workers wear proper hearing protection.

Health and safety engineering is a broad field covering many activities. The following are examples of types of health and safety engineers:

Aerospace safety engineers work on missiles, radars, and satellites to make sure that they function safely as designed.

Fire prevention and protection engineers design fire prevention systems for all kinds of buildings. They often work for architects during the design phase of new buildings or renovations. They must be licensed and must keep up with changes in fire codes and regulations.

Product safety engineers investigate the causes of accidents or injuries that might have resulted from the use or misuse of a product. They create solutions that reduce or eliminate safety issues associated with products. They also help design new products to prevent injuries, illnesses, or property damage.

Systems safety engineers work in many fields, including aerospace, and are moving into new fields, such as software safety, medical safety, and environmental safety. These engineers take a systemic approach to identify hazards so that accidents and injuries can be avoided.

For information on health and safety engineers who work in mines, see the profile on mining and geological engineers.

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How To Become A Research And Development Engineer

Health and safety engineers must have a bachelor’s degree, typically in an engineering discipline such as electrical, chemical, mechanical, industrial, or systems engineering. Another acceptable field of study is occupational or industrial hygiene. Employers value practical experience, so cooperative-education engineering programs at universities are valuable as well.

Education

High school students interested in becoming health and safety engineers will benefit from taking high school courses in math and science, such as algebra, trigonometry, calculus, biology, chemistry, and physics.

Entry-level jobs as a health and safety engineer require a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs typically are 4-year programs and include classroom, laboratory, and field studies in applied engineering. Students interested in becoming a health and safety engineer should seek out coursework in occupational safety and health, industrial hygiene, ergonomics, or environmental safety. In addition, programs in mechanical, electrical, and industrial engineering, programs in systems engineering and fire protection engineering constitute good preparation for this occupation. ABET accredits programs in engineering.

Students interested in entering the relatively new field of software safety engineering may pursue a degree in computer science.

Many colleges and universities offer cooperative-education programs, which allow students to gain practical experience while completing their education.

A few colleges and universities offer 5-year accelerated programs through which students graduate with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. A master’s degree allows engineers to enter the occupation at a higher level, where they can develop and implement safety systems.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Health and safety engineers produce designs showing potential problems and remedies for them. They must be creative to deal with situations unique to a project.

Critical-thinking skills. Health and safety engineers must be able to identify hazards to humans and property in the workplace or in the home before they cause material damage or become a health threat.

Observational skills. Health and safety engineers must observe and learn how operations function so that they can identify risks to people and property. This requires the ability to think in terms of overall processes within an organization. Health and safety engineers can then recommend systemic changes to minimize risks.

Problem-solving skills. In designing solutions for entire organizational operations, health and safety engineers must take into account processes from more than one system at the same time. In addition, they must try to anticipate a range of human reactions to the changes they recommend.

Reading skills. Health and safety engineers must be able to interpret federal and state regulations and their intent so that they can propose proper designs for specific work environments.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as a health and safety 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.

Only a few states require health and safety engineers to be licensed. Licensure is generally advised for those opting for a career in systems safety engineering. States requiring licensure usually require continuing education for engineers in order to keep their license. Most states recognize licensure from other states, if the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements.

Health and safety engineers typically have professional certification. Certifications include the following:

  • The Board of Certified Safety Professionals offers the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification, the Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST), and a new certification called the Associate Safety Professional (ASP)
  • The American Board of Industrial Hygiene awards a certification known as a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH)
  • The American Society of Safety Engineers offers a Certificate in Safety Management (CSM)
  • The International Council on Systems Engineering offers a program leading to a designation as a Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP)

Certification is generally needed to advance into management positions.

Advancement

New health and safety engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. To move to more difficult projects with greater independence, a graduate degree is generally required, such as a master’s degree in engineering or a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.

An advanced degree allows an engineer to develop and implement safety programs. Certification as a safety professional or as an industrial hygienist is generally required for entry into management positions. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

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Research And Development Engineer jobs

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Research And Development Engineer Career Paths

Research And Development Engineer
Software Engineer Systems Engineer Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Director Of Manufacturing Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Process Engineer Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Process Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Operations Manager Account Executive
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Project Manager Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Quality Engineer Quality Assurance Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Business Analyst Product Manager
Product Line Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Product Management Director
12 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Analyst Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Engineering Manager Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Senior Software Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Product Engineer Product Development Engineer Product Developer
Senior Manager, Product Development
10 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager General Manager
Vice President & General Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Engineering Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Product Engineer Project Engineer Plant Manager
Vice President Of Manufacturing
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Product Manager Director Of Product Development
Vice President Product Development
12 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Program Manager Business Developer
Vice President, Business Development
13 Yearsyrs
Application Engineer Product Manager Product Management Director
Vice President-Products
13 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Staff Engineer 4.3 years
Product Engineer 3.6 years
Packaging Engineer 3.5 years
Process Engineer 3.5 years
Design Engineer 3.4 years
Project Engineer 3.4 years
Engineer 3.2 years
Research Engineer 2.9 years
Junior Engineer 2.1 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 6.2%
Engineer 4.7%
Top Employers After
Consultant 5.4%
Engineer 4.7%

Research And Development Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

78.4%

Female

14.1%

Unknown

7.5%
Ethnicity

White

61.7%

Asian

24.7%

Hispanic or Latino

8.7%

Unknown

3.9%

Black or African American

0.9%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

24.1%

Chinese

13.8%

Mandarin

11.8%

French

10.7%

Japanese

8.0%

German

6.0%

Russian

4.0%

Italian

3.3%

Portuguese

2.9%

Korean

2.2%

Cantonese

2.2%

Hindi

1.8%

Arabic

1.8%

Vietnamese

1.6%

Turkish

1.1%

Carrier

1.1%

Polish

1.1%

Persian

0.9%

Hebrew

0.9%

Gujarati

0.7%
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Research And Development Engineer Education

Schools

Northeastern University

10.6%

Pennsylvania State University

6.8%

San Jose State University

6.6%

Drexel University

6.3%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

5.8%

Purdue University

5.5%

Arizona State University

5.0%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.9%

Stanford University

4.5%

University of Southern California

4.5%

Texas A&M University

4.1%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.1%

North Carolina State University

4.0%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

4.0%

University of Florida

3.9%

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

3.9%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

3.9%

University of Phoenix

3.9%

University of California - Berkeley

3.8%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.8%
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Majors

Mechanical Engineering

25.2%

Electrical Engineering

18.6%

Chemical Engineering

9.1%

Business

7.1%

Computer Science

5.6%

Biomedical Engineering

5.5%

Computer Engineering

4.3%

Engineering

3.3%

Materials Science And Engineering

2.8%

Physics

2.7%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.2%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.9%

Chemistry

1.8%

Management

1.6%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.5%

Project Management

1.5%

Industrial Technology

1.4%

Finance

1.4%

Industrial Engineering

1.3%

Drafting And Design

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.6%

Masters

34.9%

Doctorate

11.6%

Other

9.7%

Associate

3.7%

Certificate

2.2%

Diploma

0.3%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Research And Development Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
R & D Mechanical Engineer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Mar 09, 2016 $210,700
R&D Engineer IC Design 6 Broadcom Corporation San Jose, CA Jul 09, 2016 $176,027
R&D Engineer IC Design 5 Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA Oct 10, 2016 $174,861
R&D Engineer Software VI Broadcom Corporation Santa Clara, CA Dec 09, 2016 $174,157
R&D Engineer IC Design VI Broadcom Corporation Santa Clara, CA Dec 09, 2016 $174,157
R&D Engineer Applications 6 Broadcom Corporation San Jose, CA Jul 09, 2016 $173,399
R&D Engineer IC Design LSI Corporation, An Avago Technologies Company San Jose, CA Dec 14, 2016 $171,939
R&D Engineer IC Design 6 Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA Jul 09, 2016 $168,164
R&D Engineer IC Design 6 Broadcom Corporation San Diego, CA Jul 09, 2016 $166,146
R&D Engineer IC Design 6 Broadcom Corporation San Diego, CA Sep 18, 2016 $160,423
R&D Engineer, IC Design 5 Broadcom Corporation Santa Clara, CA Jul 22, 2016 $160,000
R&D Engineer Avago Technologies San Jose, CA Jan 29, 2015 $160,000
Principal R&D Network Engineer Boingo Wireless, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jan 04, 2016 $160,000
R&D Engineer IC Design 6 Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA Sep 16, 2016 $159,308
R&D Electrical Engineer Systran Software Inc. San Diego, CA Jul 14, 2016 $111,925
Staff Research Engineer/Corp R&D Wireless Protocol Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. San Diego, CA Jun 27, 2015 $111,800 -
$167,800
Lead R&D Engineer Eon Reality, Inc. Irvine, CA May 05, 2016 $111,550
R&D Engineer Synopsys, Inc. Mountain View, CA Feb 26, 2015 $111,543 -
$186,543
Advanced Packaging R&D Die Stacking and Die Attach Engineer Micron Technology, Inc. Boise, ID Oct 01, 2015 $111,138
Advanced Packaging R&D Die Stacking and Die Attach Engineer Micron Technology, Inc. Boise, ID May 20, 2016 $111,138
R&D Engineer IC Design IV Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA Sep 09, 2016 $111,049
Research Engineer/Software Developer Total E&P USA, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 05, 2015 $110,926 -
$150,000
Leading R&D Processing Engineer CBM International Inc. Houston, TX Jun 28, 2016 $91,270
R&D Engineer Medtronic, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Aug 16, 2015 $91,000
Research and Development Engineer Outotec (USA), Inc. Strongsville, OH Sep 27, 2015 $91,000
R&D Engineer IC Design 3 LSI Corporation, An Avago Technologies Company Mendota Heights, MN May 09, 2016 $90,958
R&D Engineer IC Design 3 LSI Corporation, An Avago Technologies Company Longmont, CO Jul 01, 2015 $90,896
R&D Engineer Firmware 4 LSI Corporation, An Avago Technologies Company Norcross, GA Oct 01, 2015 $90,834 -
$122,887
R&D Compiler Engineer Synopsys, Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 01, 2015 $90,780 -
$165,780
R&D Engineer Test 2 Broadcom Corporation Sunnyvale, CA Jan 08, 2016 $90,740

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Top Skills for A Research And Development Engineer

NewProductDevelopmentRPrototypeLabTestProceduresMedicalDevicesHardwareCADSafetyLaboratorySolidworksProductLineFDAISOTechnicalSupportRegulatoryProjectManagementPCBC/C++ProductDesign

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Top Research And Development Engineer Skills

  1. New Product Development
  2. R
  3. Prototype
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed new product development projects while using design for Six Sigma tools.
  • Worked with manufacturing and design teams to develop Quality Plans to ensure product acceptability.
  • Developed new prototype next generation cardiac detection algorithms that increased sensitivity and speci-ficity while improving algorithm execution time by over 100X.
  • Generated written documentation of lab reports to document testing procedures and results.
  • Developed test procedures used in factories, and monitored manufacturing quality.

Top Research And Development Engineer Employers

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