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Become A Senior Controls Engineer

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Working As A Senior 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

  • $86,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior 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 Senior 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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Senior Controls Engineer Career Paths

Senior Controls Engineer
Controller
Accounting Director
11 Yearsyrs
Controller Project Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Controller Finance Controller Finance Manager
Senior Finance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Assistant Controller Finance Director Vice President
Vice President Product Development
13 Yearsyrs
Assistant Controller
Finance Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Assistant Controller Projects Controller
Controls Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Engineer Senior Systems Engineer
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Senior System Administrator
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Engineer Principal Engineer Engineering Manager
Director Of Manufacturing Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Accounting Manager Owner/Operator Construction Manager
Commissioning Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Accounting Manager Owner/Manager Team Manager
Group Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Accounting Manager Purchasing Manager Manufacturing Manager
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Engineering Operations Manager
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Construction Manager Quality Control Manager
Controls Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Senior Applications Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program/Project Manager
Custom Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Quality Assurance Lead Test Manager
Director Of Testing
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Automation Engineer Senior Project Engineer Project Lead Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Operations Program Manager
Global Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Senior Controls Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Controls Engineer 3.4 years
Top Careers Before Senior Controls Engineer
Controller 13.3%
Engineer 3.6%
Accountant 2.6%
Top Careers After Senior Controls Engineer
Controller 8.2%
Consultant 5.7%
Engineer 2.9%

Do you work as a Senior Controls Engineer?

Senior Controls Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

75.9%

Female

14.6%

Unknown

9.5%
Ethnicity

White

60.1%

Hispanic or Latino

14.1%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

10.0%

Unknown

4.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

28.6%

German

11.9%

French

9.5%

Arabic

9.5%

Korean

9.5%

Russian

7.1%

Chinese

4.8%

Carrier

4.8%

Tagalog

4.8%

Japanese

2.4%

Burmese

2.4%

Cebuano

2.4%

Italian

2.4%
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Senior Controls Engineer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.5%

Community College of the Air Force

10.2%

Purdue University

8.2%

Pennsylvania State University

5.3%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.3%

American University

5.3%

University of Houston

4.9%

University of Texas at Austin

4.5%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

4.1%

Michigan Technological University

3.7%

Wayne State University

3.7%

Michigan State University

3.7%

University of Cincinnati

3.7%

Texas A&M University

3.7%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.7%

University of Maryland - University College

3.3%

Georgia State University

3.3%

University of Missouri - Columbia

3.3%

Central Texas College

3.3%

Oklahoma State University

3.3%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

26.4%

Business

19.3%

Accounting

13.6%

Mechanical Engineering

5.3%

Electrical Engineering Technology

5.1%

Finance

4.9%

Management

3.3%

Computer Science

2.8%

Chemical Engineering

2.6%

Project Management

2.1%

Computer Information Systems

2.1%

Information Technology

2.0%

Engineering

2.0%

Computer Engineering

1.7%

General Studies

1.3%

Marketing

1.3%

Industrial Technology

1.1%

Criminal Justice

1.1%

Mechatronics And Robotics

1.0%

Homeland Security

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.2%

Masters

26.2%

Other

14.0%

Associate

7.6%

Doctorate

2.6%

Certificate

2.4%

Diploma

1.0%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$86,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$62,000
Min 10%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$118,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
Redwood City, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
4.0 years
How much does a Senior Controls Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Senior Controls Engineer in the United States is $86,093 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $62,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $118,000.

Real Senior Controls Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
SR. Scada and Controls Engineer Tesla Motors, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Feb 05, 2016 $135,000 -
$145,000
Senior Powertrain Controls Engineer Atieva, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Sep 28, 2016 $132,000
SR. Chassis Controls Engineer Tesla Motors, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Mar 14, 2016 $130,000 -
$140,000
Senior Controls Engineer Achates Power, Inc. San Diego, CA Feb 25, 2016 $127,000
Senior Controls Engineer Magna Powertrain of America, Inc. Troy, MI Jul 20, 2015 $126,520
Senior Rotordynamics & Controls Engineer Calnetix Technologies, LLC Cerritos, CA Feb 15, 2016 $125,186
SR. Autonomous Controls Engineer Nextev LLC San Jose, CA Nov 14, 2016 $125,000
SR. Controls Engineer, Autopilot Tesla Motors, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Sep 01, 2015 $122,000 -
$140,000
Senior Controls Engineer Tesla Motors, Inc. Fremont, CA Jan 25, 2016 $120,000 -
$130,000
Senior Protection and Control Engineer Substation Engineering Company, Inc. Reading, PA Sep 28, 2016 $120,000
Staff Power Electronics Control Engineer (Senior) Enphase Energy, Inc. Petaluma, CA Aug 27, 2015 $118,600 -
$178,000
Pressure Control NPI Senior Engineer General Electric Company Houston, TX Apr 29, 2016 $118,560
Senior Fluid Power & Controls Engineer T&T Engineering Services, Inc. Tomball, TX Sep 21, 2015 $118,414
Senior Controls Engineer Wunderlich-Malec Engineering Inc. TX Jul 19, 2016 $107,411 -
$125,000
Senior Engineer, Ground Control Peabody Investments Corp. Saint Louis, MO Aug 05, 2015 $107,100
Senior Controls Engineer Cymer LLC San Diego, CA Aug 22, 2016 $106,405 -
$142,900
Senior Engineer-Controls Engineering/Mes Leprino Foods Company Denver, CO Nov 14, 2016 $105,000
Senior Controls Engineer American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. Detroit, MI Jan 12, 2015 $105,000
SR. Controls Engineer Tesla Motors, Inc. Fremont, CA Aug 31, 2016 $103,000 -
$113,000
Senior Controls Engineer Puratos Corporation Pennsauken, NJ Sep 17, 2016 $102,752
Senior Controls Scientist/Research Engineer Corning Incorporated Corning, NY Mar 09, 2016 $92,186
Senior Controls Equipment Engineer Cymer LLC San Diego, CA Jun 20, 2016 $90,236 -
$117,600
Senior Controls Engineer L2F Inc. Fremont, CA Sep 08, 2015 $90,100 -
$100,000
Senior Controls Engineer Hospira, Inc. Austin, TX Mar 16, 2015 $90,000
Senior Controls Project Engineer Spectrum Engineering Solutions Warren, MI Mar 04, 2015 $88,296
SR Engineer-Perf/Sim/App Gas/Dual Fuel Controls DEV Caterpillar Inc. Rossville, IL Feb 24, 2016 $87,216 -
$130,812
Senior Controls Engineer Automated Building Management Systems, Inc. Floral Park, NY Jan 11, 2016 $87,000
Senior Controls Engineer ABB Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Aug 29, 2016 $85,812 -
$133,200

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Top Skills for A Senior Controls Engineer

  1. Controllogix
  2. Control Systems
  3. Financial Statements
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Modified electrical schematics and converted PLC-5 controls over to ControlLogix platform.
  • Develop new embedded control systems used in toxic and hazardous gas delivery for semiconductor manufacturing.
  • Prepared all financial statements, budgets and performed variance and business analysis in order to maximize profitability.
  • Maintain the PLC's and HMI's via online programming and updates as per the costumers needs.
  • Complete month-end closing procedures utilizing JD Edwards and Online Document Management systems and resolve inaccurate expenses.

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Top 10 Best States for Senior Controls Engineers

  1. California
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Maryland
  4. Texas
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Virginia
  7. New Hampshire
  8. Alabama
  9. Michigan
  10. Rhode Island
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  • (829 jobs)
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  • (53 jobs)

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