An engineering technician is a specialist who is trained in the skills and techniques related to a specific branch of engineering, with relatively practical understanding of the general engineering concepts. Engineering technicians often assist engineers and technologists in projects and research and development.
The Dublin Accord was signed in 2002 as an international agreement for the recognition of engineering technician qualifications. The Dublin Accord is analogous to the Washington Accord for engineers and the Sydney Accord for engineering technologists.
Nature of work
Engineering technicians solve technical problems. They build or set up equipment, conduct experiments, and collect data and calculate results. They might also help to make a model of new equipment. Some technicians work in quality control, where they check products, do tests, and collect data. In manufacturing, they help to design and develop products. They also find ways to produce things efficiently.There are multiple fields in this job such as; software design, repair, etc. They may also be persons who produce technical drawings or engineering drawings.
Technical engineering degrees are generally offered by universities and non-university higher education institutions like technical colleges, technical institutes, industrial schools, and community colleges. University institutions having 4-year programs usually do not offer technical engineering training, but undergraduate courses in science and engineering, are useful for obtaining a job as an engineering technician. Many 3 and 4-year colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in engineering technology, but graduates of these programs often are hired to work as technologists or applied engineering assistants after further studies, not technicians. In some countries, there were vocational education schools that may have also conferred the title without awarding any degrees.
Both Portugal and Spain use the title of engenharia técnica/ingeniería técnica, literally "technical engineering", for the professionals who were awarded a short-cycle 2- to 4-year undergraduate degree (associate degree or bachelor's degree) in a technical engineering field by colleges or technical engineering institutes in the case of Portugal, and universities in Spain. Spanish "technical engineers" have full competency in their respective professional field of engineering, being the difference that the three year Engineers have competence only in their speciality (Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical, etc.)and the "Engineering Superior School" Engineers have wider competences.
In the United States, the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) grants 2-year associate program degrees to students that meet a set of specified standards. These programs include at least a college algebra and trigonometry course and, if needed, one or two basic science courses at any accredited school. The number of math and science prerequisite courses depends on the branch of engineering that the student chooses.
Engineering technicians are neither chartered engineers nor professional engineers, and are usually allowed to perform a limited number of well defined tasks in engineering and industry. Engineering technicians apply scientific and engineering skills usually gained in postsecondary programs below the bachelor's degree level or through short-cycle bachelor's degrees. However, some university institutions award undergraduate degrees in the field of engineering which may confer the title of Engineering technician to the student, who is, however, eligible to become a full chartered engineer after further studies at the masters degree level. Engineering technicians are called professional engineers in the UK only.
In Canada, the term certified engineering technician is protected by legislation and can only be used by technicians certified by provincial member organizations of the Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists, such as the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists and the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta.
The term engineer is not protected in the UK, however those holding EngTech accreditation can be employed as Engineers, providing they have the additional experience/qualifications.
It is more acceptable to reserve the title 'Engineer' until you can fulfil the criteria required by the Engineering Council UK for Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng) status - A Batchelors Degree and additional field experience, as well as a nominated sponsor who can verify your claims is the most common method for IEng/CEng accreditation.
This procedure helps reduce the saturation of the term 'Engineer', a concern to many who have completed years of under-gradaute and post-graduate study and often work as 'Junior Support Engineers' for a number of years after graduation before being able to confidently state their profession.
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- List of tasks and requirements for mechanical engineering technicians
- Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) UK
- The Engineering Technician Forum on LinkedIn