Career Development

What Does an Engineering Lab Technician Do?

Find out what an engineering lab technician does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an engineering lab technician.

Engineering lab technicians are responsible for performing a wide range of tasks in support of engineering projects. They commonly work with engineers, scientists, and other professionals to ensure that all aspects of an engineering project proceed smoothly from start to finish.

As such, they may be tasked with everything from setting up equipment and instruments to collecting data and analyzing results. Engineering lab technicians also commonly provide technical support to the engineers and scientists who use their services; this might include answering questions about how to best use the equipment or providing assistance when there’s an issue with it.

Engineering Lab Technician Job Duties

Engineering lab technicians have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Performing quality control tests on materials to ensure they meet specifications during production or construction
  • Preparing work orders for materials needed for projects such as ordering new machinery or resupplying chemicals or other materials
  • Recording data about experiments for use in reports, proposals, or patents
  • Operating laboratory equipment such as oscilloscopes, spectrometers, chromatographs, flow meters, and mass spectrometers
  • Performing chemical reactions and other experiments to test hypotheses or create new products
  • Monitoring equipment for malfunctions and making repairs when necessary
  • Inspecting equipment for damage such as cracks in welds or leaks in pipes
  • Interpreting test results using scientific methodologies and engineering principles to identify problems and suggest solutions
  • Operating computers and other office equipment such as copy machines and printers

Engineering Lab Technician Salary & Outlook

Engineering lab technicians’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of overtime.

  • Median Annual Salary: $52,500 ($25.24/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $87,500 ($42.07/hour)

The employment of engineering lab technicians is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Employment growth will be driven by the increasing complexity of engineering projects and the need for testing and analysis of new products and processes. However, automation may limit the number of engineering lab technician jobs because some tasks currently performed by these workers can now be done more efficiently by machines.

Related: Engineering Lab Technician Interview Questions and Answers

Engineering Lab Technician Job Requirements

A position as an engineering lab technician may require the following:

Education: Most employers require engineering lab technicians to have a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field, such as chemistry, biology or engineering. Some of the coursework that these programs include is organic chemistry, thermodynamics, calculus, biology and physics.

Training & Experience: Engineering lab technicians receive most of their training on the job. They may work under the supervision of a senior technician or engineer until they are comfortable enough to work on their own.

Certifications & Licenses: While certifications are generally optional, some employers may require them, so engineering lab technicians should consider getting them to improve their career prospects.

Engineering Lab Technician Skills

Engineering lab technicians need the following skills in order to be successful:

Attention to detail: Lab technicians need to have excellent attention to detail to ensure they perform their duties correctly. They need to be precise when recording data, entering information into a computer and labeling samples. Attention to detail is also important when following safety protocols to ensure they don’t harm themselves or others.

Communication skills: Lab technicians must be able to communicate with their coworkers and supervisors. They must also be able to explain their work to others, such as clients or patients. Effective communication skills can help you to work more efficiently and to build stronger relationships with others.

Computer knowledge: Computer knowledge is a necessary skill for engineering lab technicians. They use computers to record data, analyze data and create reports. Lab technicians should have basic computer skills, such as knowing how to use a mouse and keyboard, how to navigate a computer system and how to use software programs.

Problem-solving skills: Lab technicians solve problems every day, and their ability to do so can affect their success in the field. Being able to identify and understand issues, then develop and implement solutions can help you advance in your career as an engineering lab technician.

Scientific aptitude: A strong aptitude for science and math can help you learn the skills you need to perform your job duties as an engineering lab technician. Lab technicians use scientific methods to conduct experiments and record data, so having a strong aptitude for science can help you learn the skills you need to do your job well.

Engineering Lab Technician Work Environment

Engineering lab technicians work in well-lit, ventilated areas. They work with a variety of tools and equipment, including computers, microscopes, and measuring devices. They may be exposed to fumes, dust, and loud noise from machinery. They may work in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time. They may work with dangerous chemicals and materials. They may work with hazardous equipment. They may be required to wear protective clothing, such as gloves, goggles, and earplugs. They may work in cramped quarters. They may work in hot or cold environments. They may work in high places. They may work outdoors in inclement weather. They may be required to travel to different work sites.

Engineering Lab Technician Trends

Here are three trends influencing how engineering lab technicians work. Engineering lab technicians will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Diversity in the Workplace

The engineering industry is facing a major diversity problem. According to data from the National Society of Black Engineers, only 2% of all engineers are black, and only 5% are women. This lack of diversity can have a negative impact on the products that are developed, as they may not reflect the needs of a diverse customer base.

To address this issue, engineering labs will need to focus on recruiting and retaining more diverse employees. This can be done by promoting diversity within the company and providing training and support for employees who want to pursue careers in engineering.

More Focus on Cybersecurity

As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology, the need for cybersecurity professionals has grown. Engineering lab technicians play a critical role in ensuring that the products that they develop are safe and secure for use by customers.

By focusing on cybersecurity, engineering lab technicians can ensure that their products are safe from hackers and other cyber threats. They can also help to educate other members of the team about how to protect themselves against cyberattacks.

A Greater Emphasis on Quality Control

As the world becomes more complex, the demand for quality control professionals has increased. This is because businesses now understand that poor quality control can lead to serious problems down the line, such as product recalls or lawsuits.

As a result, engineering lab technicians can expect to see an increase in demand for their services. They will need to be able to identify potential quality issues and come up with solutions to fix them before they become too big of a problem.

How to Become an Engineering Lab Technician

An engineering lab technician career can be a great way to get started in the engineering field. As an engineering lab technician, you’ll have the opportunity to work with a variety of different technologies and materials, which will give you a better understanding of how things work and how they can be improved. You’ll also learn about the importance of precision and accuracy when working with complex systems.

As you progress in your engineering lab technician career, you may want to specialize in a particular area of engineering. For example, you could focus on mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or civil engineering. This specialization will allow you to develop even more skills and knowledge in a specific area.

Advancement Prospects

Engineering lab technicians typically advance by taking on more responsibility in their lab or by moving into a management position. As they gain experience, they may also move into a position as a lead technician, where they would oversee the work of other technicians. In some cases, engineering lab technicians may also advance by becoming engineers. To become an engineer, technicians would need to complete a four-year engineering degree.

Engineering Lab Technician Job Description Example

As an engineering lab technician at [CompanyX], you will play a crucial role in the development and testing of new products. You will be responsible for setting up and conducting experiments, as well as recording and analyzing data. In addition, you will be responsible for maintaining the lab equipment and keeping accurate records of all experiments. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in engineering, as well as experience working in a lab setting. He or she must be able to work independently and be detail-oriented.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Assist engineers with a variety of tasks in the development, testing, and implementation phases of engineering projects
  • Help set up and operate laboratory equipment, as well as conduct experiments and tests
  • Record data from experiments and tests, often using computers
  • Perform routine maintenance on lab equipment
  • Help develop new experimental procedures
  • Assist in the design of prototypes
  • Conduct literature searches to find information related to specific projects
  • Help prepare reports and presentations
  • May be responsible for ordering supplies
  • Maintain cleanliness and organization in the lab
  • Adhere to all safety protocols
  • Follow instructions from engineers and other supervisors

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Associate’s degree in engineering technology or related field
  • 1-3 years experience in an engineering laboratory setting
  • Working knowledge of engineering software programs, including AutoCAD, Pro/E, and SolidWorks
  • Ability to use precision measuring tools, such as calipers, micrometers, and gauges
  • Familiarity with common engineering materials, processes, and standards
  • Excellent communication, problem-solving, and organizational skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering technology or related field
  • 3-5 years experience in an engineering laboratory setting
  • Certification from ASQ or similar organization
  • Working knowledge of statistical analysis software, such as Minitab
  • Experience developing and conducting engineering experiments

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