What Are the Education Requirements for an Engineering Design Career?

For students who enjoy designing and implementing solutions to difficult problems, a career in engineering design may be a good option. Some possible specialities include mechanical, electrical and civil design engineering. Read on for details regarding the education requirements for this field. Schools offering Building Information Modeling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Workers who are involved in architectural, mechanical and electrical engineering rely upon design engineers to invent and implement workable solutions to a wide range of design problems. Design engineers usually oversee a team of drafters, delegating the drafting of the sub-systems involved with a particular design. Many of these professionals hold an advanced degree and have several years of drafting and engineering experience. Below there are a few possible positions in engineering design and the education required for each one. It is important to note that educational requirements may vary by company.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Key Skills Problem-solving and mechanical skills; creativity, initiative
Work Environment Various locations, including construction sites and offices
Licensure Licensing is often necessary but requirements vary by state
Similar Occupations Architects, environmental engineers, construction managers

Mechanical Design Engineer

Mechanical design engineers typically work with complex design solutions during the production and manufacture of products. An employee working in this capacity would ideally have a bachelor's degree or higher in an engineering field and several years of experience. Mechanical design engineers must also be comfortable using computer aided design (CAD) software, because much of their work involves online design and drafting.

Electrical Design Engineer

Electrical design engineers are responsible for a variety of tasks related to the design and implementation of electrical systems. Such employees may work on large scale projects, such as power transmission systems. They may also be involved in the wiring and lighting of skyscrapers and other construction projects. Many positions require only a bachelor's degree in the field and approximately four years of relevant work experience. The complexity of design assignments typically increases as design engineers gain more experience.

Civil Design Engineer

Civil design engineers often work in construction, although they can also find work in education and research. They specialize in large projects and may design bridges, roads, airports, water supply systems and tunnels. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that civil engineers in general hold at least a bachelor's degree and that licensure and a master's degree are common requirements for higher-level jobs (www.bls.gov). You can also expect to need significant experience to work in a senior position.

Professional Certification

Also of note is the fact that many engineering design positions require professional engineering certification. Completion of a bachelor's degree program usually serves as the primary portion of the certification requirement. A certain amount of work experience and other requirements, depending on the organization, are necessary to become certified. In some cases, certification may be required by employers for certain positions.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the BLS, engineer employment in general was expected to rise eight percent from 2016 to 2026. Both mechanical and electrical engineers could expect a growth of nine percent, over the 2016-2026 decade. Civil engineers can expect to see faster-than-average growth of eleven percent during this time.

PayScale.com reported salaries for design engineers in August 2018. The median wage for design engineers in general was $66,639. Electrical design engineers earned a median salary of $72,463, while mechanical design engineers earned a median wage of $68,816. This source didn't list a salary for civil design engineers, but the BLS reported a median wage of $86,640 for civil engineers in general as of May 2018.

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