Controls Engineer

Most automation/controls engineers earn their bachelor’s degrees in mechanical, electrical, industrial or chemical engineering and then expand their understanding of automation engineering on the job. Mechanical, electrical, industrial,and chemical engineering courses include robotics, statistics, fluid dynamics and databases. Some automation engineers pursue master’s degrees in related fields.

There are a large number of highly qualified controls engineers who have an associate or trade school degree, supplemented with great factory and on the job training and are as proficient as many with more advanced degrees.

Alternate Titles: Controls Engineer, Process Control Engineer, Instrument & Controls Engineer, Systems Engineer, Automation Systems Engineer, Manufacturing Automation Engineer, Instrumentation & Electrical Engineer.

Required Skills

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that automation engineers must have the following qualities:
Solid understanding of computer programming and software development
Ability to troubleshoot equipment problems and perform complex system tests
Creative thinking skills
Detail-oriented personality
Excellent manual dexterity
Ability to communicate well to other members of the development team

Employment and Salary Outlook

US manufacturing is increasingly moving toward automated processes to reduce the amount of labor needed. Thus, automation engineers are expected to have good job prospects in the coming years. Job growth for mechanical engineers, a closely related field, was predicted at 5% for 2014-2024. The average annual salary for automation engineers is $106,629, according to a recent survey by