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What does an Engineering Technologist do?

By Andy Josiah
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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An engineering technologist is a professional trained to implement technology in the engineering field. This usually involves combining the basic principles of mathematics, natural sciences, and economics with current engineering standards. Engineering technology is used to test efficiency, improve design and solve problems relating to engineering and manufacturing. Another term used for "engineering technologist" is "applied science technologist," named after the category of science under which engineering technology falls.

Someone in this field usually works under a scientist or engineer. The workplace could be a manufacturing or industrial plant, a laboratory, a construction site, or the research and development (R&D) department of a company. Depending on the manner of work, the person may be exposed to harmful agents such as chemicals or toxins. Such instances are rare, however, and harm can be avoided upon following proper procedures.

The general duties include conducting tests and recording the results, collecting data, and using computer-aided drafting to create technical drawings for product design. In some cases, the person may be called upon to develop and manufacture products. Tasks related to such an enterprise include implementing quality control and calculating production costs.

An engineering technologist typically works by specialization. For instance, aerospace engineering technologists are responsible for operating and maintaining tools used to test aircraft and spacecrafts; such equipment may include wind tunnels, structures into which air is blown to test the effect on airplanes. Another specialty is civil engineering technology, which involves assisting civil engineers in creating structures such as buildings, dams, highways, and bridges. Other specializations include aerospace, environmental, industrial, and mechanical engineering technology.

Some specializations for the field overlap. For example, electrical and electronics engineering technologists help in the design, development, testing and manufacturing of a variety of electronic products, from digital music players to desktop computers. Electro-mechanical technologists also perform these tasks, but they have a narrower concentration. They are specifically associated with electronic and computer-controlled mechanical systems such as robotic assembly machines.

An engineering technologist needs at least a bachelor's degree in applied science in engineering technology from a four-year college or university to enter the field. Although the term "engineering technologist" is sometimes confused with the term "engineering technician," the latter requires only an associate's degree. In fact, in some workplaces, this person supervises a team of engineering technicians in carrying out certain tasks. Some engineering technicians do manage to acquire skills from training programs at the workplace or rack up years of experience to eventually become engineering technologists.

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