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How do I Become an Engineering Assistant?

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  • Written By: Vicki Hogue-Davies
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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Engineering assistants are employed by organizations that perform work in civil, aerospace, environmental and other engineering disciplines. There are a wide range of duties performed by engineering assistants, depending upon the industry and the hiring organization. At some companies, engineering assistants support engineers by performing clerical and administrative duties, and at other companies, engineering assistants perform sub-engineering or basic engineering work. Typically, at least a high school diploma is required to become an engineering assistant, and depending upon the specific duties involved, a college degree also might be required. A two-year degree in an engineering or related technical field often is desired, and some employers will hire engineering assistants with four-year degrees in non-technical fields.

You can begin preparing for a job as an engineering assistant while you are in high school. Taking computer courses and any scientific or engineering courses offered will be valuable. Taking advanced math classes will help develop your engineering skills. Getting involved in engineering organizations offered to students, such as Future Engineers and Scientists of America if you live in the United States, for example, might also give your résumé the edge when you are applying for engineering assistant positions.

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If you know what industry you would like to work in, familiarizing yourself with that industry is helpful. For example, if you are interested in supporting engineers who design and build bridges, read publications about heavy highway construction and visit websites about the industry to familiarize yourself with the terminology and processes. Contact civil engineering organizations in your area and ask about possible educational opportunities for young people.

Generally, to become an engineering assistant in any industry or capacity, you will need strong computer skills. Knowing word processing, spreadsheet, database, scheduling and other software can be important. For higher level and more technical engineering assistant roles, knowledge of computer-aided design or drafting software might be needed.

Having strong coordination and organizational skills is necessary to become an engineering assistant. People in this role often are called on to track metrics, to coordinate the production of reports and documents, to establish technical libraries and to perform other tasks that require good organizational skills. Having strong writing skills and personal communication skills is necessary to effectively communicate with others on engineering project teams. Analytical skills and problem-solving ability also are important if you want to become an engineering assistant. Other requirements for the job might involve having a valid driver’s license to visit job sites or the ability to obtain a security clearance if you want to work for an engineering organization that performs government contracting work.

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