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What Does a Control Engineer Do?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 August 2014
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A control engineer has four areas of responsibility: supervising on-site engineers or engineering technologists, project management, working with clients, and providing advice. A control engineer must be a fully licensed, professional engineer. Control engineers are primarily used to review existing processes, provide advice, and assist with the planning and implementation of the system. This type of engineering is typically involved in projects in a production or manufacturing facility.

In order to become a professional engineer (P.Eng), all candidates must complete a university undergraduate degree in engineering. These programs are typically four to five years in length. The admission requirements to these programs include high school courses in calculus, physics, algebra, technology, and English. An engineering degree is typically more expensive than a bachelor of arts degree, as this is a professional designation program, resulting in greater wage-earning capacity upon graduation.

People who enjoy interacting with others, are natural leaders, and skilled engineers find this type of position rewarding. Interpersonal skills and oral communication are highly valued in this role. Project management is a large part of this job and planning skills are very important.

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Control engineers are required to supervise or manage teams of engineering technologists, engineers and other related professionals. The number of individuals and the breadth of areas they are responsible for vary by industry. Typically, the control engineer is called in to work with existing, on-site engineering staff. The ability to quickly create a team atmosphere, encourage collaboration, and share information is critical to success in this role.

Project management forms the primary focus of the control engineer’s work. In this role, he or she is responsible for project planning, creating time lines, organizing regular meetings, working with contractors and clients, and keeping the team on track. The type of project where a controlling engineer is required usually relates to the implementation of a process changing technology. He or she must work with the on-site staff, teaching them as the project progresses.

Interacting with the client is an important part of the role of control engineer. He or she is typically involved from the initial meeting, reviewing or creating the project design or specifications, and working with the on-site team. Regularly scheduled meetings are usually arranged by the control engineer, who sets the agenda and brings in team members as needed.

Knowledge transfer and active participation facilitation is central to the success of the control engineer. The ability to work well with a wide range of people, resolve problems quickly, and share information and experience with staff are important skills. Many control engineers find that additional courses in team building, effective communication, and mentoring can be very helpful in this role.

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