Process control engineering is the 8th most popular manufacturing job in eastern Ontario, according to data collected by the Eastern Ontario Manufacturing Workforce Development Project (or EOMWDP for short).With 65,000 people employed in eastern Ontario’s manufacturing sector and current job opportunities in engineering, process control engineers are in high demand. A four-year university degree is the required cost of entry, but this exciting profession will keep you learning for decades as technology and automation continue to advance.
What It Takes to Become a Process Control Engineer
If you are a natural-born problem solver who likes to work with large quantities of data as well as with people from different expertise areas, and you excel at math and science, then a career as a process control engineer would be perfect for you. The position requires someone who is technically minded, but able to communicate well and adapt to a fast-paced environment.
Process control engineers are responsible for creating or maintaining automation in industrial settings. They develop new manufacturing or chemical processes, and may even design the plants and equipment used. Process control engineers are also tasked with continuous improvement and optimization of processes within very diverse and cross-functional teams.
A process control engineer thrives in a challenging environment. They enjoy thinking on their feet, constantly learning about new machinery, and working hard to implement cutting-edge efficient technologies. If that sounds like you, here’s the education you will first need.
A process control engineer will, at a minimum, have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical, industrial, or chemical engineering. Depending on the industry and company, you may also be required to get your P.Eng., which is a designation from the Professional Engineers of Ontario. Many employers in the province will pay your yearly dues as an added bonus.
The average yearly salary for a process control engineer in Ontario is $75,500. Entry level positions start closer to the $50,000 mark on average, and with experience or additional training/graduate degrees, you could earn above $100,000.
How Automation Will Affect Process Control Engineers
According to the EOMWDP, there is a 77.5% chance that automation will affect a process control engineer’s job in the future. As technology advances and manufacturing embraces automation, many jobs will need to change in response. However, the process control engineers are the very experts who are in control of technology adoption and implementation.
The types of robots, machines, and programming that process control engineers plan for and implement will likely change, and that would require you to keep learning and stay current with updated technology. In essence, that’s what makes this career so exciting - your job evolves, keeping things fresh, and challenging. You will never be bored.
One way that you can continue to evolve with the workplace is by investing in additional software training that will improve your ability to optimize production. Simulation tools can now be used to determine the best processes for automated machinery. Numerical optimization techniques can also be helpful when embarking on continuous improvement projects in your manufacturing plant. If you’re still in university, consider signing up for these classes in your third- and fourth-year electives. If you’re already in the workforce, your employer (or future employer) will likely support you getting extra training.
In addition, think of how you can stay one step ahead, looking to the future and predicting how you can make your workplace better, which in turn secures your job even further. Consider training in life-cycle analysis, green technologies, or even energy efficiencies so that you can save the company money while reducing its environmental impact. Initiatives that save money and contribute to a better future make you a valuable employee and an active contributor to improving society for the future generations.
Job Opportunities as a Process Control Engineer
If this fast-paced, multi-dimensional, high-tech career sounds like the perfect fit for you, here’s how you can prepare for a career in manufacturing.