Young Engineers

13 Jobs in Engineering that Don’t Require a Degree

July 22, 2013

You don’t necessarily have to hold a Bachelor of Science in engineering to be employed by an engineering company and take part in many of the career benefits engineers enjoy.

Here are 13 jobs in engineering that don’t require a degree:


Software Engineering Jobs

Programmers are a broad subgroup within Software Engineering – a discipline that includes both jobs that require a bachelor’s degree (generally in computer science, computer engineering or software engineering) and those that don’t.

The software engineering positions that don’t require a college degree instead are looking for language-specific knowledge and work experience. Two such sub-categories include:

Web Development

Web developers are programmers who specialize in developing websites or web applications. Their core competencies include HTML, PHP, JavaScript, SQL, Python, and other programming languages. Generally speaking, the greater your experience and depth of expertise within one or more of these languages, the better your earning potential.

Example job & requirements: Front-End Engineer Architect

  • At least 5 years web development experience.
  • Write Javascript, both in its raw form and with common JS libraries.
  • Capable of translating high fidelity mockups and complex requirements into quality JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3 for SaaS web applications.
  • Comfortable with a highly iterative lean/agile methodology that includes providing time estimates and managing feedback loops.
  • Driven to rigorously test and refine code to get the design right.
  • Understands how the web works and can make sensible front-end architectural decisions from that knowledge.
  • Collaboration skills that can deftly articulate your decisions.
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently.
  • Demonstrated leadership and mentoring abilities.

Salary Range: $51,000-95,000 (according to – though this can vary widely depending on language competencies and job location.

Job Openings: Web Developer jobs


Language-Specific Competencies

If you’re an expert in a specific programming language, we’ve made it easier for you to find applicable job openings in your area. On the left-hand sidebar on our Software Engineering Jobs main page, you’ll see that you can sort jobs according to specific language competencies, from ActionScript to Visual Basic.

Example job & requirements: Test Automation Engineer (.Net)

  • Five (5) plus years of test automation development experience.
  • Scripting in CC#, and or Perl.
  • Able to Parse the data in a SQL database.
  • Able to prepare the test results data for review.

Salary Range: $87,322-90,236 (according to VisualStudioMagazine’s survey).

Job Openings: .Net Developer Jobs


Land Surveyors

Engineering Surveyor Jobs

Surveyors establish (or reestablish) boundaries, corners, lines and monuments. Possible employers include construction companies, civil engineering firms, oil and gas companies, and many, many more.

Example job & requirements: Senior Survey Manager

  • 5 plus years of progressive surveying and management experience.
  • Oil & Gas Pipeline experience preferred.
  • Professional Licensed Surveyor in one or more states.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills to manage multiple registered surveyors, technicians and field crews to deliver multidisciplinary projects with fees between $5 – $10M.
  • Demonstrated success in business development, marketing, and networking.
  • Successful experience in contract negotiations, budgets, and fee estimates.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Salary Range: $39,322-90,236  (according to

Job Openings: Surveyor Jobs

Photo credit: Culpix


Engineering Technicians

CNC Programmer Jobs

Engineering Technicians solve technical problems, collect data and tabulate results, or assist engineers in research and development or design of products. Typically their educational background includes vocational training, military occupational experience, an apprenticeship, or a 2-year (associates) degree.

Electrical Engineering Technicians

Example job & requirements:  Electrical Technician

This individual will work closely within production facilities, Marketing Management, Engineering, Machinery Manufacturing, and vendors. They will lead projects and participate on teams that are focused on the design and development of speed and motion control systems, process improvements, and resolving production issues.

  • Electrical Technician II: Associates Degree or HS Diploma or equivalent with a minimum of 2 years of hands-on electrical and/or technical experience.
  • Electrical Technician III: Associates Degree or HS Diploma or equivalent with a minimum of 3 years of hands-on electrical and/or technical experience for consideration of Technician III position.
  • Requires at least 1 year of experience with computer assembly and troubleshooting, or equivalent (e.g. personal computers, household appliance repair); prefer 3 years.
  • Requires at least 1 year of experience reading and understanding electrical blueprints or drawings including, but not limited to manuals, catalogues, schematics, prints or wire lists; prefer 3 years of experience.
  • Requires experience with operation of powered equipment in a manufacturing/production environment; prefer 1 year.
  • Requires proficiency with hand tools – powered and manual including soldering iron and digital multimeter.
  • Requires working knowledge of MS Word, MS Excel, and Lotus Notes email software (or equivalent); prefer CAD experience and/or data acquisition software experience.
  • Requires the ability to solve basic algebraic equations and electrical formulas.
  • Requires strong oral and written communication skills, including report writing.
  • Requires a set of personal hand tools, including but not limited to: wrenches, hammers, screwdrivers, etc; prefer experience using basic machine shop tools (such as drill press, grinder, mill and lathe).
  • Requires a valid driver’s license and favorable motor vehicle report.
  • Requires ability to obtain and maintain a forklift and scissor lift license.

Salary: national average of $56,040 (according to

Job Openings: Electrical Technician Jobs


CADD Technicians

Example job & requirements: CADD Technician

  • Proficient within Microstation and following internal or client-driven CADD standards.
  • Coordinate with design engineers and designers to develop accurate construction drawings.
  • Adhere to specific quality control process.
  • Developing engineering details utilizing engineering sketches.
  • Minimum of five (5) years experience.
  • Advanced knowledge of MicroStation CADD applications required.
  • Technician certificate preferred.
  • Experience working on rail/highway/industrial plans preferred.

Salary Range: national average of $47,880 (according to

Job Openings: CADD Technician Jobs

Mechanical Technicians

Example job & requirements: Mechanical Technician 3 (Aerospace)

Performs a variety of duties assisting mechanical engineers in the development, assembly and integration of Space Vehicle mechanical and electromechanical components, assemblies, and systems.  Devises, fabricates, and assembles new or modified mechanical components or assemblies.  Drafts detailed drawings for ground support fabrication.

Participates in the development of sub-system and system test methodology.  Sets up and tests complete prototype and flight units and subassemblies under operational conditions.  Analyzes data and recommends modifications to components or test procedure to meet desired specifications.

  • High school diploma and US citizenship are required.
  • Current DoD SSBI required.
  • Three years of related professional experience required.
  • Experience handling space flight hardware
  • Familiarity with Mechanical Engineering, Assembly and Test Operations department (standard) operating procedures/policies

Salary Range: national average of $50,110 (according to

Job Openings: Mechanical Technician Jobs

CNC Programmers, Machinists and Operators

Example job & requirements: CNC Programmer

Candidates must be proficient with Mastercam X5 or higher, with 10+ years experience programming complex parts. Candidates must be very proficient up to 3 axis with a preference given to those with full 5 axis experience. SolidWorks experience is also a plus for this position.

Responsibilities include programming new jobs, updating existing programs to increase efficiency, fixture design and building, editing programs as needed, as well as helping with complex setups at the machines. There will be programming of a lot of quick turn prototype work and there is a great need to be able to make programs and parts quickly and accurately in order to test fit and function with mating parts and assemblies. Candidates must be comfortable working with short lead times and reacting quickly to changes.

Salary Range: national average of $45,920 (according to

Job Openings: CNC Programmer, Machinist and Operator jobs

Engineering Designers

Piping Designer jobs

Engineering designers create blueprints and schematics for systems, structures, machines and equipment. It is their responsibility to know applicable codes and permits related to their project. They must be familiar with CAD, SolidWorks or other software applications to execute their renderings or prototypes. The term “designer” is broad, but these assistants can be found in many disciplines of engineering; including mechanical, electrical, petrochemical, and manufacturing to name a few.

Piping Designers

Example job & requirements:  Piping Designer III

• Under general supervision, develops engineering drawings of moderate complexity.
• Applies a solid level of understanding within a specific discipline.
• Familiar with codes, permits, and software applications related to the discipline.
• Understands the process of preparing designs and drawings using project specifications and discipline-associated written and verbal instructions in accordance with established design practices, standards, and procedures.
• Basic understanding of Engineer’s process of performing and verifying design calculations to support the overall project design.
• Fully understands the purpose and use of vendor documents and reviews discipline supplier documents for accuracy.
• Basic knowledge of the use of requisitions and the role of materials management.
• Assists in the collection of data on manpower, man-hour, and labor costs requirements for design staff to aid in evaluating the budget.
• Basic knowledge of cost estimating methods and performs material take-offs for the discipline.
• Intermediate knowledge of discipline’s materials costs and concept of cost analysis and forecasting.
• Basic knowledge of the project change control process and can identify a potential change.
• Basic understanding of the discipline’s equipment and material lists.

Minimum Requirements:
• Associates degree in engineering discipline or equivalent experience.
• 5 years of piping experience.
• Must have 2D and/or 3D piping plant design (PDS) or SmartPlant software experience.

Salary Range: $48,000-120,000 with a median of $74,634 (according to

Job Openings: Piping Designer Jobs


Electrical Designers

Example job & requirements: Electrical Designer III

• Associates degree in engineering discipline or equivalent experience.
• 5+ years of electrical design experience.
• Oil & Gas Experience
• Experience applying an intermediate level of understanding within electrical engineering
• Candidate must be familiar with codes, permits, and software applications related to electrical engineering
• Candidate must be familiar with the process of preparing designs and drawings using project specifications and discipline-associated written and verbal instructions in accordance with established design practices, standards, and procedures.
• Candidate must understand the purpose of vendor documents and uses them as a reference for assigned tasks.
• Candidate must have basic knowledge of the use of requisitions and the role of materials management.
• Candidate must have basic knowledge of the process of performing material take-offs for the discipline.
• Candidate must have a basic understanding of the discipline’s equipment and material lists.

Preferred Requirements:
• Capability with 2D and/or 3D plant design is recommended.
• North Slope or Arctic Region experience

Salary Range: $42,000-95,000 with a median of $58,800 (according to

Job Openings: Electrical & Electronic Designer jobs


Instrumentation and Control Designers

Example job & requirements:  Instrumentation and Control (I&C) Lead Designer

• Education: Associates degree in engineering discipline or equivalent experience.
• Experience: 8 years of experience.
• Capability with 2D and/or 3D plant design is strongly recommended.
• Can generate I&C related drawings such as Wiring Diagrams, Schematics, Loop Diagrams, Interconnection Drawings, Installation Details, Logic Drawings and other complex engineering drawings.
• Fully versed in preparation of drawings, layouts and 3D models, and checking, with minimal supervision.
• Has Intermediate knowledge of cost estimating methods and performs thorough and accurate material take-offs for the discipline. Intermediate knowledge of the project change control process, rationale and requirement, and identifies potential changes.
• Has an advanced understanding of logic and process flow diagrams, symbols, control operation and their relationship to instruments and distributed control systems.
• Has an advanced understanding of PLC and DCS Systems.
• Fully understands the process of preparing designs and drawings using project specifications and discipline-associated written and verbal instructions in accordance with established design practices, standards, and procedures.
• Fully understands the purpose and use of vendor documents and reviews discipline supplier documents for accuracy. Can also review other discipline’s supplier documents.
• Fully versed in the process of designing, checking, and inter-discipline review and signing of drawings and documents.

Preferred Requirements:

• Electrical Design experience preferred
• Experience with Hazardous Area Classifications
• North Slope or Arctic Region Experience
• Experience with Compressor Stations
• Working knowledge of MicroStation, PDS, Smartplant 3D, Smartplant Electrical or SmartPlant Intools

Salary Range: $45,000-110,000 with a median of $64,300 (according to

Job Openings: Instrumentation & Control Designer jobs


Industrial Designers

Example job & requirements: Industrial Designer Senior Level

• Experience with plastics: design and draft injection molded parts from conception through production
• Creative accurate and neat professional with a positive attitude
• Responsible for Bill of Materials. Knowledge of SAP or other ERP software a plus.
• A minimum of 2 years experience in PRO-E or Solid Works
• A minimum of 5 years experience in electronic packaging and injection molding.
• Must be legal to work in the US w/out sponsorship.

Salary range: national average of $58,230 (according to

Job openings: Industrial Designer Jobs


NDT Inspectors

NDT Technician jobs

Non-destructive Testing technicians conduct examinations that do not permanently alter the article being inspected. These methods can include ultrasonic, magnetic,radiographic, remote visual inspection (RVI), and current testing. Industry specializations for NDT technicians can include construction (bridges), aerospace, petrochemical, or, as we previously covered in “So you want to be a Nuclear NDT Technician?“, nuclear facilities.

Example job & requirements:  NDT Technician Level II/III

Individuals will be responsible for independently conducting nondestructive examinations (NDE), specifically Ultrasonic Testing, for the purpose of assessing the condition of structures.

  • A high school diploma or equivalent.
  • ASNT Level II or III in Ultrasonic Testing.
  • An understanding of the basic physical NDE principles and processes.
  • 2+ of inspection experience, preferably in bridge inspection.
  • CAD experience a plus.

Salary Range:  national average of $59,440 annually (according to BLS data. This varies widely depending on industry; nuclear, for example, ranges from $65,660-108,80)

Job Openings: NDT Technician Jobs


Ship Engineers

Tugboat Engineering jobs

Ship engineers (also Tugboat Engineers, Ferry Engineers, Port Engineers, etc) complete or manage the completion of technical tasks on board a vessel. Their responsibilities include operation of engines, pumps, steam, fresh water supply, refrigeration, communication, electronic equipment, propeller shafts, and anything else integral to keeping the vessel operational. This requires a deep understanding of multiple technical processes (you are basically a shipborne MacGyver) and the ability to communicate the ship’s needs to the crew, captain, and company. (For more on what ship engineers do, you may be interested in our article: Marine Engineers: For the Love of Engines).

In the United States, you’ll need the Coast Guard Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (or STCW) certificate attached to your US Merchant Mariners Document (Z-card) to operate in ocean waters.

Example job & requirements:  Chief Engineer

  • STCW 95 First Class Engineer Motor Ship Canadian Certification.
  • Good knowledge of diesel engine mechanics.
  • Available and willing to sail for periods of 6 to 8 weeks.

Salary Range: $41,000-140,000 with a median of $81,442 (according to

Job Openings: Tugboat and STCW Engineering Jobs

Photo Credit: Louis Vest