Control Systems Engineer
As a Control System Engineer, you will be responsible for the design and installation of a control system, which checks that industrial and manufacturing machinery is working accurately, safely and efficiently. You will play a vital role in the manufacturing process.
Also known as
- Engineer, Control
- Automotive Control Systems Engineer
As a Control System Engineer, you will be responsible for the design and installation of a control system, which checks that industrial and manufacturing machinery is working accurately, safely and efficiently.
For example, you might be working on a control system which makes sure that a certain peice of machinery cannot function unless the correct safety guards are being used.
Other examples include measuring temperatures in jet engines, and the flow of oil or gas in pipelines.
You will need great IT skills, including programming, as the control systems you operate will use specialist hardware and software.
When designing a control system, you will need an in-depth understanding of the area your system will be operating in. This is likely to involve talking to staff currently operating the equipment, and perhaps the Engineers who designed it.
Once a system is installed, and you have successfully carried out performance tests, you'll train staff how to use the system and to deal with any problems that may arise. You will also be responsible developing training manuals, and a knowledge base of known technical and support issues.
You will often be working as part of a team, often consisting of Engineers from many different disciplines.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Control Systems Engineer, you need:
- IT skills, including programming - particularly in control systems software
- network design skills and knowledge of engineering systems
- system testing skills
- to be willing to keep up to date with advances in technology in this fast-changing area
- the ability to work to strict deadlines
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates below are approximate:
- Starting: £31,000 - £34,000
- With experience: £37,000 - £43,500
- Senior Control Systems Engineers earn £47,000 - £51,000
Hours of work
You will most likely work around 35-40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Occasional late finishes and weekend work may be required.
Where could I work?
Employers include manufacturing firms in the following industries:
- building services
- oil and gas
Opportunities occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.
This career could involve working for a
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, trade industry publications, at Jobcentre Plus and on the Find a Job website.
Vacancies can also be found through specialist engineering recruitment agencies, internet job boards and the websites of professional engineering bodies.
GreenJobs is a job board aimed at people interested in green careers:
Entry Routes and Training
Most employers will expect you to have a degree before entering this career in control systems engineering. HNDs, HNCs and degrees in relevant subjects are available at many universities. In order to get onto one of these courses, you will usually need at least two A levels.
You might be able to get onto a Higher Level or Degree Apprenticeship in a relevant area. Take a look at our information article
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
Previous experience in a engineering or construction role will really help you get into this career.
Depending on the qualification, Control Systems Engineers can progress by taking on more responsibility for the management of engineering projects and teams of Engineers.
Some engineers choose to become self-employed or take contract work on a freelance basis.
To enter a relevant degree course, the usual requirements are:
- 2/3 A levels
- GCSEs in your A level subjects at grade C/4 or above
- a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above
- English, maths and a science subject are usually required at GCSE at grade C/4 or above
To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (eg, Access to Engineering) could be the way in.
These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.
Teesside University offers an HNC and degree in Instrumentation and Control Engineering, by part-time study.
Information on pathways to registration as a Chartered (CEng) or Incorporated (IEng) Engineer can be found on the Engineering Council's website.
Sponsorship for higher education study in control and instrumentation engineering is available from the larger engineering and manufacturing companies.
Funding for postgraduate courses is available through universities from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
- 6% of people in occupations such as this work part-time.
- 17% have flexible hours.
Professional institutions have the following roles:
- To support their members.
- To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.
For more information on the institution(s) relevant to this career, check out the contacts below.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Skills for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies
Address: 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT
Tel: 0845 6439001
Engineering technology news
Publisher: EngineeringUK and Royal Academy of Engineering
Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)
Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP
Tel: 01923 260000
Publisher: Venture Marketing Group
Getting into Engineering Courses
Author: James Burnett Publisher: Trotman
Address: 105 West George Street, Glasgow G2 1QL
Tel: 0141 2213181
Address: 246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX
Tel: 020 3206 0500
Engineering Training Council Northern Ireland (ETC NI)
Northern Ireland Enquiries
Address: Sketrick House, Ards Business Park, Jubilee Road, Newtownards BT23 4YH
Tel: 028 9182 2377
Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
Address: Michael Faraday House, Six Hills Way, Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG1 2AY
Tel: 01438 313311
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Address: Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1ET
Tel: 01793 444000
Teesside University Open Learning (Engineering)
Address: School of Science & Engineering, Teesside University, Middlesbrough, Tees Valley TS1 3BA
Tel: 01642 342740
Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers
Address: Scientific Instrument Makers Hall, 9 Montague Close, London SE1 9DD
Tel: 020 7407 4832
Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 028 4844