What does a Controls Engineer do?

Controls engineers play pivotal roles in plant procedures and operations. They are central to many industries and are often required to have proficiency in electronics, mechanics, and engineering. They use their analytical skills to examine and improve a process or increase productivity, and they are responsible for checking that plant equipment is maintained correctly. They collaborate with other departments and outside parties to create and implement processes that increase efficiency.

Controls engineers troubleshoot issues with hardware and with processes, and they plan preventative maintenance. They strive to find creative solutions when problems and issues arise. They also assist in implementing predictive maintenance plans and analyzing plant processes to improve their expertise in electronics, engineering, and mechanics. Controls engineers need a minimum bachelor's degree in engineering, electrical, manufacturing, or mechanical engineering and two-to-four years of experience in related fields.

What responsibilities are common for Controls Engineer jobs?
  • Lead design control activities, author and review design controls.
  • Develop all aspects of control systems, equipment, and machinery.
  • Analyze, design and implement Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions.
  • Assist with the development of technical reports or related documents.
  • Own, maintain and approve all schematics for new and existing equipment.
  • Act as the technical consultant for capital projects within the build.
  • Develop control system graphics and configure control system databases.
  • Provide input to the project lessons learned process.
  • Prototype, test, and optimize GNC systems in both simulation and actual flight tests.
  • Partner with cross-functional teams to define sensor, computing, network, and redundancy requirements.
  • Assist in the development of machine specifications.
  • Provide documentation and support to the field team.
  • Promote a safe working environment by following all safety procedures.
  • Appropriately escalate downtime situations to vendors or headquarters for support to restore equipment operation.
  • Ensure compliance with applicable internal processes and regulations.
  • You may also be responsible for completing the CAD drawings.
  • Perform controls systems assessments to maintain and improve equipment reliability.
  • Recommend hardware and software changes as well as upgrades to existing systems.
  • Take initiative to identify opportunities for continuous improvement.
  • Provide sketches, markups and direction to electrical designers to develop project drawings.
What are the typical qualifications for Controls Engineer jobs?
  • Bachelor's or Graduate's Degree in mechanalectrical engineering, computer science, or engineering or equivalent experience.
  • Experience with PLC, HMI, AutoCAD, C and RSLOGIX software and systems.
  • Experience with controls design.
  • Dedicated to problem solving and continuous improvement.
  • Fluent in controls systems writing protocols, and databases.
  • Comfortable with algorithm design and programmable logic practices.
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.5 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.6 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

How much does a Controls Engineer make?

$104,921 /yr
Total Pay

Base Pay


Additional Pay


 / yr
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
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Controls Engineer Career Path

Learn how to become a Controls Engineer, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Controls Engineer
Senior Controls Engineer
Controls Engineer

Years of Experience Distribution

0 - 1
2 - 4
5 - 7
Not including years spent in education and/or training

Controls Engineer Insights

Read what Controls Engineer professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
C&W ServicesC&W Services
Control Systems Engineer
Jun 2, 2022

“18 hour days and expect you to drive to work and be efficient and effective.”

MacDonald-Miller Facility SolutionsMacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions
Senior Controls Specialist
Oct 10, 2021

“MM is the best and has the best culture i have seen in my career.”

Arrow ExterminatorsArrow Exterminators
Wildlife Control Specialist
Mar 29, 2022

“Their pay is very competitive and I was actually quite happy with my paycheck here.”

Senior Process Control Engineer
Mar 21, 2023

“14 months pay/year + vacationpay + good health insurance + stock options + 59 d holidays”

Vertech Industrial SystemsVertech Industrial Systems
Control Systems Integrator II
Jul 12, 2021

“Management cares about how you're doing outside of your work and is able to work with you to ensure you're able to succeed”

Big Sky EngineeringBig Sky Engineering
Controls Engineer
May 12, 2023

“Management will micromanage every project/action you work on Zero opportunity for career building as there is no room upward development.”

Shamrock Foods CompanyShamrock Foods Company
Controls Engineer
Jun 21, 2022

“Good place to work and pay is good”

Controls Engineer
Feb 2, 2022

“Majority of coworkers are fun and good to work with.”

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Controls Engineer Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of a Controls Engineer

When working as a Controls Engineer, the most common skills you will need to perform your job and for career success are PLC Programming, HMI Programming, Controls Systems, SCADA, and Devicenet.

The most similar professions to Controls Engineer are:
  • Electronics Engineer
  • Electronics Design Engineer
  • Electrical Designer
  • Electrical Engineer

The most common qualifications to become a Controls Engineer include a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree and an average of 0 - 1 years of experience not including years spent in education and/or training.

Related Careers

Electronics Engineer
Electronics Design Engineer
No skills overlap
Electrical Designer
Electrical Engineer
No skills overlap

Controls Engineer Jobs