A multi-disciplinary engineering specialty, instrumentation engineering subsumes electrical, chemical, electronics and computer engineering skills and expertise. Instrumentation engineers design and manufacture devices that measure or control physical quantities such as temperature, pressure or flow rates. In industries that apply automated processes such as chemical or manufacturing plants, instrumentation engineers improve productivity and optimize the efficiencies with which inputs are managed. They are also employed by heavy industries such as thermal power stations, steel plants, refineries, and cement plants. As well, instrumentation engineers can be found working in the research and development units of both private and public sector organizations. Typically, they develop skills in specific control disciplines such as advanced process control (APC), distributed control systems (DCS), programmable logic controllers (PLC) or supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). These specific skills are applied to designing new control systems; testing and modifying existing systems; analysing data, and managing operation. All this is undertaken in collaboration with scientists and other engineers often in circumstances of tight deadlines and even tighter budgets.
Requirements for Engineering Licensure in Canada
If you are not licensed to work as an engineer in Canada you must be prepared to work under the direct supervision of a licensed professional engineer. To work independently you must obtain a P.Eng. designation awarded by one of the provincial or territorial engineering authorities whose role it is to govern the engineering profession in Canada. Although they differ slightly among the provinces and territories, the basic requirements for licensure are:
- An engineering degree awarded by a Canadian or Canadian equivalent university;
- A minimum of four years of relevant engineering experience of which one year must have been gained in Canada;
- Successful completion of a Professional Practice Examination;
- Canadian citizenship of proof of permanent residency in Canada;
- Be of good character as vouched for by three referees.
The process of obtaining your P. Eng. can start even before you arrive in Canada. Visit the Roadmap to Engineering in Canada at newcomers.engineerscanada.ca. This takes you to the Engineers Canada website. There you can link to the provincial or territorial body where you plan to work and obtain the necessary application forms and list of required documentation.
Alternative Careers in Engineering Technology
Engineering technicians and technologists may offer non-regulated engineering and technical services directly to the public. They must, however, work under the supervision of a Professional Engineer when providing professional engineering services to an employer or the public.
Technologists apply theoretical and practical methods to design, plan, develop, test, manufacture, construct, install, commission, operate and maintain engineered products, processes, systems and services. Technicians apply theoretical and practical methods to assist with the design, development, manufacturing, testing, construction, installation, commission, operation and maintenance of engineered products, processes, systems and services.
If your training and or work experience is in engineering but you chose not to become licensed as a professional engineer you may be qualified to work in a wide range of technology occupations as a professional technician or technologist. Discover the many alternative career pathways to rewarding and well paid occupations in engineering technology.