Is Fluid Controls a Good Career Path?

Fluid or flow control refers to the mechanism that regulates the flow or pressure of a liquid, including management and manipulation of fluids in various industrial, mechanical, and engineering applications. This specialized industry plays an important role in modern industries as it ensures the smooth and efficient function of processes involving liquids and even gases.

Fluid control is a critical part of processing plants, such as water supply systems and manufacturing operations. It ensures that fluids move at a desired or intended rate in order to achieve optimal performance and efficiency.  There are many factors that can affect fluid control operations, such as liquid pressure, temperature, and level, thus making fluid control professionals in high demand as they require rigorous training, education, and focus. The market is promising for many engineering professionals and technicians, as this plays a major role in the development, production, and use of these technologies.

What are the Best Fluid Controls Jobs

There are many professionals behind an optimized fluid control system. Here are some of the best jobs one can land in the fluid controls industry:

Mechanical Engineer

In general, mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test mechanical sensors and devices. Those specializing in fluid controls focus on the systems that involve fluid flow for water treatment and distribution plants, pharmaceutical plants, and other manufacturing sites. Some of their main responsibilities include designing hydraulic systems for heavy machinery and even creating plumbing layouts for buildings, or developing aerodynamics for vehicles.

Mechanical engineers need to complete a degree in mechanical engineering or related courses. In the United States, becoming a licensed engineer or a professional engineer (PE) opens up more career and promotion opportunities. This certification allows them to work for both private and government entities. This license requires experience and passing certain examinations, which can be accomplished within several years.

Control Systems Engineer

Control systems engineers design, develop, and implement solutions that control dynamic systems – systems that constantly change – such as fluid control plants. They work on the automation and regulation of fluid processes to make sure that it is always precise, efficient, and most of all, adhere to safety regulations. Control systems engineers are critical in the management of oil and gas plants, chemical manufacturers, and water treatment plants.

To become a control systems engineer, one must finish a bachelor’s degree in a relevant course, usually mechanical, civil, or industrial engineering. Postgraduate courses are also highly preferred next to years of experience. Most importantly, passing the Control Systems Engineer (CSE) Licensure lets employers know that you have the right skills and knowledge for the job.

Process Engineer

On the other hand, process engineers specialize in continuous flow manufacturing. In contrast with other types of engineers, they focus on products that include fluids or the combining of various ingredients in accordance with a recipe to produce a final product that can be solid, liquid, gas, or powder. They can be found in beverage plants, pharmaceutical companies, paint manufacturing plants, and more. They identify bottlenecks, improve efficiency, and troubleshoot issues to enhance productivity and help ensure the safety and quality of the products.

Process engineers also have to finish a degree in courses such as mechanical, civil, or industrial engineering. Certain certifications, such as the Certified Manufacturing Engineer and the ISA Certified Automation Professional, pair well with hands-on experience while working towards a PE license.

Instrumentation Technician

Instrumentation technicians are trained to install, maintain, and repair machinery, instruments, and devices for monitoring and controlling fluid processes. They calibrate sensors, troubleshoot faulty equipment, and ensure accurate data collection. These professionals are crucial for maintaining the reliability of fluid control systems across industries, and regularly work with engineers to make sure that everything in the system is in order.

Instrumentation technicians need a minimum of an associate’s degree or post-secondary certifications to start their careers. They can get internships or hands-on experience on the job, as well as various certifications depending on the field or specialty of the employer they aim to work for.

Hydraulic Technician

The main responsibility of hydraulic technicians is to maintain and repair hydraulic systems that use fluid to transmit power. They regularly report to management or hydraulic engineers if they notice issues in the system or the machinery, such as industrial presses. Hydraulic technicians diagnose issues, replace components, and ensure that systems function safely and efficiently.

Hydraulic technicians or workers usually only need a high school diploma or a GED to start working. Many employers allow on-the-job training, but some prefer if one has previous knowledge by taking up hydraulic training courses or certifications. Down the line, experience in various machinery and systems will become the most important factor for employers.

Why Choose Fluid Controls as a Career?

Due to its diverse applications, a career in fluid controls can be financially fulfilling for many professionals. It is an important aspect of manufacturing and processing, which covers many types of industries and makes it easy for engineers and technicians to transfer jobs without much challenge.

The continued innovations and breakthroughs in technology, along with the need to be more efficient and environment-friendly, also increases the demands on fluid control professionals. Government regulations push more companies towards rolling out fluid control systems that take advantage of better, greener processes, creating more opportunities within the industry.

What are the Opportunities in Fluid Controls?

In 2022, the Fluid Controls Market was valued at $4,972.8 million and is expected to grow at a 9.7% CAGR until 2029. Factors such as the increasing demand for fluid control products and systems, the adoption of automation in many industries, and increasing investments in research and development play a huge hand in the growth of the market.

Major utilities such as renewable energy and water management rely on fluid control systems. This makes the field stable for many professionals, while the increasing demand for sustainability and innovation makes it lucrative for engineers. While government regulations that concern the environment may initially sound restrictive, it opens up opportunities for many professionals to try and develop new systems for a more sustainable future.

What is the Salary in Fluid Controls?

Salary expectations in fluid controls depend on several factors, such as location, industry, education, and experience. Entry-level positions, such as hydraulic technicians or instrumentation technicians, typically earn moderate salaries, but with experience and specialization, salaries can substantially increase.

As of May 2021, the average annual wage for mechanical engineers was $95,300 in May 2021. The base pay begins at $60,750 and experienced engineers can earn as much as $136,210 a year. The top industries mechanical engineers earn from are scientific research and development services, computer and electronic product manufacturing, transportation equipment manufacturing, and machinery manufacturing.

Control systems engineers can earn up to $117,594 per year, with an average salary of $99,112. On the other hand, process engineers earn an average salary of $80,174, which can go up to $96,679 per year.

For instrumentation technicians in the United States, the average salary is around $61,804 per year, with an estimated total pay or increase of up to $69,653, while hydraulic technicians get an average salary of $55,412 to $60,594 per year. In general, the annual wage for industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights was $59,380 as of 2021. Again, these are all largely dependent on the location, industry, and experience.

Is there a Future in Fluid Controls?

As the global market continues to focus on efficiency, sustainability, and automation, fluid control professionals will play a crucial role in developing and maintaining systems that meet these demands. The shift towards renewable energy sources and increased emphasis on water conservation ensures a steady demand for skilled fluid control experts.

In order to gain a stable future in fluid controls, professionals must stay updated with these innovations, continue to educate themselves with the latest breakthroughs and take note of important government or state regulations that concern their line of work. No matter the needs of the future industries, fluid controls will remain an important part of it.

A Fluid But Stable Career

The fluid controls industry offers diverse career opportunities. Engineers and technicians with varying skills and specialties are needed to ensure the safety and efficiency of the systems that produce or provide products and services to the public.

Entering this field requires varying levels of education and training, whether one aims to become a technician or an engineer. The importance of these professionals makes for a fluid but stable career path, as it allows for easy shifting in jobs but provides stable financial compensation. A career in fluid controls will continue to change due to the changes in technology and regulations, but it will continue to be crucial for the global economy.