Commissioning engineers are responsible for making sure that all of the equipment and facilities needed at a client’s site is installed correctly and safely, and that it works as expected.
Typical tasks include:
- testing equipment on site.
- making improvements to, and offering advice about, operational procedures.
- creating and implementing test procedures.
- investigating problems and diagnosing and repairing faults.
- liaising with clients and installation/project engineers.
- supervising engineering and technical staff.
- gathering and analysing performance and safety data.
- writing reports and documentation.
- providing technical support.
- ensuring safe working conditions.
- training maintenance and operative staff.
You may need to work unsociable hours around project deadlines or if a client’s site is in continual operation. You’ll also need to travel to sites, some of which could be remote or difficult to access, and you may need to stay away from home.
Salary survey websites suggest that salaries for graduate commissioning engineers start from around £25,000. As with many industries, salaries tend to be higher in London and the south-east. Regardless of location, earnings increase with experience, especially if you achieve chartership.
To find out how much money you could earn as an engineer, head to our
engineering salary round-up
Typical employers of commissioning engineers
- Companies that manufacture/operate mechanical, electronic and electrical systems, equipment and machinery.
- Building services companies.
- Engineering contractors.
- Engineering consultancies.
- Transportation companies.
- Water companies.
- Power companies, including those in the nuclear industry.
Jobs are advertised on
, by careers services, university departments and the Commissioning Specialists Association. You’ll find vacancies advertised on specialist jobs boards too. As you gain experience, you’ll also find suitable jobs via specialist recruitment agencies.
For help with applying for engineering jobs and internships, take a look at our
engineering CV and covering letter tips
and our advice on
filling out online applications
Qualifications and training required
For entry into the profession, you will need a degree in an appropriate engineering discipline such as electrical, mechanical or civil engineering. It’s common for employers to ask for a 2.1 degree or above, and some require a postgraduate qualification. You’ll also need an accredited masters-level qualification if you want to become chartered. A list of accredited courses is available on the Engineering Council’s website.
Much of the work involved in this role is highly technical, so work experience is vital to help you build practical skills. If your degree doesn’t include a placement year, look for vacation placements, internships and insight weeks – all of which will help you make contacts, develop skills and decide if this is the career for you. Professional engineering bodies also publicise work experience opportunities and offer networking events, so consider joining one as a student member.
Read our list of
engineering employers who offer industrial placements and summer internships
There are also routes into this profession for school leavers via apprenticeships.
Once you’re employed, achieving chartered (CEng) status with a professional body such as the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) can help to demonstrate your commitment to this field. To become chartered, you will need an accredited bachelors degree with honours in engineering or technology, plus an appropriate masters degree (MEng) or doctorate (EngD) accredited by a professional engineering institution such as the IMechE. You will also be eligible with an integrated MSc. To find out more, head to our
guide to chartership
Key skills for commissioning engineers
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
- Mathematical skills and the ability to apply them to solve problems.
- Leadership and managerial skills.
- Commercial awareness.
- The ability to work well under pressure and deal with unexpected change.
- Teamworking skills.
- Technical expertise (for example in test, design, development and operations).
- Good IT and analytical skills.
- The ability to cope with shift work and unsocial hours, which are often required where equipment is in 24-hour operation.
Read our article on the
skills engineering employers seek
for more information and then find out how you can prove you possess these competencies at
engineering assessment centres