Field Service Engineer vs. Technician: The Difference

Job titles are quite interesting. They give us a peek into the nature of the job, the roles and responsibilities, and the skills required to hold the position. The nature of the work often determines the titles we allot to jobs or individuals performing those jobs.

We have often heard about field service engineers and technicians and also used these terms interchangeably. What we do not consider is that even though these terms are used interchangeably and primarily have a similar nature of work, there is a vast difference between these job titles.

In this blog about Field Service Engineer vs. Technician, we will take a slightly detailed look at the responsibilities of these individuals and the future of field service that we are leading. Considering factors like skills, education qualifications, job responsibilities, and salaries, we will imagine comparative differences between the two.

What is a Field Service Engineer?

A field service engineer is an engineering professional that holds technical knowledge as well as managerial knowledge. A field engineer has the required education and professional training to perform repair, maintenance, and installation tasks. In addition to that, the engineer also manages teams of technicians, assigns tasks, troubleshoots, creates reports, and maintains customer relationships.

Field service engineers are engaged in various trades like telecommunications, computer hardware & software, electrical, mechanical, and biomedical.

Depending on the industry, the skills and responsibilities may change as well. For example, the job of computer hardware engineers will be different from the duties of a mechanical engineer. The average salaries of these positions will also differ.

Some critical skills & qualifications required:

  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering
  • Previous experience in field service management role
  • Problem-solving or troubleshooting abilities
  • Good communication skills to communicate with clients
  • Mathematical & analytical skills
  • Ability to create detailed technical reports
  • Managerial skills to supervise a team
  • Study latest trends and developments and improve technologies accordingly
  • Understanding safety guidelines
  • Attention to detail

What is a Field Service Technician?

A field service technician is a trained professional that travels to client locations, responding to client queries or service requests. A field technician is required to support customers who face issues with technical equipment. Field technicians are needed to identify the problem and perform troubleshooting.

Field technicians are occupied in telecommunications, electrical, mechanical, and computer hardware that requires on-site end-user support, installation, maintenance, and repairs.

Some critical skills and qualifications required:

  • High school diploma or Associate degree or relevant technical certificates
  • Proven work experience as a field technician
  • Good time management skills
  • Mechanical and electrical aptitude
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Ability to diagnose problems with the right equipment
  • Customer service skills
  • Preventative maintenance skills

Field Service Engineer vs. Technician Comparative Difference

 Field Service EngineerField Service Technician
Basic Skills
  • Technical expertise (related to a particular industry or equipment category)
  • Knowledge management & transfer
  • Problem-solving
  • Customer service
  • Mechanical & service repair
  • Issue diagnosis
  • Task prioritization
  • Time management
  • Communication
  • Customer service
Interaction With TeamCollaborations with product, design, research & development, and training teamsWorking closely with customer support and service teams
Delivery of Services
  • Often focuses on research and design phases
  • Applying theoretical and scientific methods to problem-solving
  • Increasing customer productivity
  • Often focuses on the tactical execution of repairs
  • Maintenance
  • Optimization of machinery and equipment
Job Duties
  • Oversee scheduling and tasks of technicians and personnel.
  • Design a proper system with available resources.
  • Job optimization at the site.
  • Handling emergencies.
  • Training technicians.
  • Creating and maintaining a schedule.
  • Generating reports for clients.
  • On-site communication
  • Have the ability to work on their own or with a team for repair.
  • Maintenance or installation of equipment.
  • Reporting to manager.
  • Maintain inventory of tools.
  • Create daily reports
Required EducationBachelor’s DegreeAssociate’s Degree
Salary ScaleField engineers can earn anywhere between USD $65,000 to $90,000 per yearA field technician can earn anywhere between USD $49,000 to $65,000 per year
IndustriesConstruction, aerospace, biomedical, energy, manufacturingUtilities, telecom, electronics, HVAC

Responsibilities: Field Service Engineers vs. Technicians

Field service engineers and technicians are both required to travel to job locations or client sites to resolve and look after technical equipment issues. But there are specific differences in the job responsibilities given to field service engineers and field service technicians. Troubleshooting or repairing technical matters is a shared responsibility for engineers and technicians across different industries.

  • Field Service Engineer

    Even though the primary responsibilities of a field engineer are pretty similar to a field service technician, there are additional job tasks of an engineer. These other responsibilities are often related to the managerial aspect of the job.

    Job responsibilities of a Field Service Engineer include:

    • Design effective systems and monitor those already in place
    • Suggest & implement design innovation or improvement for machinery or systems
    • Creating job schedules for tasks at each job site
    • Troubleshooting issues
    • Writing detailed, concise technical reports
    • Training technicians to use and repair equipment
    • Communicate with the customers
    • Lead the technicians
    • Assist in the setup of a new site
  • Field Service Technician

    A field service technician is only responsible for solving technical issues at client sites. All the other secondary responsibilities are also related to installing, repairing, or maintaining machinery or equipment.

    Job responsibilities of a Field Service Technician Include:

    • Travel to job sites as and when called or ordered for fixing issues
    • Handle different types of field service activities
    • Managing parts inventory
    • Maintaining parts inventory
    • Customer support and service
    • Keeping tools and equipment up-to-date
    • Test equipment

FAQs

A field service engineer primarily does the installation, maintenance, and fixes malfunction of machinery and equipment. Eventually, they are required to take on managerial tasks and overlook the technical aspects of the job.
Both the occupations are pretty similar. Engineers are required to take on more job responsibilities compared to field service technicians. Field engineer responsibilities include managerial tasks in addition to technical tasks. While field technician responsibilities majorly include installation, repair, and maintenance of machinery.
A field engineer is responsible for testing machinery and making sure it functions properly and meets safety regulations. Some of the significant responsibilities of a field engineer include installing new technologies, monitoring activities at the job sites, conducting research, and ensuring quality control.
A field engineer is an excellent job for an individual who likes the technical and managerial aspects of the job. While both these aspects of the job can be taught, some inherent qualities are required to become a field service engineer. So if you have those qualities and blend them with technical knowledge, it is a good job.

Conclusion

Field workers’ contribution, be it a field engineer or technician, is crucial to improving customer satisfaction and profitability. With the help of technological advancements in the recent past, we have an increasing volume of equipment and machinery out in the world. The increase in machinery has led to a higher level of job satisfaction among field engineers and technicians.

Organizations are also taking support of field service management software to facilitate the smooth functioning of business operations. The consistently increasing demand for technicians and engineers will be well-managed with field service management software in place.

We hope this article has been helpful to you in understanding the differences between field engineers and technicians. You can feel free to reach us if you have questions. We are working on more articles like this one. You will be able to find them on our blog soon.