Job descriptions and industry overviews

Commissioning engineer: job description

27 Feb 2024, 13:42

Commissioning engineers work at a client's site, where they are responsible for commissioning and overseeing the installation and maintenance of systems, plants and equipment.

A commissioning engineer plugging cables into a machine.

Commissioning engineer : Salaries | Employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Commissioning engineers are responsible for making sure that all of the equipment and facilities needed at a client’s site are installed correctly and safely, and that everything 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.

Graduate salaries

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 targetjobs , 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 .

targetjobs editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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