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Summary Report for:
17-2141.01 - Fuel Cell Engineers

Design, evaluate, modify, or construct fuel cell components or systems for transportation, stationary, or portable applications.

Sample of reported job titles: Director, Hydrogen Storage Engineering; Division Director; Engineering Professor; Professor of Chemical Engineering; Research Engineer; Scientist/Engineer; Senior Engineer; Senior Research Engineer; Senior Scientist; Senior Stack Engineer

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Conduct fuel cell testing projects, using fuel cell test stations, analytical instruments, or electrochemical diagnostics, such as cyclic voltammetry or impedance spectroscopy. Green Task Statement
  • Design or implement fuel cell testing or development programs. Green Task Statement
  • Write technical reports or proposals related to engineering projects. Green Task Statement
  • Plan or implement fuel cell cost reduction or product improvement projects in collaboration with other engineers, suppliers, support personnel, or customers. Green Task Statement
  • Validate design of fuel cells, fuel cell components, or fuel cell systems. Green Task Statement
  • Define specifications for fuel cell materials. Green Task Statement
  • Plan or conduct experiments to validate new materials, optimize startup protocols, reduce conditioning time, or examine contaminant tolerance. Green Task Statement
  • Calculate the efficiency or power output of a fuel cell system or process. Green Task Statement
  • Conduct post-service or failure analyses, using electromechanical diagnostic principles or procedures. Green Task Statement
  • Read current literature, attend meetings or conferences, or talk with colleagues to stay abreast of new technology or competitive products. Green Task Statement

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Homogenizers — Digital sonifiers; Ultrasonic blenders
Infrared spectrometers — Fourier transfer infrared FTIR spectrometers; Infrared IR spectrophotometers
Power meters — Load boxes; Power analyzers
Scanning electron microscopes — Scanning electron microscopes SEM
Thermo gravimetry analyzers — Thermal gravimetric analyzers

Technology used in this occupation:

Analytical or scientific software — FactSage; Gaussian GaussView; GE Energy GateCycle; Wolfram Research Mathematica
Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD software
Development environment software — C; National Instruments LabVIEW; Wind River Systems C/C++ Compiler Suite
Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
Word processing software — Microsoft Word

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Knowledge

Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Skills

Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

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Abilities

Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

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Work Activities

Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

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Work Context

Electronic Mail — 79% responded “Every day.”
Face-to-Face Discussions — 50% responded “Every day.”
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 58% responded “Every day.”
Telephone — 52% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
Work With Work Group or Team — 46% responded “Very important.”
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 50% responded “Every day.”
Structured versus Unstructured Work — 46% responded “Some freedom.”
Duration of Typical Work Week — 48% responded “More than 40 hours.”
Contact With Others — 42% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 54% responded “Very important.”

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed
Education Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
Related Experience Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.
Job Training Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
Job Zone Examples These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, sports medicine physicians, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and controllers.
SVP Range (8.0 and above)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
38   Bachelor's degree
33   Master's degree
25   Doctoral degree

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Credentials

Find Training Find Certifications Find Licenses

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Interests

Interest code: RI

Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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Work Styles

Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

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Work Values

Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages data collected from Mechanical Engineers.
Employment data collected from Mechanical Engineers.
Industry data collected from Mechanical Engineers.

Median wages (2013) $39.47 hourly, $82,100 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 258,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Slower than average (3% to 7%) Slower than average (3% to 7%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 99,700
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

  • Mechanical Engineers external site. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

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