How to Become a Validation Engineer

How to Become a Validation Engineer: Career Path Guide

Although there are other paths to take, a very effective route for becoming a validation engineer is to follow these general steps:


1. Pursue advanced coursework in math, science and computer science in high school

2. Determine if this occupation is suited to your interests, qualities and traits

3. Pursue a bachelor’s degree in the field of engineering that most interests you

4. Find an internship or co-op opportunity while you’re a student

5. Get an engineer-in-training job after graduation 

6. Move into roles of greater pay and responsibility as you gain experience and confidence 


Below we've expanded on these points, to give you a more complete idea of what you'll need to begin a career as a validation engineer in the United States or Canada...starting with the education you'll need.



What Education Will I Need to Become a Validation Engineer?

Although a lower level qualification with accompanying work experience can be a realistic option, employers typically prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s of engineering degree in a field related to their area of operations. 


For example, if you’re looking for a job with a semiconductor company, you may require a degree in electrical engineering, or if you're looking to get into the pharmaceutical industry, a degree in chemical or biomedical engineering would be suitable.


The type of degree you’d require would also be impacted by your role within that company. For example, if you’re going to hired to work on the information technology systems within a pharmaceutical company, a degree in computer engineering or computer science will likely be what you require to qualify. 




What is a Validation Engineer?

Validation engineer is an umbrella term for a group of engineers who specialize in different types of quality control. The principle responsibility of these engineers is testing equipment, computer systems, methodology and processes. Day-to-day, they are responsible for creating reports and adjusting equipment or processes that need to be improved or repaired.


Their main goal is to ensure that products (anything from automobiles to circuit boards) meet internal and external purity, safety and quality requirements. 



What Does a Validation Engineer Do?

Although the specific job duties they perform can vary from job to job, validation engineers are generally responsible for the following: 


• Drawing samples of raw materials, intermediate and finished products for validation testing

• Developing validation plans, process flow diagrams and standard operating procedures

• Scheduling validation testing with relevant departments and personnel

• Designing and implementing validation study features, such as sampling, testing and analytical methodologies

• Tracking validation activities, test results and validated systems

• Identifying deviations from accepted standards, and make recommendations for improvement

• Maintaining knowledge of validation by participating in internal or external training programs

• Preparing, reviewing and evaluating validation and compliance documentation



Will I Need Work Experience to Become a Validation Engineer?

Most “engineer-in-training” roles (entry-level engineering jobs) don’t require any work experience above what you gain as part of your degree-based internship or co-op work placement. Mid and senior-level roles however, often require 3-5 years of experience working in lower level roles, with progressive amounts of responsibility in those roles. Advancement may also require Professional Engineer licensure. 



Will I Need to Be Licensed to Work as a Validation Engineer?

Some employers prefer to hire candidates that are licensed as Professional Engineers (“PE” in the United States and “P.Eng.” in Canada), however, this may not be a formal requirement. 


Please Note: To sell your engineering services publicly you will need to be licensed as a Professional Engineer. 



How Do I Become Licensed as a Professional Engineer?

Licensing requirements typically involve completion of an accredited engineering degree, completion of a set number of supervised working hours, and passing an exam (or series of exams). However, the requirements can vary by region, so please contact your provincial/territorial/state engineering association/licensing body for the full licensing requirements.



How Can I Prepare for this Career in High School?

Validation engineers need a comprehensive understanding of math and science, as well as skills with computers in many cases. Excelling in these areas while you’re a high school student is a great way to build this foundation at an early age, and will help you qualify for engineering degree programs.


Success Tip: Taking advanced science, math and computer coursework during your high school years is a great way to lay a foundation for working as a validation engineer, or any other kind of engineer, for that matter.




Should I Become a Validation Engineer? 

Is it good enough to just meet the educational and experience requirements of a job? If you want to stand out in this field, and really make a name for yourself, having the following personal qualities and professional interests will take you a long way:


• You have a natural aptitude and interest in math, physics and engineering

• You’re the kind of person who studies and applies engineering principles in your spare time

• You have a keen interest (that borders on obsession) in technical processes

• You have an interest in maintaining, evaluating and testing engineering systems

• You have persistence, creativity and determination when solving problems 

• You enjoy organizing and interpreting data

• You’re interested in a well-paying career in a laboratory or manufacturing setting

• You enjoy the idea of making sure the products you work on are made effectively and safely 

• You have at least decent interpersonal skills and the ability to work as part of a team

• You’re willing to learn to live by your employers’ values and codes of conduct

• You’re willing to stay ahead of the curve and seek out opportunities to learn new technologies

• You're willing to travel, and possibly permanently relocate, for a job that makes proper use of your skills



What Industries Employ Validation Engineers?

Validation engineers apply their expertise in a variety of different industries that are involved in some level of manufacturing or goods production, or systems implementation. This includes biotechnology, pharmaceutical, public utilities, aerospace, as well as computer software and automotive manufacturing, among countless others.



Who Creates Jobs for Validation Engineers?

Validation engineers are typically employed by engineering firms, or by companies involved in manufacturing or systems implementation. They may also be employed in insurance, research or teaching. For example, the types of organizations that employ validation engineers includes:


• Insurance companies 

• Electrical/electronics manufacturers

• Medical equipment and device manufacturers

• Pharmaceutical companies 

• Transportation companies and vehicle manufacturers

• Heavy equipment manufacturers

• Food and beverage producers 

• Large retailers

• Local, provincial/state or federal government agencies

• Large distribution companies 

• Oil, gas and mining companies

• Quality assurance, manufacturing, management and engineering consulting firms

• Colleges and universities



How Much Do Validation Engineers Make?

Salary in Alberta: According to the 2015 wage and salary survey (Government of Alberta), Albertans working as part of the “Industrial and Manufacturing Engineers” occupational group (which includes “Validation Engineers”) earn an average salary of $111,808 per year.


Please Note: The salary level you can earn in this occupation will vary, based on the following factors:


• Your level of education, experience and certification

• The level of responsibility involved in your job

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The industry in which you work

• The type of remuneration package you’re offered 

• Many other factors 




Validation Engineer Jobs

Our job board below has a listing of "Validation Engineer" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. 

Are There Good Career Advancement Opportunities for Validation Engineers?

If you demonstrate a strong work ethic, dedication, competence, and an interest in your work, then you will see plenty of opportunities to advance into roles of greater responsibility and pay.


For example, with enough experience you would move on to more difficult projects with greater independence to solve problems and make decisions. You could also move into supervisory or management roles, such as Project Engineer.


As you become more familiar with the various stages and scopes of validation engineering projects, you could potentially become a Quality Assurance Engineer, or a highly valued specialist. You could also become self-employed as an engineering or manufacturing consultant


Alternatively, you could choose to work in an outside area of operations or administration, such as business development, sales, purchasing, manufacturing management, or marketing.



What are Careers Similar to “Validation Engineer”?

Listed below are careers that may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities as “Validation Engineer”:


Manufacturing Engineer

• Process Engineer

• Production Engineer

• Quality Control Specialist

• Reliability Engineer

• Supplier Quality Improvement Engineer

• Test Engineer



What Scholarships Are There for Aspiring Validation Engineers? 

The “Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career” section below lists fields of study in our system that are relevant to becoming a Validation Engineer. You can search for relevant scholarships by finding those majors on our "Any Field of Study Scholarships” page.


Success Tip: Apply for any and all scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Sources for This Career Guide

Please consult the following resources to learn more about what it takes to become a validation engineer:


Wages & Salaries in Alberta: Computer Engineer.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 15, 2020.

Career Advice:Validation Engineer.” (n.d.). GradIreland website. Retrieved January 15, 2020.

Job Descriptions:Validation Engineer.” (n.d.) TargetJobs website. Retrieved January 15, 2020.


Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.




Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career

We have career guides for over 60 university majors in our database; below we've outlined those that are most relevant to becoming a validation engineer. Click on the links to see what else you can do with these majors!


Top Banner Image: