Textile Engineer  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotTextiles are everywhere: clothes, bed sheets, draperies, carpeting, upholstery fabrics and towels. Textiles even make it into space as the lining of space shuttle cargo holds.

dotTextile engineers design and develop the processes, equipment and procedures that create all these fibers, yarns and fabrics.

They can work in plant and design engineering, process engineering, production control and supervision, product development, technical sales and services, quality control, research and development, and corporate management.

dotEven medical science depends on textiles for artificial arteries and filters for kidney dialysis machines, bandages, gauze and hospital gowns. The Jarvik-7 artificial heart is made up of more than 50 percent textile fibers and has Velcro fittings.

Textile engineers are constantly working on new developments in this exciting field. "Textile engineering is a career that seems almost obscure in this country. A lot of people don't even know it exists," says textile engineer Wally Arkowitz.

dotMore than 50 percent of the textile industry is located in the southeast. However, textile engineers can work virtually anywhere in the U.S. or internationally.

dotEngineers need to be creative, inquisitive, analytical and detail-oriented. They should communicate well and be able to work as part of a team. Engineers should expect technological change to alter the nature of their work many times throughout a career. The most successful are willing to keep pace with these changes.

Most textile engineers work a 40-hour week, but deadlines may bring extra pressure to a job, creating stress and the need for long and hard hours.

At a Glance

Design and develop the equipment and procedures to produce beautiful fabrics

  • Textiles are found everywhere -- even in the space shuttle
  • More than 50 percent of the textile industry in North America is located in the southeastern United States
  • You'll need an engineering degree to get started