Electrical and Electronics Engineers essential information:
- 2011 median pay: $84,540
- 2010, number of jobs: 294,000
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 6 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
Electrical and Electronics Engineers; what they do:
Electrical engineer and electronics engineer careers are great for people who possess analytical, creative and logical personalities and who continually dream about designing, developing and fixing the latest and greatest in electronic or electrical equipment. Both electrical and electronics engineers use engineering and design software and equipment to do engineering tasks.
Specifically, electrical engineers design, develop, test, resolve electrical problems and oversee the building of precision components and systems such as electric motors, aircraft systems, navigation systems, communications systems, or power generation equipment. An electrical engineer also works with managers to make sure projects operate effectively and efficiently.
Alternatively, electronics engineers design and implement diverse applications, electronic equipment and technology, from portable music players to global positioning systems (GPS). Many work in areas closely related to computer hardware. Electronic engineers also work for the federal government, researching, developing, and evaluating electronic devices such as satellites and flight systems used in areas such as aviation and manufacturing.
Electrical and electronics engineers job titles:
- Electrical Engineer
- Electrical Controls Engineer
- Product Engineer
- Electronics Engineer
- Circuits Engineer
- Broadcast Engineer
- Electrical Design Engineer
- Project Engineer
- Test Engineer
Electrical and Electronics Engineers Education, Certification and License Requirements
Electrical engineers and electronics engineers typically need have a bachelor’s degree to begin an entry-level position. Programs normally last four years and include classroom, labs, and field studies.
Some colleges and universities offer a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering, a Bachelor in Electronics Engineering Technology or a Bachelor in Electronics and Communications Engineering Technology. Many schools offer a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s in Electrical Engineering.
Engineering programs should be accredited by ABET (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).
Employers highly value practical experience; some schools provide cooperative programs which allow students to obtain practical experience while completing their education program.
Electrical and electronics engineers programs cover subjects such as:
- Electric power
- Technical mathematics
- Circuit theory and analysis
- Digital systems design
- Digital and analog electronics
- Computer programming
Licensure in both electronics engineering and electrical engineering include completing a training program, four years of work experience and passing a 2-stage written examination. Obtaining a license earns electrical and electronics engineers the credential of professional engineer (PE) and improves their chances for employment. Licensure for electrical and electronics engineers isn’t as common as licensure for other engineering occupations.
At some universities, students can enroll in a 5-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. Master’s of Science degrees are only offered in electrical engineering; however, these programs are suitable for those looking to advance their skills in electronics design and development. A graduate degree also allows an engineer to work as an instructor at universities, or in research and development.
Career Advancement Opportunities
Electrical and electronic engineers can become supervisors of engineers and technicians. Some engineers become an engineering manager or a program manager.
Electrical and Electronics Engineers Job Outlook
Forecast: employment of electrical engineers and electronics engineers to grow 6 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. Even in today’s chilling economic climate, job growth is expected because of electrical and electronics engineers’ adaptability in developing and applying new technologies. Alternatively, the slow growth or decline of many manufacturing sectors may constrain the increase of employment growth.
The main avenues for engineering job growth will largely occur in engineering services firms, due to companies cutting costs through contracting services instead of directly employing engineers. Electrical engineers and electronic engineers are expected to have employment growth in the fields of computer systems design and wireless telecommunications.
Technological innovation and development is also growing at a dizzying pace and will likely drive demand for electrical and electronics engineers in research and development.
Electrical and Electronics Engineers Salary
- 2011 median annual wage: $84,540
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $128,610
- 2011, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $54,030
Electrical and Electronics Engineers Major Employers
- Architectural, engineering and related services
- Navigational, measuring, electro medical, and control instruments manufacturing
- Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing
- Electric power
- Research and development
- Federal government
- Wired telecommunications carriers