Electrical engineering technology degree programs cover both types of circuit design. These degree programs can be found at the associate's, bachelor's, and master's levels. Training in analog circuit design teaches students to use electrical engineering concepts to provide power to a circuit that continuously performs the same function. By contrast, coursework in digital circuitry centers on using internal switches that change the amount of current needed depending on the mode the device is in, such as asleep or active. Some states require licenses for analog circuit designers, and they must pass comprehensive examinations. Electronics technicians can also earn a voluntary certification by passing a math-related examination that demonstrates their expertise.
Applicants in to the associate's program must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Bachelor's students must have an associate's degree in electrical engineering technology, background coursework in pre-calculus, and a minimum GPA of 2.0. Master's programs require students to have a bachelor's degree in math, engineering, computer science, or a related field with a minimal passing GPA.
Associate of Applied Science in Electronics Engineering Technology
Students learn to build, test, operate and maintain electrical systems for programmable logic controllers, analog systems and fuel cells. They also learn to troubleshoot by taking classes in magnetic field theory, data transmission and logic circuits. Training in the electrical engineering field is typically hands-on and requires a significant amount of laboratory hours. Students learn to apply engineering theories to electrical construction, alternative energies and linear integrated circuits. Other topics of study include:
- Alternating and direct current
- Boolean algebra
- Technical writing
Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology
Students specializing in analog systems learn about linear circuits, sequential digital systems and energy conversion. Bachelor's degree programs take four years to finish; for those who have previously earned an associate degree in electrical engineering technology, degree-completion options are available and last about two years. Programs prepare students to work with medical electronics, robotics and radar technology through courses in physics, optics, calculus and energy conversion. Topics of study for analog systems specialists include:
- Circuit simulation
- Distributive systems
- Electrical measurements
- Power systems
- Signal analysis
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Electromechanical Technologies
- Electronic Communications Engineering
- Instrumentation Technologies
- Laser and Optical Technologies
- Robotics Technologies
- Telecommunications Technologies
Master's Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Master's degrees programs are awarded as either a Master of Science or a Master of Engineering. Courses cover telecommunications engineering, memory design and parallel interfacing. Programs last 18-24 months; some require a thesis while others require a final examination. Topics relate to nanostructures, photonics, power systems and biomedical engineering. Commonly offered courses include:
- Communications signals
- Control systems
- Energy systems
- Solid-state electronics
Popular Career Options
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly one-third of electrical engineering technicians found work in the architectural services, electronic component or electrical instrument manufacturing industries (www.bls.gov). Entry-level workers were employed as:
- Biomedical technicians
- Electronics service representatives
- Engineering assistants
- Instrument technicians
Graduates may work in fields like automation, instrumentation and motion control. Engineering technology jobs within the electronics industry include:
- Equipment engineers
- Industrial engineers
- Product managers
- Quality assurance engineers
- Test engineers
Employment Outlook & Salary Information
BLS predictions show that jobs for electrical and electronic engineering technicians are expected to decline 2% from 2014-2024. Jobs for electrical engineers will have little to no change for the same time period. The decline of many manufacturing sectors in which electrical workers typically find employment will temper overall job growth.
BLS reports showed that electrical engineers earned a median annual wage of $93,010 as of May 2015. By contrast, electrical and electronic engineering technicians took home an annual median wage of $61,130.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Many graduates decide to obtain certification as either a broadcast technologist or an electronics technician. The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians (ISCET) runs the testing program for the certification of electronics technicians (www.iscet.org). The examination is multiple-choice and has questions related to math, transistors and AC/DC circuitry; 75% is considered a passing score. Associate-level certification from the ISCET is valid for four years.
The Society of Broadcast Engineers administers the Certified Broadcast Technologists exam that tests safety, electronics fundamentals and Federal Communications Commission regulations (www.sbe.org). The Certified Broadcast Technician credential is valid for five years; recertification requires that applicants have worked in a broadcast industry for three out of the most recent five years.
Licensure for engineers, including analog circuit designers, is regulated by a state agency, with national guidelines offered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (www.ncees.org). Most states require candidates for licensure to have earned an engineering bachelor's degree from a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
The licensure process requires applicants to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam before working for four years as an engineer-in-training under the supervision of a licensed, professional engineer. The final step prior to earning the licensed, professional engineer credential is the passage of the Principles and Practices of Engineering exam.
Graduates interested in furthering their studies are able to their continue education. Doctoral degree programs are available in engineering management as well as electrical engineering.
Students interested in analog circuit design have the option of several programs including an Associate of Applied Science or Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology, and a Master's Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. These programs prepare students for a career as an electronic engineering technician or an electronic engineer, depending on which degree option was completed.