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Communications Engineer Career Info

Today's marketplace relies on highly advanced communications systems, so communications engineering is a valued field. With a certificate or bachelor's degree, a communications engineer can carve out a career in telecommunications or related fields that use computer networking and satellite, digital TV, Internet or radio technology.

Career Definition for a Communications Engineer

Employers look to communications engineers to help prepare and maintain communications systems. Expected duties include designing, developing, installing and testing system equipment and implementing procedures to make all components operational. As a result of an ever-increasing demand for broadband service, more professionals within this field work with Internet technology.

Education Bachelor's or master's degree in engineering recommended
Job Skills Problem solving, adaptable to change, detail orientation, troubleshooting
Median Salary (2015)* $67,261 for entry level electronics engineers
Job Growth (2014-2024)** -1% for electronics engineers

Source: *Salary.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

The field of electrical engineering strongly focuses on communications technology; consequently, electrical engineering certificate and degree programs are more common than programs devoted specifically to communications engineering. A bachelor's or master's degree gives a job seeker an advantage over a certificate alone. A typical academic program includes courses on digital communications, systems design and analysis, digital imaging and computer hardware and software. Students also complete practical education in the field through cooperative education programs. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that electrical engineering programs should be accredited by the ABET.

Skills Required

A communications engineer is adept at solving problems. He or she needs to be proficient with the tools and equipment of the profession, and adaptable to change in a field known for continuously developing technology. Communications engineers should also be detail-oriented to work with complex components and systems and understand math principles to design and troubleshoot electrical components.

Career and Economic Outlook

For individuals with a bachelor's degree in electronics and communications engineering, the entry-level median salary for an electronics engineer was $67,261 as of May 2016, according to Salary.com. Despite an anticipated demand for more electronic goods, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not foresee any employment growth in the U.S. for electronics engineers over the 2014-2024 decade due to intense foreign competition. Job decline was expected to be 1% overall for electronics engineers during that time.

Alternate Career Options

Check out some other options below in engineering and electronics:

Sales Engineer

With a bachelor's degree in engineering, along with technical understanding of certain services and products, these engineers sell complicated technological and scientific services and products to businesses. The BLS revealed their median annual salary as $97,650 in 2015 and predicted average employment growth of 7% during the 2014-2024 decade for sales engineers.

Electrician

Usually learning their skills through an apprenticeship, electricians are required to be licensed in most states, in order to install communications equipment, lighting and electrical power in businesses and houses. With good employment prospects expected between 2014 and 2024, electricians were predicted to see faster than average job growth of 14% by the BLS. The annual median wage among these professionals was $51,880 in 2015.

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