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Electrical Engineering (EE) Employment Information & Career Requirements

Learn about the work responsibilities of a electrical engineer. Find out what education and skills are necessary as well as salary and job outlook info to decide if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition for Electrical Engineering

People with electrical engineering careers design and implement electronic components used in a wide variety of products. Having a strong background in computers is required for a successful electrical engineering career. At least a bachelor's degree is required to be an electrical engineer; a master's degree or doctorate may be needed to reach the top levels of the profession.

Education Bachelor's degree required, master's and doctoral programs also available for advancement
Job Skills Computer skills, science and math background, creative thinking, technical writing, public speaking
Median Salary (2015)* $93,010 for electrical engineers
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 1% for electrical engineers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

In order to pursue an electrical engineering career, one must have at least a bachelor's degree; advanced degrees and specialties are usually required for advancement in the field. Most colleges and universities that offer electrical engineering, or EE, programs require students to apply for entrance into a separate school of engineering; one can expect classes heavy in math, physics, computer science, chemistry, statistics and basic engineering. Degrees offered in the field include a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, a Bachelor of Engineering with a concentration in Electrical Engineering, a Master of Engineering or Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering.

Skills Required

Being highly skilled with computers has become a necessity for those interested in an electrical engineering career; in addition, one must have an interest in science and math to obtain any job in the field. An ability to think outside the box is also needed, since those with electrical engineering careers search for innovative ways to incorporate electronics into everyday products and high-tech machines. People interested in an electrical engineering career must have a background in technical writing and public speaking because people in the field frequently craft memos and make presentations.

Career and Economic Outlook for Electrical Engineers

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that over 178,000 electrical engineering jobs existed as of 2014. The BLS also states that job growth is expected at 1%; this is slower than the national average because of the decline in manufacturing in the United States. As of May 2015, the median wage for electrical engineers was $93,010.

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Alternative Careers

You can also look into these other options for careers revolving around electrical engineering:

Electrical Engineering Technician

For those wanting to work on electrical designs in an engineering lab but uninterested in pursuing an advanced engineering degree, becoming an electrical engineering technician may be the right option. These engineering technicians work alongside engineers, assisting them in designing and producing prototypes of electrical equipment, parts and computer systems. They also repair damaged devices, produce diagrams and other schematics, run performance tests, troubleshoot issues and compile data into detailed reports. An associate degree in electrical engineering technology is usually necessary when looking for a job in the field, and coursework should include circuitry, computer technology, programming and physics.

Based on projections from the BLS, electrical and electronics engineering technicians will see a drop of 2% in the number of employment opportunities between 2014 and 2024, primarily because of decreased U.S. manufacturing. In 2015, these engineering technicians earned a median yearly income of $61,130.

Electro-Mechanical Technician

If installing, repairing and performing maintenance on electro-mechanical devices such as robotic manufacturing equipment sounds intriguing, consider becoming an electro-mechanical technician. Duties of these technicians also include creating metal parts with the use of machining tools, assembling equipment after reviewing drawings and blueprints, testing and measuring device components and upgrading systems. To qualify for a position, a certificate or associate degree in electro-mechanics, mechatronics or a related field is required. Optional professional certification in automation or power testing may provide a competitive advantage in the job market. Electro-mechanical technicians should experience 1% growth in employment during the 2014-2024 decade, as reported by the BLS. The BLS also determined that the median salary for this profession was $53,340 in 2015.

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