How to Become an Electronic Engineer

Mar 04, 2020

Learn how to become an electronic engineer. Research the education and career requirements, licensure and experience required for starting a career as an electronic engineer.

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Should I Become an Electronic Engineer?

Electronic engineers focus on the manufacturing of various types of electronic equipment, including communications and navigation systems, motors, and power generation equipment. To manufacture these pieces of equipment and devices, electronic engineers create designs and build prototypes. Most work is accomplished in offices, although site visits are sometimes required.

Prospective electronic engineers must earn at least a bachelor's degree in electronic engineering. While not required, passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exams to obtain licensing may be preferred by employers.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Name Electronic engineering
Licensure Obtaining licensure in the field may be preferred
Key Skills Strong communication skills; attention to detail; the ability to work as part of a team; knowledge of how to design electronic components, converters, and circuitry; computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) skills
Median Salary (2020) $77,130 (for electronic engineers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS);; job postings

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Let's look at the steps necessary to become an electronic engineer.

Most job openings for electronic engineers require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from a program accredited by ABET. These 4-year engineering programs are often housed in computer or electrical engineering departments. They have significant mathematical requirements that can include a sequence in calculus plus a differential equations course. Students may also be required to complete a physics sequence.

Electronic engineering curricula for undergraduates often include coursework in circuitry, communications systems, and computer programming. Some courses include technical labs in addition to lectures. The capstone of many electronic engineering programs is the senior design project, in which students research and design an original concept. Many students also choose to pursue cooperative internships in the summer to gain practical work experience.

Potential electronic engineers may also want to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. The first section of the FE covers math, science, and basic engineering topics, including materials and mechanics. The second section tests individuals on their specific discipline. Engineers who pass the exam earn the Engineer in Training or Engineer Intern designation.

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2018, the industries that employed the most electronic engineers were the

engineering services, and the electric power generation, transmission and distribution sectors. Additional industries that offered high levels of employment included navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing, and research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences. The BLS reports that job growth is estimated to increase by 5% from 2018-2028. The highest area of employment for many electronic engineers is projected to be within professional, scientific, and technical services firms.

Step 3: Pass the PE Exam

After four years of work experience, electronic engineers can sit for the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. Electronic engineers can select the electrical and electronics version of the PE, which covers topics that include electronics, digital systems, and communications. Passing the PE is typically the last step that individuals must take to become licensed engineers. Passing this exam can create better career opportunities and advancement for engineers.

Electronic engineers need at least a bachelor's degree in the field. Taking and passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exams can help open better career opportunities.

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