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Telecom Engineer: Career Profile

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a telecom engineer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and career outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

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Telecommunication engineers use their knowledge of electrical systems in order to create, supervise and maintain the electronic equipment used in the telecommunications industry. Aspiring telecom engineers must have at least a bachelor's degree in electronic engineering, but those interested should know it's a highly competitive field. Those who do break in, however, may find themselves earning a median salary of $98,270 a year.

Essential Information

The telecommunications (telecom) engineer career is a fairly new development in engineering specialties and has come about along with the growth of the telecommunications industry. Telecom engineers specialize in designing and maintaining telecommunications systems. They develop, test and supervise the manufacturing of electronic equipment used in this industry; as a result, telecom engineering can be considered a specialization of the electronic engineering field. Telecom engineers need at least a bachelor's degree.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Career Outlook (2014-2024)* -1%
Median Salary (2015)* $98,270

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Electronics engineers, except computer)

Education

Aspiring telecom engineers are almost always required to have a bachelor's degree in electronic engineering or electronics engineering technology. This 4-year degree usually allows for entry-level telecom engineering jobs, though graduate-level education may help with employment prospects and advancement. Courses usually include higher mathematics, including calculus, along with subjects such as electricity and magnetism, mechanics, various forms of electronics and digital communications.

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Skills

In general, successful telecom engineers need an advanced understanding of electrical engineering systems, an ability to grasp complex engineering concepts, an understanding of the function of the telecom industry and the ability to break down advanced concepts into terms co-workers can easily grasp. Other necessary skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, system analysis and operations management.

Job Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted in May 2015 that there were 28,170 engineers employed within the telecommunications industry (www.bls.gov). Most of these individuals were classified as electronics engineers. The BLS predicted that the employment rate for electronics engineers not working with computers is expected to decline by one percent between 2014 and 2024. As the telecom industry continues to develop, there will be a need for engineers who can create and maintain innovative systems for modern corporations; however, many of these individuals employed in the ailing manufacturing sector may see slower job growth or even decline.

The median annual salary for non-computer related electronics engineers was $98,270 in 2015, and higher salaries are common for engineers who hold advanced degrees, according to the BLS. Other engineering specialties that are similar to telecom engineering include materials engineering and computer engineering.

Telecommunication engineers typically hold bachelor's degrees, and they design and maintain the telecommunication systems of telephone, internet and broadcast companies. The demand for electronics engineers who do not work with computers, including telecommunication engineers, is expected to decline by one percent from 2014-2024.

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