A communications engineer might work in a variety of fields, including networking, telecommunications, internet, radio and computing technologies. Those pursuing a job in this area could be expected to hold a four-year degree.
Bachelor's degrees specifically in communications engineering are rare, though they do exist. More often, communications engineering is a specialization taught in more general bachelor's degree programs, most commonly electronics engineering. As such, it is typical for students to acquire a number of different skills during study. Some of these engineering programs are more intensive and take an additional year to complete. Internships or apprenticeships are usually required for these five-year programs.
Programs prepare students to succeed in the essential job duties of a communications engineer, which might include finding solutions to problems in network design, mobile communications, internet protocols, networking protocols and data servicing requirements.
Bachelor's Degree in Communications Engineering
The strongest applicants to communications engineering programs will have work or volunteer experience in the field as well as strong aptitudes in math, science and computer technology. Applicants may also be required to submit high school transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation and a personal essay.
Classes in bachelor's degree programs in communications engineering take place in both the classroom and the lab, teaching students theory and then giving them a format in which to apply it. Internships are also common and supplement skills learned in the classroom. Here are some courses you might see in the curriculum:
- Fiber optics
- Radio communication
- Internet protocol
- Network design
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) predicted that the employment rate for electronics engineers, which includes communications engineering, would decline slightly, by 1%, between 2014 and 2024.
Electronics engineers made an annual median salary of $98,270, as of May 2015. The lowest-paid engineers made less than $63,430, while the top-paid brought home more than $151,990.
Typically, students interested in communications engineering enter into four-year bachelor's degree programs in a related field, such as electronics engineering, and take classes to specialize in communications engineering. They can also pursue communications engineering degree programs to prepare for entry into the workforce.