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Electrical and electronics engineers must have a bachelor’s degree. Employers also value practical experience, so participation in cooperative engineering programs, in which students earn academic credit for structured work experience. Having a Professional Engineer (PE) license may improve an engineer’s chances of finding employment.Education
High school students interested in studying electrical or electronics engineering benefit from taking courses in physics and mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. Courses in drafting are also helpful, because electrical and electronics engineers often are required to prepare technical drawings.
In order to enter the occupation, prospective electrical and electronics engineers need a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, electronics engineering, or electrical engineering technology. Programs include classroom, laboratory, and field studies. Courses include digital systems design, differential equations, and electrical circuit theory. Programs in electrical engineering, electronics engineering, or electrical engineering technology should be accredited by ABET.
Some colleges and universities offer cooperative programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education. Cooperative programs combine classroom study with practical work. Internships provide similar experience and are growing in number.
At some universities, students can enroll in a 5-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as an instructor at some universities, or in research and development.Important Qualities
Concentration. Electrical and electronics engineers design and develop complex electrical systems and electronic components and products. They must be able to keep track of multiple design elements and technical characteristics when performing these tasks.
Initiative. Electrical and electronics engineers must be able to apply their knowledge to new tasks in every project they undertake. In addition, they must engage in continuing education to keep up with changes in technology.
Interpersonal skills. Electrical and electronics engineers must be able to work with others during the manufacturing process to ensure that their plans are implemented correctly. This collaboration includes monitoring technicians and devising remedies to problems as they arise.
Math skills. Electrical and electronics engineers must be able to use the principles of calculus and other advanced math in order to analyze, design, and troubleshoot equipment.
Speaking skills. Electrical and electronics engineers work closely with other engineers and technicians. They must be able to explain their designs and reasoning clearly and to relay instructions during product development and production. They also may need to explain complex issues to customers who have little or no technical expertise.
Writing skills. Electrical and electronics engineers develop technical publications related to equipment they develop, including maintenance manuals, operation manuals, parts lists, product proposals, and design methods documents.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as electrical and electronics engineers. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires
The initial Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam can be taken right after graduation from a college or university. Engineers who pass this exam commonly are called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After getting work experience, EITs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam.
Several states require engineers to take continuing education courses to keep their license. Most states recognize licensure from other states if the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements.Advancement
Electrical and electronic engineers may advance to supervisory positions in which they lead a team of engineers and technicians. Some may move to management positions, working as engineering or program managers. Preparation for managerial positions usually requires working under the guidance of a more experienced engineer. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.
For sales work, an engineering background enables engineers to discuss a product's technical aspects and assist in product planning and use. For more information, see the profile on sales engineers.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Communications Engineer
Top Careers After Communications Engineer
Hispanic or Latino8.8%
Black or African American0.7%
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University of Phoenix18.4%
Community College of the Air Force7.8%
George Washington University6.4%
University of Maryland - University College5.7%
Colorado Technical University5.0%
George Mason University5.0%
University of Colorado at Boulder4.3%
More Tech Institute4.3%
Florida Institute of Technology-Melbourne3.5%
Georgia Institute of Technology -3.5%
Pennsylvania State University3.5%
Johns Hopkins University3.5%
University of Texas at Austin3.5%
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University3.5%
University of Maryland - College Park3.5%
University of Houston2.8%
Tennessee State University2.8%
University of Southern California2.8%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Director-Communication Engineering||IB Technology Solutions Inc.||Santa Clara, CA||Mar 09, 2015||$155,000|
|Scalability Engineer Communications Infrastructure||Zillow, Inc.||WA||Jun 20, 2016||$150,000|
|Protocol Communication Engineer||Applied Systems Engineering, Inc.||Campbell, CA||Jul 09, 2016||$138,403|
|Search/Community Web Engineer||Autodesk, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Jul 06, 2013||$124,987 -
|Communications Engineer||Bensussen Deutsch & Associates, Inc.||Woodinville, WA||Sep 01, 2013||$124,000|
|Unified Communications Engineer Tier III||Continuant, Inc.||Fife, WA||Jun 23, 2016||$121,826|
|Partner Integration Communications Engineer||Intent Media Inc.||New York, NY||Oct 20, 2014||$115,000|
|IOS Communications Engineer||Apple Inc.||Cupertino, CA||Aug 04, 2014||$110,000 -
|Principal Wireless Communications Engineer||RF DSP, Inc.||Irvine, CA||Sep 18, 2014||$110,000 -
|Principal Wireless Communications Engineer||RF DSP, Inc.||Irvine, CA||Sep 04, 2014||$110,000 -
|Partner Integration Communication Engineer||Intent Media Inc.||New York, NY||Jan 09, 2016||$105,000 -
|Wireless Communications Engineer||Danlaw, Inc.||Farmington Hills, MI||Nov 21, 2011||$105,000|
|IOS Communications Frameworks Engineer||Apple Inc.||Cupertino, CA||Jan 03, 2011||$105,000|
|Radio Communications Engineer||Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority||Atlanta, GA||Dec 01, 2010||$86,549 -
|Communications Engineer||KPK Technologies Inc.||MD||Oct 01, 2014||$85,717|
|Communications Engineering Lead||Allegis Group, Inc.||MD||Oct 01, 2014||$85,000|
|Unified Communications Engineer II||HCA Management Services LP||Nashville, TN||Jan 08, 2016||$85,000 -
|Communications Engineering Lead||Allegis Group, Inc.||MD||Oct 01, 2011||$85,000|
|Satellite Communications Engineer||Tigrisnet, Inc.||Santa Monica, CA||Jan 25, 2012||$80,266|
|Supervisor, Communication Engineering||Nstar Electric & Gas Corporation||Westwood, MA||Sep 17, 2011||$80,200 -
|Print Communication Engineer||Financial Engines, Inc.||Palo Alto, CA||Nov 15, 2012||$78,946|
|Communication Engineer||Altigen Communications, Inc.||San Jose, CA||Oct 11, 2013||$68,328|
|Unified Communications Engineer||HCA Management Services LP||Nashville, TN||Aug 01, 2015||$68,000 -
|Communications Engineer||Bombardier Transportation (Holdings) USA, Inc.||Pittsburgh, PA||May 16, 2014||$68,000 -
|Computer Communication Engineer||KBI & Co., Inc.||Cerritos, CA||Oct 01, 2011||$67,890|
|Information Technology & Communications Engineer||OVE ARUP & Partners PC||New York, NY||Apr 19, 2013||$67,621|
|Communications Engineer||KPK Technologies Inc.||Cerritos, CA||Oct 01, 2011||$67,000|
|Print Communication Engineer||Financial Engines||Palo Alto, CA||Nov 15, 2009||$66,976 -
|Unified Communications Engineer||Mehra Innovations, Inc.||Middletown, NJ||Nov 01, 2013||$66,784|
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