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Become A Contract Electrical Engineer

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Working As A Contract Electrical Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $93,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Contract Electrical Engineer Do

Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment, such as electric motors, radar and navigation systems, communications systems, or power generation equipment. Electrical engineers also design the electrical systems of automobiles and aircraft.

Electronics engineers design and develop electronic equipment, such as broadcast and communications systems, from portable music players to global positioning systems (GPSs). Many also work in areas closely related to computer hardware.

Duties

Electrical engineers typically do the following:

  • Design new ways to use electrical power to develop or improve products
  • Perform detailed calculations to develop manufacturing, construction, and installation standards and specifications
  • Direct the manufacture, installation, and testing of electrical equipment to ensure that products meet specifications and codes
  • Investigate complaints from customers or the public, evaluate problems, and recommend solutions
  • Work with project managers on production efforts to ensure that projects are completed satisfactorily, on time, and within budget

Electronics engineers typically do the following:

  • Design electronic components, software, products, or systems for commercial, industrial, medical, military, or scientific applications
  • Analyze customer needs and determine the requirements, capacity, and cost for developing an electrical system plan
  • Develop maintenance and testing procedures for electronic components and equipment
  • Evaluate systems and recommend design modifications or equipment repair
  • Inspect electronic equipment, instruments, and systems to make sure that they meet safety standards and applicable regulations
  • Plan and develop applications and modifications for electronic properties used in parts and systems in order to improve technical performance

Electronics engineers who work for the federal government research, develop, and evaluate electronic devices used in a variety of areas, such as aviation, computing, transportation, and manufacturing. They work on federal electronic devices and systems, including satellites, flight systems, radar and sonar systems, and communications systems.

The work of electrical engineers and electronics engineers is often similar. Both use engineering and design software and equipment to do engineering tasks. Both types of engineers also must work with other engineers to discuss existing products and possibilities for engineering projects.

Engineers whose work is related exclusively to computer hardware are considered computer hardware engineers.

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How To Become A Contract Electrical Engineer

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

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

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.

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Contract Electrical Engineer Career Paths

Contract Electrical Engineer
Electrical Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Project Engineer Systems Engineer
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Engineer Project Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Engineer Project Manager Product Manager
Product Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Engineer Principal Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Electrical Project Engineer Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Engineering Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Electrical Project Engineer Senior Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Electrical Project Engineer Senior Project Engineer Lead Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Application Engineer
Applications Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Electrical Design Engineer Systems Engineer Manager, Systems Engineering
Director Of Systems Engineering
12 Yearsyrs
Electrical Design Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Electrical Design Engineer Senior Electrical Designer
Senior Electrical Design Engineer
11 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Process Engineer Plant Engineer
Plant Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Research And Development Engineer Test Engineer
Test Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Senior Design Engineer Senior Hardware Engineer
Lead Hardware Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Contracting Engineer Radio Frequency Engineer Senior Field Engineer
Field Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Contracting Engineer Senior Project Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Contracting Engineer Senior Engineer Project Lead Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Electronics Engineer Lead Engineer Section Manager
Manager Of Engineering Department
7 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Contract Electrical Engineer
Consultant 2.5%
Engineer 2.2%
Top Careers After Contract Electrical Engineer
Engineer 3.7%
Owner 2.9%

Do you work as a Contract Electrical Engineer?

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Contract Electrical Engineer?

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Top Skills for A Contract Electrical Engineer

  1. PLC
  2. Autocad
  3. PCB
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Analyzed existing relay control panels and provided specifications for a new PLC system to replace old control system.
  • Performed AutoCAD drafting of electrical one-line diagrams, conduit routing, equipment plans and details for facility power modifications.
  • Designed mixed-signal PCB and successfully integrated device into existing test subsystem.
  • Prepared I/O documents, co-ordinate Prepared design change packages to upgrade control systems of waste storage tanks.
  • Test electronic assemblies and assist in writing and editing test procedures.

Contract Electrical Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

80.9%

Unknown

10.1%

Female

9.0%
Ethnicity

White

60.3%

Hispanic or Latino

14.8%

Asian

10.7%

Black or African American

9.8%

Unknown

4.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Mandarin

18.2%

Hindi

18.2%

Spanish

18.2%

Telugu

9.1%

French

9.1%

Carrier

9.1%

Malayalam

9.1%

Urdu

9.1%
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Contract Electrical Engineer Education

Schools

Purdue University

7.5%

Washington State University

6.0%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

6.0%

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

6.0%

Texas A&M University

6.0%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

6.0%

University of Florida

4.5%

Arizona State University

4.5%

San Jose State University

4.5%

University of Central Florida

4.5%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.5%

University of Illinois at Chicago

4.5%

Pennsylvania State University

4.5%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.5%

University of Memphis

4.5%

University of Houston

4.5%

West Virginia University

4.5%

Michigan State University

4.5%

Northeastern University

4.5%

Kansas State University

4.5%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

70.8%

Electrical Engineering Technology

6.2%

Computer Engineering

4.6%

Engineering

3.5%

Computer Science

1.5%

Project Management

1.5%

Management

1.2%

Business

1.2%

Information Systems

1.2%

Mechanical Engineering

1.2%

Systems Engineering

0.8%

Science, Technology, And Society

0.8%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

0.8%

Drafting And Design

0.8%

Pharmacy

0.8%

Mathematics

0.8%

Engineering Technology

0.8%

Physics

0.8%

Civil Engineering

0.8%

Educational Technology

0.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

57.5%

Masters

24.2%

Other

10.5%

Associate

3.2%

Certificate

2.1%

Doctorate

1.8%

Diploma

0.7%
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