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Become An Electrical Controls Engineer

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Working As An Electrical Controls Engineer

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

  • $74,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Electrical Controls 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.


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 An Electrical Controls 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.


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.


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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125,799 Electrical Controls Engineer jobs

Atlanta, GA
Jr. Electrical Controls Engineer

$75,133 Estimated

Atlanta, GA
Jr. Electrical Controls Engineer

$75,133 Estimated

Masco Corporation
Longmont, CO
Electrical Controls Engineer

$80,435 Estimated

Berry Global Inc.
Evansville, IN
Electrical Controls Engineer

$66,190 Estimated

Westford, MA
Electrical Controls Engineer - Manufacturing

$88,571 Estimated

FCA-Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Detroit, MI
Electrical / Controls Engineer

$81,179 Estimated

Eaton Corporation
Waukesha, WI
Electrical Controls Engineer

$74,371 Estimated

Job Juncture
Belleville, WI
Electrical Controls Engineer

$70,279 Estimated

Oxnard, CA
Electrical & Controls Engineer

$91,412 Estimated

Design Technologies & Mfg. Co.
Troy, OH
Software Electrical / Controls Engineer

$69,995 Estimated

Kelly Services
Longmont, CO
Electrical Controls Engineer

$80,435 Estimated

Amec Foster Wheeler
Kansas City, MO
Electrical Controls Engineer

$77,477 Estimated

Southington, CT
Electrical Controls Engineer

$78,012 Estimated

Belcan Corporation
Lebanon, OH
Electrical Controls Engineer

$64,831 Estimated

Greenfield, IN
Electrical Controls Engineer

$66,190 Estimated

Volt Workforce Solutions
Loveland, CO

$80,435 Estimated

Wauseon MacHine and Manufacturing
Wauseon, OH
Sr. Electrical Controls Engineer

$68,740 Estimated

Link Engineering Company
Plymouth, MI
Electrical Controls Engineer

$81,179 Estimated

Amec Foster Wheeler
Wilmington Island, GA
Electrical Controls Engineer

$74,386 Estimated

Tucson, AZ
Senior Electrical Controls Engineer

$65,722 Estimated

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Real Electrical Controls Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Electrical Control Engineer Park Plus Inc. Fairview, NJ Aug 31, 2016 $130,333
Electrical Controls Engineer Waldrich Coburg Na, Inc. Lafayette, IN Oct 09, 2015 $116,052
Electrical Controls Engineer Waldrich Coburg Na, Inc. Lafayette, IN Sep 13, 2013 $116,052
Electrical and Control Engineers 3 Ovivo USA, LLC Malta, NY Sep 01, 2015 $110,090
Electrical Protection-Control Engineer Falconbridge Services, LLC Jacksonville, FL Sep 17, 2016 $105,000
Electric Motor Control Calibration Engineer General Motors Company Pontiac, MI Dec 04, 2016 $105,000
Electrical & Control Engineer Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc. Houston, TX Jan 04, 2013 $103,958 -
Electrical Control & Instrumentation Engineer Neuman & Esser USA, Inc. Katy, TX Aug 28, 2014 $103,000
Electrical Control and Instrumentation Engineer Neuman & Esser USA, Inc. Katy, TX Oct 06, 2016 $103,000
Electrical Controls Engineer Epitec, Inc. Warren, MI Sep 24, 2016 $99,840
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Top Skills for An Electrical Controls Engineer


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Top Electrical Controls Engineer Skills

  1. PLC
  2. Control System Design
  3. HMI
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Develop and edit AB 1799 Embedded I/O card PLC programming code using RS Networx software.
  • Specialize in control system design for the industrial division.
  • Designed and installed Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs).
  • Create electrical schematics and panel designs using AutoCad Electrical.
  • Support Case Machining Area: Flow Pro and Ladder logic controlled with Taylor based editing system.

Top Electrical Controls Engineer Employers

What Kind Of Companies Hire an Electrical Controls Engineer

  1. CEC Entertainment
  2. Private OEM
  3. TAS Energy Inc.
  4. Kiewit Corporation
  5. General Electric
  6. Jacobs Engineering
  7. Martinrea
  8. The Experts
  9. United Sortation Solutions
  10. National Oilwell Varco
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