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Become An Electrical Designer

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Working As An Electrical Designer

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

  • $70,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Electrical Designer 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 An Electrical Designer

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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Electrical Designer Career Paths

Electrical Designer
Electrical Engineer Project Engineer
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Designer
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Project Manager Owner
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Owner Project Superintendent
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Owner Maintenance Manager
Facilities Maintenance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Electrical Design Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Electrical Design Engineer Senior Electrical Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Design Consultant Interior Designer
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Process Engineer Plant Engineer
Plant Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Electrical Design Engineer Senior Electrical Engineer
Electrical Engineering Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Owner/Operator Construction Manager
Capital Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Electrical Project Engineer Controls Engineer Project Controls Engineer
Controls Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Engineer Maintenance Supervisor Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Electrical Project Engineer Senior Project Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Systems Engineer Radio Frequency Engineer Senior Field Engineer
Field Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Electrical Project Engineer Senior Project Engineer Project Lead Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Controls Engineer Lead Engineer Section Manager
Manager Of Engineering Department
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Electrical Designer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Plumbing Designer 6.0 years
Draftsman/Designer 4.3 years
Autocad Designer 3.5 years
Electrical Drafter 2.9 years
Controls Designer 2.9 years
Top Careers Before Electrical Designer
Designer 10.4%
Drafter 6.4%
Draftsman 5.9%
Top Careers After Electrical Designer
Designer 8.5%
Owner 2.0%

Do you work as an Electrical Designer?

Electrical Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

77.8%

Female

16.3%

Unknown

5.9%
Ethnicity

White

60.2%

Hispanic or Latino

16.4%

Black or African American

10.5%

Asian

8.6%

Unknown

4.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.7%

French

6.7%

Turkish

4.0%

Russian

4.0%

Cantonese

4.0%

Hindi

2.7%

Mandarin

2.7%

Ukrainian

2.7%

Carrier

2.7%

Tagalog

2.7%

Italian

2.7%

Portuguese

2.7%

Japanese

2.7%

Swedish

1.3%

Gujarati

1.3%

Korean

1.3%

Bengali

1.3%

Navajo

1.3%

Urdu

1.3%

Chinese

1.3%
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Electrical Designer Education

Schools

Houston Community College

11.6%

University of Houston

9.7%

Pennsylvania State University

9.4%

University of Phoenix

8.1%

Texas State Technical College - Waco

5.2%

Central Piedmont Community College

4.5%

Wentworth Institute of Technology

4.5%

Pittsburgh Technical Institute

4.5%

Purdue University

4.2%

ITT Technical Institute-Houston West

3.9%

A-Technical College

3.9%

Greenville Technical College

3.9%

Bakersfield College

3.5%

Lee College

3.5%

Northeastern University

3.5%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.2%

Delgado Community College

3.2%

Old Dominion University

3.2%

Cleveland State University

3.2%

San Jacinto College District

3.2%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

28.6%

Drafting And Design

22.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

13.4%

Business

6.1%

Engineering

4.3%

Industrial Technology

2.9%

Engineering Technology

2.3%

Computer Science

2.2%

Mechanical Engineering

2.1%

Project Management

1.8%

Architecture

1.7%

Graphic Design

1.7%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.6%

Management

1.4%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.4%

Computer Engineering

1.3%

General Studies

1.3%

Electromechanical Instrumentation And Maintenance Technologies/Technicians

1.2%

Architectural Engineering

1.2%

Education

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

29.5%

Associate

28.1%

Other

28.1%

Masters

6.6%

Certificate

5.8%

Diploma

1.6%

License

0.2%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$70,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$51,000
Min 10%
$70,000
Median 50%
$70,000
Median 50%
$70,000
Median 50%
$70,000
Median 50%
$70,000
Median 50%
$70,000
Median 50%
$70,000
Median 50%
$96,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Arup Group
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Washington
Avg Experience Level
5.0 years
How much does an Electrical Designer make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Electrical Designer in the United States is $70,573 per year or $34 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $51,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $96,000.

Real Electrical Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Lead Electrical Designer Worleyparsons Group, Inc. Houston, TX Jul 15, 2013 $248,331
Electrical Designer Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals, Inc. Houston, TX Jun 28, 2016 $133,800
Electrical Designer (Engineer) Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. Houston, TX Nov 01, 2014 $116,459 -
$130,464
Electrical/Electronics Applications Design Enginee Lg Chem Power, Inc. Troy, MI Mar 17, 2014 $110,000
Principal Electrical Designer I CB&I Inc. Houston, TX May 17, 2012 $103,958 -
$143,147
Electrical Designer (Engineer) Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. Houston, TX Nov 01, 2011 $95,700 -
$113,256
Electrical Designer International Plant Services, LLC Houston, TX Sep 26, 2015 $93,600
Electrical Designer Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 21, 2013 $91,146 -
$120,360
Electrical Designer Lam Research Corporation Fremont, CA Aug 22, 2016 $90,000
Electrical Designer Global Edge Solutions, LLC Bakersfield, CA Sep 18, 2014 $89,440
Electrical Designer WFT Engineering, Inc. Gaithersburg, MD May 21, 2012 $85,000 -
$95,000
Electrical Designer WFT Engineering, Inc. Gaithersburg, MD Sep 16, 2014 $85,000 -
$95,000
Electrical Designer Fishbone Solutions, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 07, 2013 $81,536 -
$100,000
Electrical Designer Henningson, Durham & Richardson, PC New York, NY Sep 15, 2013 $75,837
Electrical Engineer Design Drafter Entegee, Inc. MA Mar 14, 2011 $75,132
Electrical Designer Glumac Los Angeles, CA Aug 31, 2016 $72,544
Electrical Designer Exp U.S. Services Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 24, 2016 $72,322 -
$83,000
Electrical Engineering Design Drafter RCM Technologies (USA), Inc. Oakland, NJ Oct 27, 2016 $72,072
Electrical Designer Randall Lamb Associates San Francisco, CA Sep 01, 2015 $71,469
Electrical Designer Walter Dorwin Teague Associates (Washington), Inc. Seattle, WA Sep 16, 2011 $70,003
Electrical Designer Berg Power Engineers, Inc. West Covina, CA Oct 01, 2012 $63,257
Electrical Designer/Drafter Storms & Lowe Associates Los Angeles, CA Mar 07, 2013 $63,257
Electrical Engineering Design Drafter Design Alaska, Inc. Fairbanks, AK Mar 01, 2011 $62,610
Electrical Designer United Power Technologies LLC Owings Mills, MD Sep 01, 2015 $62,483
Electrical Designer Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. Goldsboro, NC Mar 09, 2016 $62,067 -
$67,000
Electrical Designer Vantran Industries Waco, TX Nov 04, 2014 $62,000
Electrical Design Ephesus Remodeling, LLC Smyrna, GA Oct 01, 2012 $61,567
Electrical Designer EDG2, Inc. Bethesda, MD Sep 17, 2013 $61,152

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Top Skills for An Electrical Designer

  1. Electrical Systems
  2. Control Panels
  3. Autocad
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided recommendations for upgrading equipment, and possible solutions to correct problems with existing electrical systems.
  • Inspected locally fabricated control panels for proper assembly/wiring and approved shipping to job-site.
  • Provide assistance in creating routine design layouts and detailed drawings with AutoCAD per hand sketches/red lines to suit engineering changes.
  • Investigated, analyzed and made recommendations for improvements to design processes for the Lighting section and Electrical Engineering department.
  • Coordinate project design requirements with various project discipline engineers for completing electrical design packages.

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Top 10 Best States for Electrical Designers

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Texas
  3. Washington
  4. Arizona
  5. New Mexico
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Alaska
  8. Delaware
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Alabama
  • (443 jobs)
  • (786 jobs)
  • (366 jobs)
  • (275 jobs)
  • (56 jobs)
  • (76 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (36 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)
  • (162 jobs)

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