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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.
Hispanic or Latino9.2%
Black or African American1.1%
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Average Length of Employment
Pennsylvania State University8.6%
Iowa State University6.6%
Texas A&M University6.2%
Rochester Institute of Technology5.7%
Michigan State University5.3%
Georgia Institute of Technology -5.1%
University of Texas at Austin4.9%
Arizona State University4.9%
University of Florida4.7%
Texas Tech University4.3%
San Jose State University4.2%
State University of New York Buffalo4.1%
West Virginia University4.1%
University of Houston4.1%
University of Southern California3.9%
University of Illinois at Chicago3.9%
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University3.8%
Ohio State University3.8%
Missouri University of Science and Technology3.7%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Bridge Test Engineer Intern||Illinois Central Railroad Company||Homewood, IL||Aug 09, 2016||$79,700|
|Bridge Test Engineer Intern||Illinois Central Railroad Company||Homewood, IL||Dec 31, 2014||$76,000|
|Engineering Intern||C.H. Fenstermaker and Associates, Inc.||New Orleans, LA||Jan 10, 2016||$73,996|
|Engineer Intern II||Stanley Consultants, Inc.||Chicago, IL||May 18, 2015||$73,000|
|Bridge Test Engineer Intern||Illinois Central Railroad Company||Homewood, IL||Sep 08, 2013||$72,700|
|Intern Engineer||JWL Associates||Hacienda Heights, CA||Jan 08, 2016||$69,497|
|Engineer Intern II||Stanley Consultants, Inc.||Muscatine, IA||Sep 30, 2014||$69,200|
|Coastal Engineer Intern||HDR Engineering, Inc.||Lafayette, LA||Oct 27, 2016||$68,806|
|Staff Engineer (Intern Junior||Keystone Engineering Inc.||Metairie, LA||Sep 18, 2013||$68,640|
|Coastal Engineer Intern||HDR Engineering, Inc.||Lafayette, LA||Nov 09, 2016||$67,995|
|Engineering Intern||C.H. Fenstermaker and Associates, Inc.||New Orleans, LA||Mar 08, 2016||$67,330|
|Bridge Test Engineer Intern||Illinois Central Railroad Company||Homewood, IL||Sep 08, 2010||$66,625|
|Engineer Intern||Marlin Engineering, Inc.||Miami, FL||Oct 01, 2009||$65,978|
|Engineer Intern||SWRF, L.L.C.||Tampa, FL||Mar 27, 2010||$60,231 -
|Geotechnical Engineer Intern||DEVO Seereeram, PHD., P.E., LLC||Orlando, FL||Jun 01, 2014||$60,000|
|Engineer Intern||Morcom, N.V., Inc.||Chicago, IL||Jul 11, 2014||$59,987|
|Transportation Drainage Engineering Intern||Inwood Consulting Engineers, Inc.||Oviedo, FL||Sep 18, 2016||$59,842 -
|Engineering Intern II||Meshek & Associates, PLC||Tulsa, OK||Sep 18, 2011||$59,500|
|Engineer Intern||Morcom, N.V., Inc.||Chicago, IL||Feb 20, 2013||$59,360|
|Engineer Intern||Clark Dietz, Inc.||Indianapolis, IN||Jun 03, 2013||$59,030|
|Engineer Intern||Clark Dietz, Inc.||Champaign, IL||Sep 15, 2011||$55,536|
|Engineer Intern||City of Cincinnati Metropolitan Sewer District||Cincinnati, OH||Oct 01, 2012||$55,472|
|Engineer Intern II||Neel Schaffer Inc.||Baton Rouge, LA||Aug 25, 2015||$55,400|
|Engineer Intern||Stuart Consulting Group, Inc.||Metairie, LA||Aug 24, 2015||$55,136|
|Global Intern/Engineer||Magnesita Refractories Company N.A.||York, PA||Jan 15, 2011||$55,000|
|Trainee Intern Engineer||Nathelyne A. Kennedy & Associates, LP||Houston, TX||Aug 25, 2015||$55,000|
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