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Become A Field Electrical Engineer

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Working As A Field Electrical Engineer

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

  • $83,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Field 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 Field 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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Field Electrical Engineer Career Paths

Field Electrical Engineer
Senior Electrical Engineer Project Manager Owner
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Engineer Project Manager Owner/Operator
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Electrical Engineer Principal Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Electrical Superintendent Construction Manager Owner
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Electrical Superintendent Project Superintendent Assistant Project Manager
Project Engineering Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Electrical Superintendent Construction Manager
Capital Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Systems Engineer Engineer
Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Project Controls Engineer
Controls Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Lead Field Engineer Construction Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Principal Superintendent
Project And Field Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Lead Field Engineer Superintendent Mechanical Superintendent
Area Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Electrical Supervisor Supervisor Unit Manager
Section Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Electrical Supervisor Maintenance Manager Regional Service Manager
Area Service Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Electrical Supervisor Project Superintendent Project Engineering Manager
Plant Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Commissioning Engineer Senior Engineer Senior Engineering Manager
Senior Program And Engineering Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Commissioning Engineer Senior Engineer Project Lead Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Lead Lead Engineer Section Manager
Manager Of Engineering Department
7 Yearsyrs
Commissioning Engineer Start-Up Engineer Lead Mechanical Engineer
Commissioning Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Radio Frequency Engineer Senior Field Engineer
Field Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Field Electrical Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Electrical Manager 3.8 years
Field Engineer 3.1 years
Top Careers Before Field Electrical Engineer
Owner 3.9%
Foreman 3.9%
Engineer 3.3%
Planner 2.9%
Top Careers After Field Electrical Engineer
Planner 4.0%
Engineer 2.7%

Do you work as a Field Electrical Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$83,000
Show Salaries
$60,000
Min 10%
$83,000
Median 50%
$83,000
Median 50%
$83,000
Median 50%
$83,000
Median 50%
$83,000
Median 50%
$83,000
Median 50%
$83,000
Median 50%
$116,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Bechtel
Highest Paying City
Oakland, CA
Highest Paying State
District of Columbia
Avg Experience Level
2.8 years
How much does a Field Electrical Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Field Electrical Engineer in the United States is $83,960 per year or $40 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $60,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $117,000.

Real Field Electrical Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Electrical Field Engineer Bechtel Oil, Gas and Chemicals, Inc. Houston, TX Jul 13, 2016 $95,400
Electrical Engineer/Field Service Wartsila North America, Inc. Fort Lauderdale, FL Jan 25, 2013 $83,616
Field Electrical Engineer Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. Cameron, LA Sep 18, 2015 $78,852
Field Electrical Engineer Electric Power Systems International, Inc. Wallingford, CT May 07, 2016 $78,600
Senior Field Electrical Engineer Oberon FMR, Inc. Aurora, CO Jan 23, 2012 $78,263
Field Electrical Engineer Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. Cameron, LA Mar 04, 2014 $76,560
Electrical Field Engineer Aecom Technical Services, Inc. New York, NY Jan 05, 2012 $76,190 -
$125,800
Field Electrical Engineer Security Engineers Inc. Oakland, CA Jun 01, 2012 $73,817
Electrical Field Engineer Robinson Nevada Mining Company Ruth, NV Apr 23, 2014 $70,013
Field Electrical Engineer Security Engineers Inc. Oakland, CA Jun 01, 2011 $69,059
Construction Electrical Field Engineer Bechtel National, Inc. Richland, WA Dec 26, 2009 $66,518 -
$80,820
Field Electrical Engineer Electric Power Systems International, Inc. Brunswick, OH Jun 27, 2016 $65,100
Field Electrical Engineer Security Engineers Oakland, CA Nov 02, 2009 $62,610
Field Electrical Engineer Security Engineers, Inc. Oakland, CA Nov 02, 2009 $62,610

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Top Skills for A Field Electrical Engineer

  1. Electrical Systems
  2. Shop Drawings
  3. High Voltage
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Test and troubleshoot complex electrical systems, moderately complex relay systems and power metering.
  • Process all product data submittals, shop drawings, requests for information and invoices for the permanent station electrical subcontractors.
  • Performed high voltage testing and commissioned new electrical equipment.
  • Worked as an electrical field engineer, prepared construction procedures for installation of electrical raceways, cable pulling and terminations.
  • Retrofitted fiber-optics based data acquisition, automation, and process control systems to existing equipment.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Field Electrical Engineers

  1. New Mexico
  2. Washington
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Texas
  5. Colorado
  6. District of Columbia
  7. New Hampshire
  8. Arizona
  9. California
  10. Oklahoma
  • (201 jobs)
  • (1,074 jobs)
  • (1,270 jobs)
  • (2,377 jobs)
  • (883 jobs)
  • (309 jobs)
  • (348 jobs)
  • (637 jobs)
  • (5,969 jobs)
  • (214 jobs)

Field Electrical Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

86.0%

Unknown

7.6%

Female

6.4%
Ethnicity

White

58.4%

Hispanic or Latino

15.4%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

8.9%

Unknown

5.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

38.9%

French

22.2%

Arabic

22.2%

Chinese

5.6%

Turkish

5.6%

Braille

5.6%
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Field Electrical Engineer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

9.9%

Michigan Technological University

8.5%

Augusta Technical College

7.0%

Louisiana Tech University

5.6%

Texas A&M University

5.6%

Washington State University

4.2%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

4.2%

Prairie View A & M University

4.2%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

4.2%

University of Alabama

4.2%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

Southern University and A & M College

4.2%

University of Houston

4.2%

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

4.2%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.2%

Florida International University

4.2%

West Virginia University

4.2%

Clemson University

4.2%

Purdue University

4.2%

Cleveland State University

4.2%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

51.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

10.9%

Business

7.4%

Engineering

3.2%

Electrical And Power Transmission Installers

3.2%

Computer Engineering

3.0%

Industrial Technology

2.5%

Construction Management

2.0%

Project Management

1.7%

General Studies

1.7%

Finance

1.7%

Industrial Engineering

1.7%

Management

1.5%

Mechanical Engineering

1.5%

Music

1.2%

Computer Science

1.0%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.0%

Criminal Justice

1.0%

Civil Engineering

1.0%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

0.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

48.7%

Other

23.5%

Masters

12.9%

Associate

9.5%

Certificate

2.8%

Diploma

1.9%

Doctorate

0.6%
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