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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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Protection Engineer
Top Careers After Protection Engineer
Hispanic or Latino13.0%
Black or African American1.4%
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University of Cincinnati9.1%
University of Illinois at Springfield9.1%
Iowa State University9.1%
University of Maine6.1%
Arizona State University6.1%
University of Phoenix6.1%
University of Pittsburgh -6.1%
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee6.1%
Missouri University of Science and Technology6.1%
University of Iowa6.1%
University of Dayton3.0%
Western Illinois University3.0%
Michigan Technological University3.0%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology3.0%
Kansas State University3.0%
University of Nevada - Reno3.0%
Southeast Missouri State University3.0%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Senior Protection Engineer (Electrical Engineer)||Pacific Gas and Electric Company||San Ramon, CA||Aug 16, 2016||$155,928|
|Senior Protection Engineer||Sebesta, Inc.||Phoenixville, PA||Mar 14, 2016||$115,000|
|Supervisor-System Protection Engineer||Central Maine Power Company||Augusta, ME||Feb 13, 2015||$107,307|
|Supervisor System Protection Engineering||Central Maine Power||Augusta, ME||Aug 15, 2014||$96,914|
|Senior Protection Engineer NE||National Grid USA Service Company, Inc.||Waltham, MA||May 01, 2015||$90,500|
|Senior Protection Engineer NE||National Grid USA Service Company, Inc.||Waltham, MA||Nov 17, 2016||$90,500|
|Engineer, Protection Engineering||National Grid USA Service Company Inc.||Waltham, MA||Sep 14, 2015||$88,150|
|Protection Engineer||Versacom LLC||Wendell, NC||Oct 01, 2009||$87,464 -
|Engineer IV-Protection (Modeling Emphasis)||Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc.||Pullman, WA||Aug 20, 2015||$86,819|
|Relay/System Protection Engineer||Electric Power Systems International, Inc.||Overland, MO||Jun 07, 2016||$84,850|
|Relay/System Protection Engineer||Electric Power Systems International, Inc.||Overland, MO||Jul 26, 2016||$84,850|
|Senior Protection Engineer||United Electric Systems Inc.||Allentown, PA||Jul 12, 2015||$81,869|
|Protection Engineer||New York Power Authority||White Plains, NY||May 19, 2010||$75,090|
|Engineer, Protection Engineering||National Grid USA Services Co., Inc.||Waltham, MA||Sep 14, 2012||$75,026|
|Associate Engineer, Cyber Protection||Narus, Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Sep 07, 2011||$75,000|
|Engineer-Relay & Protection||Commonwealth Edison Company, An Exelon Company||Oakbrook Terrace, IL||Jan 25, 2016||$70,658 -
|Power System Protection/Analytical Engineer||Power Engineers, Inc.||Meridian, ID||Jul 18, 2016||$70,096|
|Engineer, Transmission Protection & Control||American Electric Power||Tulsa, OK||Aug 27, 2015||$69,000 -
|Engineer, Transmission Protection & Control||American Electric Power||Tulsa, OK||Sep 06, 2015||$69,000 -
|Relay/System Protection Engineer||Electric Power Systems International, Inc.||Brunswick, OH||Aug 09, 2016||$66,000 -
|Relay & System Protection Engineer||EPS Engineering and Design, Inc.||Brunswick, OH||Aug 09, 2016||$66,000 -
|Protection Engineer In Training (EIT)||HDR Engineering, Inc.||Minneapolis, MN||Nov 29, 2014||$64,979|
|System Protection Engineer||XCEL Energy Services, Inc.||Minneapolis, MN||Aug 16, 2015||$64,510|
|Protection Engineer||Aldona Fire Protection, Inc.||NY||Aug 06, 2016||$64,376|
|Protection Engineer||Versacom LLC||Wendell, NC||Oct 01, 2009||$62,442 -
|Protection Engineer||United Electric Systems Inc.||Allentown, PA||Nov 01, 2014||$59,748|
|Protection Engineer||Siemens Energy, Inc.||Wendell, NC||Apr 06, 2011||$59,592 -
|Protection Engineer||Siemens Energy, Inc.||Wendell, NC||Sep 28, 2011||$59,592 -
|Protection Engineer||Siemens Energy, Inc.||Wendell, NC||Oct 01, 2011||$59,592 -
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