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Become A Radio Frequency Engineer

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Working As A Radio Frequency Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $81,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Radio Frequency 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 Radio Frequency 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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Radio Frequency Engineer Career Paths

Radio Frequency Engineer
Senior Engineer Senior Electrical Engineer
Electrical Engineer Lead
8 Yearsyrs
Consulting Engineer Senior Engineer Senior Test Engineer
Engine Testing Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Lead Engineer Senior Engineering Technician
Engineering Laboratory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Construction Manager Maintenance Technician Engineering Technician
Engineering Technician Lead
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Engineer Lead Technician Field Engineer
Field Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Performance System Engineer
5 Yearsyrs
Consulting Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Principal Design Engineer
12 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Consulting Engineer Senior Engineer
Senior Electrical Engineer
11 Yearsyrs
Product Manager Research And Development Technician Mechanical Technician
Senior Electro-Mechanical Technician
9 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Engineer Field Service Technician Senior Electronics Technician
Senior Electronic Engineering Technician
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineering Technician Hardware Engineer Senior Electronic Engineer
Senior Electronics Design Engineer
9 Yearsyrs
Test Engineer Engineer
Senior Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Design Engineer Senior Engineer Engineering Specialist
Senior Engineering Technician
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Lead Technician Field Engineer
Senior Field Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
System Test Engineer Senior Test Engineer
Senior Manufacturing Test Engineer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Field Engineer Test Technician Production Technician
Senior Production Technician
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Staff Engineer
Senior Staff Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Test Engineer Systems Engineer Senior Engineer
Staff Engineer
5 Yearsyrs
System Test Engineer Quality Assurance Engineer Senior Test Engineer
Test Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Radio Frequency Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

85.2%

Female

9.7%

Unknown

5.0%
Ethnicity

White

43.6%

Asian

22.6%

Hispanic or Latino

14.3%

Unknown

10.5%

Black or African American

9.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

27.0%

Carrier

14.3%

French

9.4%

Arabic

7.0%

Chinese

5.3%

Mandarin

4.1%

Japanese

4.1%

Hindi

3.7%

Italian

3.7%

German

3.3%

Korean

2.9%

Portuguese

2.9%

Urdu

2.9%

Cantonese

2.5%

Vietnamese

1.6%

Russian

1.6%

Polish

1.2%

Thai

0.8%

Tagalog

0.8%

Serbian

0.8%
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Radio Frequency Engineer Education

Schools

University of Texas at Arlington

10.5%

University of Texas at Dallas

10.3%

University of Phoenix

5.6%

Rochester Institute of Technology

5.4%

Southern Methodist University

5.4%

University of Illinois at Chicago

5.2%

University of South Florida

4.9%

Arizona State University

4.8%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.8%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.6%

Johns Hopkins University

4.6%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

4.4%

Drexel University

4.3%

San Diego State University

4.1%

University of Bridgeport

4.0%

George Washington University

3.8%

University of Colorado at Boulder

3.8%

San Jose State University

3.5%

University of Florida

3.2%

Illinois Institute of Technology

2.9%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

55.3%

Business

5.8%

Electrical Engineering Technology

5.5%

Computer Engineering

5.4%

Computer Networking

4.6%

Computer Science

3.5%

Engineering

3.2%

Communication

1.9%

Project Management

1.9%

Digital Media

1.6%

Information Technology

1.6%

Management

1.5%

Computer Information Systems

1.5%

Physics

1.4%

Systems Engineering

1.1%

Mechanical Engineering

1.1%

Engineering And Industrial Management

0.9%

Finance

0.8%

Mathematics

0.8%

Marketing

0.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.2%

Masters

38.0%

Other

11.8%

Associate

4.8%

Doctorate

4.2%

Certificate

2.2%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.1%
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Real Radio Frequency Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Analog/Rf Circuit Design Engineer, Principal/Manager/Rf Systems Qualcomm Atheros, Inc. San Jose, CA Jul 15, 2016 $181,915 -
$245,500
Senior RF Engineer Nvidia Corporation Santa Clara, CA Dec 18, 2015 $180,000 -
$185,000
RF Design and Performance Engineer Nextgen Global Resources LLC Atlanta, GA Jan 01, 2016 $180,000
RF Design and Performance Engineer Nextgen Global Resources LLC Atlanta, GA Jan 16, 2016 $180,000
RF Design and Performance Engineer Nextgen Global Resources LLC Herndon, VA Oct 19, 2015 $180,000
RF Design and Performance Engineer Nextgen Global Resources Chicago, IL May 18, 2016 $180,000
Senior Wireless/Rf Test Engineer Aruba Networks, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA May 11, 2015 $165,000
RF IC Design Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Nov 30, 2015 $158,000 -
$178,000
RF Engineer III Kineticom, Inc. San Diego, CA Jun 27, 2016 $156,000
RF Engineer III Kineticom, Inc. Atlanta, GA Jun 27, 2016 $156,000
SR. RF DAS Engineer Nextgen Global Resources LLC Redmond, WA Aug 07, 2015 $156,000
Senior Ran/Rf Project Enginer Pi Works Us Inc. Reston, VA Apr 15, 2015 $155,000
RF Test Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA May 16, 2016 $153,587 -
$191,000
RF Engineer R4 Incorporated Edgewood, MD Jan 04, 2016 $94,515
Engineer, Staff II-Rf/Wireless Broadcom Corporation Irvine, CA Jun 04, 2015 $94,500
Engineer-Services RF Ericsson Inc. Plano, TX Oct 12, 2015 $94,449 -
$141,673
Engineer-Services RF Ericsson Inc. Plano, TX Sep 01, 2015 $94,449 -
$141,673
Engineer, RF Deployment T-Mobile USA, Inc. Ontario, CA Sep 11, 2016 $94,395
Principal RF Engineer Amdocs Inc. Metairie, LA Feb 08, 2016 $94,000
RF (Radio Frequency) Engineer III Sprint Corporation Reston, VA Apr 04, 2016 $94,000
Rf/Microwave System Engineer III Sprint Corporation Wallingford, CT Aug 02, 2016 $94,000
RF Engineer Ericsson Inc. Plano, TX Aug 16, 2016 $79,875 -
$119,638
RF Engineer Amdocs, Inc. Charlotte, NC Apr 30, 2015 $79,850
RF Engineer Amdocs, Inc. Charlotte, NC Apr 28, 2015 $79,850
RF Engineer Amdocs, Inc. San Ramon, CA Mar 17, 2015 $79,810
RF Engineer Telecom Technology Services, Inc. Pleasanton, CA Jun 20, 2016 $79,810

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AVERAGE SALARY FOR A Radio Frequency Engineer

Average Yearly Salary
$81,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$52,000
Min 10%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$125,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Space Exploration Technologies
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
4.0 years
How much does a Radio Frequency Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Radio Frequency Engineer in the United States is $81,465 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $52,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $125,000.

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Top Skills for A Radio Frequency Engineer

  1. RF
  2. Kpis
  3. Antenna
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed satellite access procedures in accordance with satellite controllers to ensure signal levels were optimal.
  • Cluster optimization to improve/maintain network KPIs.
  • Developed and tested experimental hardware for phased array antennas.
  • Performed inter-modulation studies and recommendations of co-locate cell sites.
  • Configure network components, analyze LTE network KPI s and drive test data for LTE air interface optimization.

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Top 10 Best States for Radio Frequency Engineers

  1. Virginia
  2. District of Columbia
  3. California
  4. New Mexico
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Maryland
  8. Alabama
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Texas
  • (834 jobs)
  • (172 jobs)
  • (2,134 jobs)
  • (61 jobs)
  • (151 jobs)
  • (402 jobs)
  • (471 jobs)
  • (140 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (821 jobs)

Top Radio Frequency Engineer Employers

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Jobs From Top Radio Frequency Engineer Employers

Radio Frequency Engineer Videos

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