Modern society could not exist without intelligent, innovative and well trained electrical engineers. Essential duties include creating new prototypes and re-evaluating old designs of electrical equipment, wiring, motors, circuit boards and other types of systems to improve performance. Electrical engineers make up a large percentage of professionals in the engineering field and can work for scientific research firms or electrical component manufacturing companies. The average annual wage for the 183,370 electrical engineers employed in the United States in May 2017 was an impressive $99,580, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Electrical engineers must meet several education requirements to succeed in this field.
Education requirements for electrical engineers differ depending on the level of position being sought as well as the employer. However, electrical engineers usually need a four-year bachelor’s degree in this field through a college or university. Students in these programs usually can choose a concentration such as microwave engineering or power systems and get experience with both theory and design/lab work. In addition, a two-year master’s degree can be helpful for those who want to advance to management roles in the electrical engineering field. Master’s degree programs usually focus on a particular specialty such as electronics or digital systems and allow students to complete research. Doctoral degrees are designed for those interested in university teaching or high-level industrial research. Many colleges offer electrical engineering degrees online as well. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology accredits electrical engineering programs, according to CollegeBoard.com.
Courses in an electrical engineering training program might include computer programming, engineering economy, electrical circuits, thermodynamics, numerical analysis and engineering materials. Other required courses might cover calculus, technical writing and engine/machinery technologies. In addition, students might study integrated circuits, which are a major part of the entertainment and consumer appliance industries. Students additionally can learn about robotics, power systems and communication systems. Math and physics are at the heart of these programs.
Many electrical engineering degree programs give students the opportunity to complete an internship in this field. An internship allows students to apply the scientific and engineering principles they learned in school to current engineering problems in a business setting, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Students can choose to apply for internships at architectural firms, power generation/distribution companies or even manufacturers of navigation controls or medical equipment. Students learn to diagnose problems and develop different solutions. These experiences combined with classroom instruction can prepare electrical engineers who offer their services directly to the public to be licensed by completing a state examination.
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