A bachelor's degree in electrical engineering will prepare you for an exciting and creative profession. The bachelor's degree may only be the beginning. Since technology evolves rapidly, many electrical engineers continue with more classes often leading to master's or even Ph.D. degrees. Electrical engineers earn superior pay in a profession that has a proud history and offers a diversity of opportunities.
Electrical engineers enjoy high average annual salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income of electrical engineers in 2009 was $86,250 per year for 151,660 electrical engineers nationwide. The range of earnings spread from $53,510 at the 10th percentile to $126,810 at the 90th percentile. In some locations, wages were even higher. Electrical engineers in Massachusetts averaged $100,740 per year, and those in Alaska averaged $100,250 per year. Engineers in California averaged $97,250 per year. Electrical engineers in the District of Columbia and Maine also had annual wages averaging more than $96,000 and $94,000, respectively.
Education and Professionalism
Electrical engineers benefit from a high level of education. The basic requirement for an electrical engineer is a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. The bachelor's requires a full program of physics, math and laboratory science classes, plus specialized courses such as circuits, linear systems and control systems. Many electrical engineers also have master's degrees or even Ph.D. degrees. All states offer the "PE" designation to electrical engineers who meet state licensing mandates, including an accredited bachelor's degree, passing the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, four years work experience and passing the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. In addition, many states require continuing education to maintain licensing status.
Proud History and Exciting Future
Electrical engineers trace their history back to the great inventors, including Ben Franklin, Samuel F. B. Morse and John Ambrose Fleming, whose diode tube started the age of electronics. Electrical engineers continue to develop and improve inventions such as radio, television, computers and spacecraft that make the modern world modern. They work in cutting-edge technology including satellite television and computer networks spanning the globe. The ever-changing field of electrical engineering offers a multitude of intellectual challenges for those with a desire for lifelong learning.
Variety of Work and Advancement
Graduate electrical engineers can work in a variety of specialties, depending on course work and job experience. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., lists more than 35 specialties, including acoustics, speech and signal processing, broadcast technology, control systems, electron devices, industrial electronics, magnetics and robotics. In addition, an electrical engineering diploma can serve as a springboard to a career in a related field such as computer science or biomedical engineering. Engineers who prefer to advance within electrical engineering can aspire to positions such as project engineer, engineering specialist or chief engineer.