In the following article, you learn about the job of an electrical engineer, including education, skills, licensing, etc.
If this is a career you are considering, you will also find the information about the career prospects and where to find the best.
Electricity is essential for virtually everything in the modern world.
It powers homes, offices, transportation, computers, communication devices, and other equipment.
The task of an electrical engineer is to design pathways and systems for electricity.
Article Table of Contents
What Does an Electrical Engineer Do
Electrical engineers use their planning, design, and supervisory knowledge and skills in the electrical field and systems.
To succeed at this job, they need the knowledge of math, science, geometry, computers, and technology.
By managing and collaborating with workers of various disciplines and positions, electrical engineers complete projects successfully and timely.
- Create new ways of use of electrical power for product development and improvement.
- Prepare the specifications or drawings of electrical systems.
- Develop electrical delivery systems and generation, including distribution lines, plants, electrical stations, and substations.
- Monitor the production, testing, and installation of electrical systems to confirm that the products comply with the appropriate codes and regulations.
- Develop electrical systems in buildings for the efficient use of electricity, such as the use of natural lighting.
- Estimate and calculate the costs for materials, equipment, and labor for products and projects that use electrical power and systems.
- Control the manufacturing and related projects that use electrical power.
- Receive and address the client’s concerns or complaints related to electrical power.
- Find problems in electrical systems and suggest and implement solutions.
- Supervise the teams working with electrical systems and equipment.
Electrical engineers must stay focused to design, develop, and monitor the installation of complex systems.
They should be able to handle various design elements and track the technical details of the designs.
Electrical engineers use engineering software such as computer-aided design (CAD) software for analysis.
To ensure that the plans are implemented properly, electrical engineers should collaborate with other engineers, manufacturing workers, and technicians.
Using their interpersonal skills, they should also supervise or monitor manufacturing workers.
They should also convey the solutions for any complications clearly and concisely.
Electrical engineers need algebra, geometry, and calculus skills to create their designs and troubleshoot the systems.
They should know how to calculate angles, distances, and equations to analyze the circuit.
How to Become an Electrical Engineer
To become an electrical engineer, one must hold an undergraduate and possibly a master’s degree in electrical engineering, science, and math.
If you wish to work supervising construction projects or offer services to the citizens, you need to obtain a professional engineering license.
Training and Qualifications
Electrical engineers need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or electrical engineering technology.
About one out of four electrical engineers hold a master’s degree.
In some programs, the students can obtain both bachelor’s and master’s degrees within five years.
Aspiring electrical engineers should enroll in a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET).
These programs usually cover electrical circuit theory, calculus, and other mathematical disciplines that feature differential equations and system design.
Students can also study physical science, life science, computer science, and statistics.
In most jurisdictions, electrical engineers who are going to provide services to clients or supervise construction projects need a professional engineer’s license.
The licensing requirements may vary from one state to another as well as by territory.
A general examination most engineers take is a “Fundamentals of Engineering (FE).
After passing this exam, one can work as an engineer intern or an engineer-in-training supervised by a licensed engineer.
To take this examination, engineers need four years of practice under the supervision of a licensed engineer.
The experience of an electrical engineer usually requires post-graduate work with a licensed engineer.
To obtain a license, one needs four years of experience.
Some engineering programs allow students to combine on-the-job training and other fieldwork with courses during their education.
Most commonly, internships for electrical engineers are available at universities, manufacturers, and aerospace facilities.
Some experience before graduation can be valuable for engineers looking for entry-level jobs right after graduation, or who wish to work in a particular engineering department.
This type of position doesn’t involve any supervising work or public services, so no license is required for those.
Typically, the schedule of electrical engineers is full-time.
About 68% of electrical engineers reported that they work over 40 hours a week.
Most facilities such as electrical plants operate 24/7, so electrical engineers may have to work in the evenings or on weekends occasionally.
If malfunctions or emergencies arise, engineers may have to work after hours and on weekends.
When the deadlines are approaching, the workweek can also last for more than 40 hours and include odd hours as well.
The BLS predicts the employment rate for these professionals to grow by 1% through 2024.
This opens 1,800 more positions. The median salary of electrical engineers is $72,602 per year.
The slow growth of employment is due to the decline in manufacturing.
Usually, manufacturing companies hired multiple electrical engineers.
Since the manufacturing declined, the companies are cutting the departments and divisions of engineers.
The job prospects for electrical engineers are the best in research, development, and engineering companies.
New electrical and power delivery systems may need to be designed with the development of new techs, such as solar panels.
With the global use of smartphones and other mobile devices, electrical engineers should be in high demand among the electronic components and semiconductors manufacturers.
With retirement growth, more job openings may become available for new engineers.
It is estimated that by 2030, 105,000 employees will be needed in the areas of smart grid and electric utility.
With more experience, engineers may start managing teams of engineers, technicians, and other construction or manufacturing workers.
The best opportunities for electrical engineers exist among private engineering firms, manufacturers of semiconductors, communications, and solar technology.
The employment rate may be in decline until the manufacturing grows.
On your path from college to the licensing of the engineers, you will practice engineering, science, math, and computer principles.