Electrical engineers use the principles of science and mathematics to design or improve electrical systems. Every day humans interact with electronic devices, and it is the work of electrical engineers that makes these devices user-friendly, safe, and reliable. An electrical engineering degree program equips students with the skills they need to enter a highly rewarding engineering discipline that has limitless applications.
Courses of Study
In order to design electrical systems and make them more efficient, electrical engineers must have a solid foundation in mathematics and science. Throughout their studies, electrical engineering students will draw upon this foundation to analyze and solve problems in electrical engineering.
Electrical engineering degree programs will prepare students to:
- Design electrical systems, components, and processes that meet the demands of different projects.
- Work in teams to solve problems within economic or political restraints.
- Understand the professional and ethical considerations that impact the decisions engineers must make.
An electrical engineering degree program includes the following courses:
- Calculus I, II, and III
- Differential Equations
- Engineering Circuit Analysis
- Fundamentals of Electromagnetism
An electrical engineering degree program helps foster the creativity that is needed to solve engineering problems in the real world.
Admissions requirements vary between different electrical engineering programs. Each college or university determines the minimum GPA and standardized test scores that are required of applicants. However, students who are interested in studying engineering should take high-level mathematics and science courses while they are in high school. Excelling in calculus, chemistry, and physics will prepare students to succeed in an engineering degree program.
Accreditation and Licensure
Most engineering programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). A program that is accredited by ABET has demonstrated that its students will attain the specific outcomes that are required by each engineering discipline. Students who want to ensure the quality of their education should select an ABET-approved program.
Many engineers also choose to become licensed professional engineers (PEs) at some point in their career. While there are many opportunities for unlicensed engineers, contractors who work with the government may require licensure as a condition of employment. The designation of PE is awarded to engineers who pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exams and who possess several years of work experience. In many states, a student may take the FE exams during their final year of studies if they are enrolled in an ABET-approved engineering program. Students who wish to shorten the path to licensure should consider whether their program is properly accredited and whether it will prepare them to pass their FE exams.
Electrical Engineering Careers
According to the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, electrical engineers earn a median salary of $85K. The primary duties of electrical engineers include designing, developing, and testing electrical equipment. The skills that electrical engineers possess are beneficial to many different industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following organizations are top employers of electrical engineers:
- Local, State, and Federal Government Agencies
- Semiconductor Manufacturers
- Telecommunications Companies
Electrical engineers may also work as private consultants or conduct research and development for commercial firms. Electrical engineers who pursue a master’s degree or Ph.D. can qualify for positions in research or teaching at the university level.
The demand for well-qualified engineers to drive innovation is the reason electrical engineering is among the most lucrative fields in engineering. An electrical engineering degree program prepares students to thrive in this challenging yet rewarding field.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2012). Occupational Outlook Handbook – Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Georgetown Public Policy Institute. (2011).The Economic Value of College Majors – Engineering.