Getting a Degree in Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineering is working towards a career path that is about designing, developing, and testing electrical equipment. If you pursue this career path you would find yourself working with electronic devices, from pocket calculators to supercomputers. Electrical engineering overlaps with computer engineering and since technology is always going to be around, and always changing, there will always be a need for electrical engineers.

As an electrical engineer, you might work to develop or improve products using electrical power, develop manufacturing, work with construction and installation standards as well as specifications for electrical products, evaluate electrical products, and more. You can find a job in many different work environments, from an office to a worksite to many different types of business locations.

Associate’s Degree in Electrical Engineering

While you can get your associate’s degree in electrical engineering, most people go on to get at least a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. With an associate’s you can find a job as an engineering technician. In this job, you would assist engineers and scientists, and be able to learn on the job.

While working on your associate’s degree, you would study practical applications of math and science, maintain and install electrical devices and systems, and learn about tools you can use such as circuits and computers. Getting an associate’s degree will take about two years.

Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering

Most people go on to get their bachelor’s in electrical engineering, even if they did get their associate’s degree. In order to become an actual electrical engineer, you need to get your bachelor’s degree. While working towards one, you would take different classes such as chemistry, calculus, programming, and engineering mechanics. You can get your bachelor’s degree online or in-person and the degree should take you around four years.

For online programs, American Public University, Arizona State University, and Stony Brook University all have highly rated programs.

For in-person programs, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University all have highly rated programs.

Jobs Available with Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering

  • Electronics Engineers, who design, develop, and test components, devices, systems, or equipment that use electricity, have an average salary of $74,232, according to Glassdoor as of May 2020.
  • Naval Engineers, who develop the engines of ships and deal with electrical and electronic operations, maintenance, and repairs, have an average salary of $72,323, according to Glassdoor, as of December 2019.
  • Controls Engineers, who apply control theory to design systems with desired behaviors in controlled environments, have an average salary of $73,951, according to Glassdoor as of May 2020.

Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering

A master’s in electrical engineering should take you about two years and you should be able to do so online, or in-person. While in school you would study subjects such as electrical circuit theory, systems design, and design and drafting. Getting your master’s degree in electrical engineering can help you get more specialized and supervisory positions in different types of work environments.

For online programs, the University of Florida, the University of Virginia Main Campus, and Stanford University all have highly rated programs. For in-person programs, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Standford University, and the University of California at Berkely all have highly rated programs.

Jobs Available with Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering

  • Computer Hardware Engineers, who specialize in the design and development of computer components and systems, have an average salary of $89,641, according to Glassdoor, as of February 2020.
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators, who install and monitor computer systems, networks, and hardware and software, have an average salary of $64,892, although, with a master’s degree, your salary would be a bit more, according to Glassdoor, as of May 2020.
  • Structural Engineers, who focus on the physical integrity and design of projects such as buildings, bridges, and tunnels, have an average salary of $71,198, according to Glassdoor as of May 2020.

Doctorate Degrees in Electrical Engineering

If you have a specific goal, going for a Ph.D. in electrical engineering would be a good idea. This would be a smart choice for someone who wants to go into the academic world.

Electrical Engineering Related Majors

Aerospace Engineering

Computer Engineering

Robotics Technology

 

Licensing for Electrical Engineers

Electrical engineers are licensed by the state, so while the requirements might be a little different depending on where you live, they usually require similar steps.

First, you would need to get your degree at a program accredited by the ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).

Then, you would need to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, gain work experience with the supervision of a licensed engineer, and then pass the Professional Engineer exam.

Electrical Engineering Scholarships

Getting your degree in electrical engineering means you can apply for certain scholarships that specialize in engineering or similar degrees. Here are a couple of them:

Widespread STEM Scholarship

This scholarship is for any full-time student who is currently enrolled in a STEM program at any college, university, or vocational school.

It is for $500 to be used towards tuition or another school expense.

Anne Maureen Whitney Barrow Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is for $8,000.  It is open to freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior, women who are engineering majors.

Students must be planning to be a student an ABET-accredited program in engineering, technology, or computing in the upcoming year. They also need to attend full-time and can’t be fully funded.

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About the author

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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.