What Does an Electrical Engineer Do

By
Anne Kinsey
- January 09, 2018

Solid Wages and Ample Opportunities for Creative Problem-Solving

What Does an Electrical Engineer Do
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If you enjoy independent work, inventing, designing and working with electrical equipment, then a career in electrical engineering could not only make your workdays interesting, but also provide a steady, reliable income to help support your family. Put your natural creativity, focus and problem-solving abilities to work in product research, design, production or testing. Most electrical engineers work normal business hours. The field is growing at an average, steady rate, so once you secure a position as an electrical engineer, opportunities are available to grow your career and create a solid financial future for your family.

Job Description

Electrical engineers are innovators and problem-solvers. They work with electrical equipment as they design, test, manufacture and inspect, with attention to detail and electrical theory. In addition to working directly with electrical equipment, electrical engineers also work with computer design software and must maintain organized records and files. They typically report to a project manager and may also supervise other engineers. Electrical engineers respond to calls and concerns from the public, so, while they typically work independently, good listening and interpersonal skills are an asset.

Education Requirements

Basic entry into the electrical engineering field requires a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, which may take up to five or six years to earn. Employers look for graduates from universities that are approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Master's- or doctoral-level degrees open opportunities to work in specialized electrical engineering areas or as a professor at an ABET-approved university.

Electrical engineers earn a median salary of $96,270 per year, which averages to $46.28 per hour. This means that half of all electrical engineers earn more than this amount, while the other half earns less. The lowest earners brought home $52,967 per year, while the highest earned $110,676.

Industry Trends

Electrical engineers generally work regular business hours in an office setting, but sometimes get out for a little fresh air to visit a job site to inspect equipment, take measurements and problem-solve. They frequently work for engineering services companies, but they may also work for power companies, telecommunications providers, or electrical component and instrument manufacturers. Many of these employers provide solid benefits and retirement planning, which comes in handy when you are raising a family.

Years of Experience

Electrical engineers earn a solid wage even at the entry level, but pay increases with experience and time in the field. One projection shows the following:

  • Entry-Level: $51,247‒$84,493 
  • Mid-Career: $62,148‒$104,226 
  • Experienced: $67,705‒$126,394 
  • Late-Career: $71,587‒$150,212 

Job Growth Trend

Demand for electrical engineers is growing at an average rate as compared with other industries. Choose a solid electrical engineering program and focus on obtaining internships during your education to get your foot in the door and gain an edge over other graduates seeking employment. Once you find stable employment, you are likely to enjoy a fulfilling, long career in the field.

About the Author

Anne Kinsey is a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach and missionary, residing in rural North Carolina. She is the founding executive director of Love Powered Life, a nonprofit organization with the mission of creating loving community for trafficking survivors and their families. Anne has enjoyed writing for publications like Our Everyday Life, Bizfluent, Career Trend, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle. She resides in rural North Carolina with her husband, three children and a house full of furry friends.