Electrical engineering professions: electrifying opportunities

Electrical engineers design, build, and maintain electrical equipment for many purposes. The broad discipline leads current and prospective engineering students to a broad career landscape.

You can pursue electrical engineering jobs in device and system management, consumer electronics, and research and development, among many other fields.

Keep reading to learn more about the electrical engineering profession and exciting postgraduate opportunities.

Electrical engineering professions

Electrical engineering jobs tend to have similar titles and levels across industries. Although job descriptions for each title may vary from employer to employer, electrical engineers enjoy a clear roadmap to advance in the field.

The following list highlights common electrical engineering job titles, roughly in ascending order of seniority. Education and experience requirements vary by employer.

  • Electrical engineering technician or technologist
  • junior engineer
  • Associate engineer
  • junior engineer
  • senior engineer
  • Senior Engineer
  • Project Manager
  • Electrical engineering manager

What does the job of an electrical engineer look like?

Electrical engineering jobs can be very different depending on the role, organization, and industry. The domain includes many sub-domains in which learners can specialize through their education and work experience, including:

  • Biotechnology
  • Communication systems
  • Electromagnetism
  • Microelectronics
  • Electrical and energy systems
  • Robotics
  • Signal processing

In general, electrical engineers strive to solve problems and improve the world with new electronic devices and technologies. Within each industry, however, engineers can have very different roles and responsibilities. According to the BLSthe main industries in 2020 were:

  • Engineering services
  • Electric power generation
  • Manufacture of navigation and control instruments
  • Research and development
  • Manufacture of semiconductors and electronic components

The BLS found that electrical engineers earned a median annual salary of $100,830 in May 2020, while the lowest-paid 10% earned $64,870. Early-career engineers can find opportunities through networking, continuing education, and postgraduate degrees, such as professional engineering license.

What degree do I need to work as an electrical engineer?

According to BLS, employers require a bachelor’s degree for most electrical engineering jobs. Careers in teaching and research and development may require a master’s degree. Some employers may also require a master’s degree or even state license for management positions.

Electrical engineering students also receive on-the-job training. Many electrical engineering degree programs include internships and internships for hands-on training. Some even offer co-op programs, which allow learners to gain hands-on experience by securing long-term internships during their studies.

Electrical Engineering Career Fields and Industries

Why are electrical engineering jobs among the most in-demand careers in STEM? One reason is flexibility. The following sections detail some career fields available to aspiring electrical engineers.

Aerospace

Entry salary: $72,770 – $118,610

Senior salary:$118,610 – $171,220

Current job titles: Aerospace Engineer, Aerospace Systems Engineer, and Avionics Engineer

A day in the life: Engineers in this field work on aircraft, spacecraft, and related equipment. The design, installation and evaluation of electrical devices used in flying machines, defense systems and satellites.

Automotive

Entry salary: $44,550-$102,370

Senior salary: $102,370 – $176,270

Current job titles: Product engineer, automotive engineer and development engineer

A day in the life: Electrical engineers in the automotive industry work with automotive systems, circuit design, and electrical equipment. They also work with electric, hybrid and autonomous vehicles.

Engineering computer Science

Entry salary: $70,100 to $119,560

Senior salary: $119,560 – $192,110

Current job titles: Telecommunications engineer, computer engineer, network systems engineer

A day in the life: Within computer engineering, electrical engineers may work in robotics, system architecture, and digital or analog circuitry. Positions working with semiconductors and controllers may overlap with the field of computer engineering.

Construction

Entry salary: $56,660 – $92,260

Senior salary: $92,260 to $150,800

Current job titles: Electrical site engineer; electrical design engineer; and Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) Engineer

A day in the life: Electrical engineers may oversee construction projects or participate in the planning and tendering process. They also design electrical systems, troubleshoot electrical issues, and perform system testing throughout the construction process.

Consumer goods

Entry salary: $62,700 to $98,440

Senior salary: $98,440-$161,010

Current job titles: Product Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer and Design Engineer

A day in the life: Electrical engineers design consumer goods and oversee the manufacturing process. These professionals test equipment, implement new technologies, and research new developments in the field.

Defense

Entry salary: $65,000 to $93,000

Senior salary: $93,000 to $151,000

Current job titles: Electrical Engineering Officer, Development Engineer and Director of Electrical Engineering Plans

A day in the life: In addition to working with electrical equipment, electrical engineers handle radar systems and missile guidance systems in the defense industry. They also interact with advanced technologies, weapons and vehicles and warfare devices.

Electronic

Entry salary: $69,210 – $107,540

Senior salary: $107,540 – $167,410

Current job titles: Circuit design engineer, control engineer and electronic systems engineer

A day in the life: Electronic engineers design electronic components, products and systems in all industries. They also assess existing electronics, perform repairs, and develop and implement upgrades.

Instrumentation

Entry salary: $68,830 – $104,480

Senior salary: $104,480 – $166,180

Current job titles: Product engineer, manufacturing engineer and control and instrumentation engineer

A day in the life: These electrical engineers manage the equipment, instruments, and devices used in manufacturing plants and refineries. They measure and calibrate variables to ensure that automated processes are running as expected.

Nanotechnology

Entry salary: $57,970 – $95,640

Senior salary: $95,640 – $154,340

Current job titles: Application engineer, process engineer and product engineer

A day in the life: Electrical engineers can work with nanomaterials for semiconductors, biotechnology, and aerospace applications. They create new technologies and scientific equipment using these sophisticated materials.

Electrical engineering

Entry salary: $70,010 – $102,510

Senior salary: $102,510 – $146,550

Current job titles: Control engineer, stationary engineer and design engineer

A day in the life: Electrical engineers in the power industry oversee the energy conversion process, build and maintain grids and networks, and ensure safe and equitable distribution to end users. They also manage generators, circuit breakers and transmission lines.

Radio Frequency Engineering

Entry salary: $65,000 to $89,000

Senior salary: $89,000 to $133,000

Current job titles: RF Engineer, Network Engineer and Chief Station Engineer

A day in the life: Electrical engineers working with radio frequencies manage wireless networks and devices. They also design, install and repair radio electronics for broadcasting stations.

Renewable energies

Entry salary: $51,000 to $90,000

Senior salary: $90,000 to $105,000

Current job titles: Application Engineer, Distribution Standards Engineer and Principal Electrical Engineer

A day in the life: Electrical engineers work on renewable energy equipment and technologies. They design and build electrical infrastructure, batteries and new devices that use renewable materials and energy.

Robotics

Entry salary: $61,000 to $85,000

Senior salary: $85,000 to $126,000

Current job titles: Robotic System Engineer, Robotic Automation Engineer and Design Engineer

A day in the life: Robotics electrical engineers design and build autonomous robots and robotic equipment. They also test controls, machines, and devices for safety and accuracy.

Signal processing

Entry salary: $69,000 to $89,000

Senior salary: $89,000 to $134,000

Current job titles: Digital Signal Processing Engineer, Signal Integrity Engineer, and Mixed Signal Design Engineer

A day in the life: Signal processing engineers design boards and circuits to pass electrical currents and process signals. These professionals work in defense, aerospace, communications and broadcasting.

Telecommunications

Entry salary: $66,150 to $100,160

Senior salary: $100,160 – $147,390

Current job titles: Network engineer, telecommunications engineer and electrical protection engineer

A day in the life: These professionals design, build and install telecommunications networks and devices. They ensure that services and devices work properly, efficiently and securely.

Utilities

Entry salary: $70,190 to $103,150

Senior salary: $103,150 – $149,440

Current job titles: Utility Engineer, Power Distribution Engineer, and Transmission Engineer

A day in the life: In utilities, electrical engineers work with transmission lines and other components of utility infrastructure. They design grids, analyze project efficiency and design, and provide system maintenance and upgrades.