How to Become an Electrical Engineer?

Are you thinking of becoming an Electrical Engineer or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become an Electrical Engineer, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Electrical Engineer job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become an Electrical Engineer

An electrical engineer designs, develops, and tests electrical devices. While a quality education is essential, successful electrical engineers have skills you can't learn in the classroom, such as communication and teambuilding. If you're patient, willing to work extra hours to meet deadlines, and enthusiastic about problem-solving, then you're ready to take the following steps.

Pursue a degree in electrical engineering.

While a limited number of junior positions only require an associate's degree in electrical engineering, the industry typically considers a two-year degree a stepping stone to a bachelor's program. As you pursue your associate's degree, you can determine whether you want to pursue an electrical engineering career and move on to a four-year degree. You can choose your specialization at the bachelor's level, such as semiconductors, microsystems, or network systems. With a master's degree, you'll focus on your specialization, and you can qualify for management positions. If you're interested in research or teaching, you'll want to complete a doctoral degree.

What type of degree should you pursue to become an Electrical Engineer?

77% of people working as an Electrical Engineer earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be an Electrical Engineer?

  • AutoCAD
  • CAD Software
  • Revit
  • Cost Estimates
  • FPGA
  • Security Clearance
  • PLC
  • Interface
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as an Electrical Engineer in the United States.

Apply for an electrical engineering internship.

As you're pursuing your degree, you should apply for available internships, especially if you're in your junior or senior year. Electrical engineering interns typically work on systems examination, site inspections, and design diagrams. An internship is a great way to earn practical experience and get your foot in the door with a major company. It's not uncommon for interns to receive an offer for a permanent position after graduation.


Start the professional engineer licensing process.

Every state requires electrical engineers to hold a professional engineer license as proof of competency. After completing your bachelor's degree, you can sit for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam to become an engineer-in-training (EIT). EITs are qualified to work under licensed professional engineers, so after you pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, you should apply for an entry-level electrical engineering position. Once you find a job working under a licensed professional engineer, you must complete four years of work before taking the professional engineer licensing exam.


Prepare for the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam.

As you complete your four years of qualifying work experience, you should also study for the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam. This is the exam you take to obtain your professional engineer license. You can obtain practice exams and study materials from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). The NCEES will provide you with testing schedules and locations.


Take the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam.

After you complete your four years of relevant work experience, it's time to sit for the PE exam. To pass, you must answer 70% of the questions correctly. Once you pass the exam and get your professional engineer license, you can apply for higher-level electrical engineering manager positions.

Electrical Engineer Career Path

Electrical Engineer

2 - 4Years of Experience
$95K - $152K /yrMost Likely Range
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Senior Electrical Engineer

2 - 4Years of Experience
$133K - $204K /yrMost Likely Range
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30% advanced to

Electrical Engineer IV

5 - 7Years of Experience
$125K - $185K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Electrical Engineer Career Path

New Grad Electrical Engineer
Electrical Engineer
Associate Manager of Electrical Engineering
Senior Electrical Engineer
Electrical Engineer Manager
Electrical Engineer IV
Senior Manager of Electrical Engineering
Principal Electrical Engineer
Senior Principal Electrical Engineer
Director of Electrical Engineering
Chief Electrical Engineer
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Related Careers in the Engineering Industry

Interested in other Engineering careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Electrical Engineer skills. Discover some of the most common Electrical Engineer career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Electrical Designer
No skills overlap
13% transitioned to Electrical Designer