Electrical Engineer Career Path
How To Become an Electrical EngineerAn 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?
- CAD Software
- Cost Estimates
- Security Clearance
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.
Total Pay Trajectory
Electrical Engineer Career Path
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