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Electrical Engineers
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Description: what do they do?
Research, design, develop, test, or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components, or systems for commercial, industrial, military, or scientific use.
Also known as:
Circuits Engineer, Design Engineer, Electrical Controls Engineer, Electrical Design Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Electrical Project Engineer, Instrumentation and Electrical Reliability Engineer (I&E Reliability Engineer), Power Systems Engineer, Project Engineer, Test Engineer

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
    Transcript: Anyone who’s ever experienced a major power outage appreciates just how crucial electricity is to our everyday lives. In our homes and cities…. electricity even powers the devices in our pockets. That’s where electronics and electrical engineers come in. Electronics engineers design and test electronic devices… from portable music players to global positioning systems, and computer hardware. They oversee device production, and may install and maintain it as well. They test satellites, flight systems, and broadcast equipment. Electrical engineers maintain the power grids that provide power for the country. They also develop and install electrical equipment, such as motors, navigation systems, and power generation equipment. Additionally they ensure vehicle electrical systems operate effectively. The work is intricate and demands great attention to detail and problem-solving ability. They must be able to interpret technical manuals and understand government guidelines. Handling electricity can be dangerous, although following safety regulations prevents most accidents. These engineers almost always work on teams, so communication skills are essential, especially when talking to people unfamiliar with the field. Electrical and electronics engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in the field. The Professional Engineer license or graduate education can improve a candidate’s employment prospects. If you’re looking for an empowering career… electrical or electronic engineering just might be… a bright idea.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.

This occupation is:
  • Expected to grow much faster than average


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Please note that this does not account for the impacts of the current pandemic. Many occupations are likely to have very different outlooks due to the rapidly changing economy. When new outlook information is developed, it will be reflected here.

    Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings". This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET Bright Outlook occupations and My Next Move career outlook designations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Vermont
660
2018 Employment
730
2028 Employment
11%
Percent change
50
Annual projected job openings
United States
193,100
2019 Employment
202,100
2029 Employment
5%
Percent change
12,500
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2018 (for states) or 2019 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2028 (for states) or 2029 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    Please note that these projections do not account for the impacts of the current pandemic. Many occupations are likely to have very different projections due to the rapidly changing economy. When revised data are available, they will be published here.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office, 2018-28.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2019-29.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Electrical Engineers in United States
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationVermontUnited States
10%N/A$63,020
25%N/A$77,080
MedianN/A$98,530
75%N/A$125,520
90%N/A$155,880


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, May 2019 survey. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Bachelor's degree
  • No work experience
  • No on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2019.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2018.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Operate computer systems.
  • Create electrical schematics.
  • Confer with technical personnel to prepare designs or operational plans.
  • Discuss designs or plans with clients.
  • Design structures or facilities.
  • Design electrical equipment or systems.
  • Maintain electronic equipment.
  • Survey land or bodies of water to measure or determine features.
  • Direct installation activities.
  • Direct construction activities.
  • Direct equipment maintenance or repair activities.
  • Prepare operational reports.
  • Investigate system, equipment, or product failures.
  • Estimate technical or resource requirements for development or production projects.
  • Direct industrial production activities.
  • Inspect operational processes.
  • Devise research or testing protocols.
  • Design energy-efficient equipment or systems.
  • Design energy production or management equipment or systems.
  • Estimate operational costs.
  • Prepare project budgets.
  • Supervise engineering or other technical personnel.
  • Train personnel on proper operational procedures.
  • Test products for functionality or quality.
  • Design alternative energy systems.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Active Learning - Figuring out how to use new ideas or things.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Category Flexibility - Grouping things in different ways.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Number Facility - Adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing.
  • Fluency of Ideas - Coming up with lots of ideas.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - Choosing the right type of math to solve a problem.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Operate computer-assisted engineering or design software or equipment to perform engineering tasks.
  • Prepare technical drawings, specifications of electrical systems, or topographical maps to ensure that installation and operations conform to standards and customer requirements.
  • Confer with engineers, customers, or others to discuss existing or potential engineering projects or products.
  • Design, implement, maintain, or improve electrical instruments, equipment, facilities, components, products, or systems for commercial, industrial, or domestic purposes.
  • Conduct field surveys or study maps, graphs, diagrams, or other data to identify and correct power system problems.
  • Direct or coordinate manufacturing, construction, installation, maintenance, support, documentation, or testing activities to ensure compliance with specifications, codes, or customer requirements.
  • Compile data and write reports regarding existing or potential electrical engineering studies or projects.
  • Investigate customer or public complaints to determine the nature and extent of problems.
  • Perform detailed calculations to compute and establish manufacturing, construction, or installation standards or specifications.
  • Oversee project production efforts to assure projects are completed on time and within budget.
  • Inspect completed installations and observe operations to ensure conformance to design and equipment specifications and compliance with operational, safety, or environmental standards.
  • Plan or implement research methodology or procedures to apply principles of electrical theory to engineering projects.
  • Design electrical systems or components that minimize electric energy requirements, such as lighting systems designed to account for natural lighting.
  • Plan layout of electric power generating plants or distribution lines or stations.
  • Prepare specifications for purchases of materials or equipment.
  • Assist in developing capital project programs for new equipment or major repairs.
  • Estimate labor, material, or construction costs for budget preparation purposes.
  • Supervise or train project team members, as necessary.
  • Investigate or test vendors' or competitors' products.
  • Develop systems that produce electricity with renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, or biofuels.
  • Integrate electrical systems with renewable energy systems to improve overall efficiency.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.