Electrical engineers play an important role in an economy driven by technological advancement. This field also offers lucrative opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electrical and electronics engineers earn a median annual salary of $101,250, with the potential to make even more within specific industries.
Students interested in designing and developing the electrical systems found in products like computers, electric motors, GPS devices, and automobiles might be interested in earning a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. This degree serves as the minimum educational requirement for many jobs in the field.
Should I Get a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering?
Graduates who earn a bachelor's in electrical engineering can boost their career prospects by sitting for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam.
Most electrical engineering programs require students to complete around 120 credits, which generally takes full-time learners about four years. Those earning an online bachelor's degree in electrical engineering may be able to access more flexibility in terms of scheduling.
The rapidly growing market for new technologies means that electrical engineers should see positive job prospects. The BLS projects 3% job growth for these professionals between 2019 and 2029.
To boost their employability earning potential, graduates may want to supplement their bachelor's degree with additional credentials. For example, graduates may take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam to obtain an engineering intern or engineer-in-training credential. After gaining at least four years of work experience, professionals can sit for the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam and apply for a professional engineer license.Find the best bachelor's in electrical engineering programs
What Will I Learn in an Electrical Engineering Bachelor's Program?
Like most STEM programs, a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering requires students to complete standard calculus, chemistry, and physics courses. However, the curricula of electrical engineering programs are specialized, detailing the design and inner workings of various electrical systems.
Students take courses like an introduction to electrical engineering, along with more specialized classes in electromagnetic power systems, signals and systems, communication systems, and circuits. Participants also complete many lab-based courses. Some electrical engineering programs may offer concentrations or focus areas, such as those mentioned below.
- Communications and Signal Processing
The communications aspect of this concentration focuses on the efficient transfer of information through cellular, satellite, and Wi-Fi networks. Additionally, signal and image processing coursework covers the algorithms and systems used to transfer video and audio and construct radar, sonar, and other wireless data technologies.
- Computer Engineering
Students pursuing this concentration learn about the intersection of electrical and computer engineering. Computer systems are an increasingly ubiquitous presence, modifying technologies like automobile systems and surgical equipment that previously relied on mechanical or electromechanical systems.
In this concentration, learners study semiconductor devices — frequently at a system level where devices are linked to form microsystems. This technology is growing increasingly versatile and can be used to improve the functions of various infrastructures and products, such as automobile airbags.
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What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering?
Electrical engineers design electrical systems in smartphones, power grids, motors, and aircraft. These professionals may work in navigational, biomedical, or electric power manufacturing.
Because electrical engineers can contribute to so many different industries, professionals generally have designated areas of expertise. For example, avionics engineers work on satellites, aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles, while computer hardware engineers combine electrical engineering with computer science to design computer systems.
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How Much Money Can I Make With a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering?
Graduates with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering can pursue several lucrative careers. For example, according to the BLS, electrical engineers earn a median annual salary of $101,250, while aerospace engineers make $116,500 per year.
Computer hardware engineering is also a lucrative field, with these professionals making a median salary of $117,220, with the potential to earn even more within specific fields. For example, those working in Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing earn a median annual salary of $140,840.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering Programs
- What is electrical engineering?
Electrical engineering is a diverse field in which professionals design and sometimes supervise the manufacture of various electrical systems and products. Professionals may specialize in a certain product type or industry, such as electric motors, communication systems, automobile manufacturing, or navigation systems.
- What degree do you need to be an electrical engineer?
Nearly all positions in electrical engineering require at least a bachelor's degree, and employers generally prefer to hire applicants with relevant work experience. Fortunately, many undergraduates can access internships or training opportunities before graduation. Additional credentials, such as a master's degree or a professional engineering license, can give candidates a competitive edge when applying for advanced positions.
- How much does it cost to get a bachelor's in electrical engineering?
The cost of a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering varies depending on several factors, such as the school type and a student's enrollment status. Many institutions provide tuition discounts to in-state and online learners. Additionally, students in STEM may qualify for targeted scholarships and grants.
The National Center for Education Statistics reported that the average tuition at a four-year institution during the 2018-2019 school year was about $16,000.
- How many years does it take to become an electrical engineer?
Electrical engineering programs require about 120 credits. Full-time students can complete this degree in four years. However, this timeline can vary depending on a student's specific circumstances, such as their enrollment status and previous academic and professional experience.
- Are electrical engineers in demand?