Most careers in the electronics engineering field feature a growth rate as fast as the average for the U.S., with electronic engineering positions boasting an average annual salary of $97,970. The field offers room for growth, career development, and high salary opportunities, especially for those with an advanced degree. The following article will address many of the questions students have about master's in electronics engineering programs, such as why to pursue the degree, what to expect, and some additional resources and professional organizations to help promote educational growth and professional networking opportunities.
Should I Get a Master's in Electronics Engineering?
In an electronics engineering program, students will hone in on their engineering skills and decide which discipline of electronics they would like to focus their work in. Ideally, students in the major should have an engineering background from any discipline, but be willing to learn the unique facets of the electronics engineering area. Students can explore opportunities to connect with their classmates and instructors to build lasting relationships. Post-graduate career opportunities could arise from the connections students make during their graduate program. Additionally, they can continue to build upon their networking skills in professional organizations once they graduate, allowing them to learn of new opportunities.
Students will be faced with a choice between online and on-campus education. Those with commitments to families or full-time jobs outside of their education might prefer to attend classes online, as this tends to offer more flexibility. On-campus programs are best suited for students who are coming straight out of their bachelor's, prefer face-to-face learning, and thrive in that type of setting. Whether a student decides to attend their master's courses online or on campus, they can be assured that there are plenty of lucrative job opportunities and various specializations available.
What Can I Do With a Master's in Electronics Engineering?
Electronics engineering covers a broad range of electronics-based topics, including biomedical engineering and broadcasting and sound. Depending on their specific niche, professionals in the field can work almost anywhere and in a variety of departments. Professionals all need to have strong analytical skills and be experienced with identifying and solving complex problems within an organization. They will often need to perform detailed calculations in their roles and will be asked to train other employees.
- Biomedical Engineer
Biomedical engineers are responsible for designing biomedical equipment and devices, such as artificial internal organs, machines for diagnosing medical problems, and replacements for body parts. They also train clinicians and other personnel on the proper use of biomedical equipment.
Median Annual Salary: $88,040*
- Electrical and Electronics Engineer
In charge of designing new ways to use electrical power and improve or develop products, electrical engineers work with project managers on their production efforts in order to make sure projects are completed satisfactorily, within budget, and on time. Additionally, electrical engineers perform detailed calculations that help develop construction, manufacturing, testing, and installation of electrical equipment.
Median Annual Salary: $97,970*
- Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technician
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians monitor, operate, and adjust the video, lighting, audio, and broadcast equipment to control the quality. They also keep records of recordings and the equipment that was used, convert video and audio records to digital formats, and synchronize sounds and dialogue with action taking place on movie productions or television.
Median Annual Salary: $42,650*
- Aerospace Engineer
Aerospace engineers design missiles, satellites, aircrafts, and spacecrafts. They also test and create prototypes in an effort to ensure they function according to their design. They are employed in industries whose workers build and design aircrafts and work in areas like research and development, manufacturing, and analysis and design.
Median Annual Salary: $113,030*
- Computer Systems Analyst
In charge of consulting with managers in order to determine the exact role of IT Systems within an organization, computer systems analysts write instruction manuals and train system users. They often specialize in computer systems that directly relate to the organization they work with.
Median Annual Salary: $88,270*
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
How to Choose a Master's Program in Electronics Engineering
Deciding which program to enroll in is one of the most important choices a student can face. The right program can set them on a successful path to graduate and begin the career they envision for themselves. There are a few key factors to consider when choosing a school and program, starting with whether a student wants to attend online or on-campus. The college or university website will generally have all program options and requirements, including pertinent information about internships, practicums, and course descriptions. Researching those elements will allow students to gauge how appropriate the coursework is for their personal interests and career goals. Other important factors to consider are cost of attendance, location, cost of living, and employment opportunities in the area.
Accreditation for Master's Programs in Electronics Engineering
There are two main forms of accreditation: regional and national. Programs at institutions that are regionally accredited make transferring credits a more seamless process. Nationally accredited programs are often excluded from tuition reimbursement plans and credits are not always transferrable. Finally, regionally accredited institutions are degree-granting programs, while nationally accredited institutions typically award certificates.
Programmatic accreditation is designed for the more specialized programs and departments. Ideally, a student will want to pursue their master's in electronics engineering at a regionally accredited institution within a department or program that has programmatic accreditation.
Master's in Electronics Engineering Program Admissions
Admissions teams work hard to determine which students are the right fit for electronics engineering master's programs. Admissions requirements at universities across the U.S. usually have some common denominators, as well as some unique requirements. Most universities require students to submit their undergraduate transcripts. Admissions teams will evaluate the transcripts to determine what coursework the student completed, what their major area was, and what grades they received during their undergraduate education.
Students will need to complete an admissions application and pay a fee. Some programs, especially online programs where the selection for admissions is more particular, will require additional admissions requirements like essays, letters of recommendation, and resumes. Students will need to review each program they are interested in to determine their individual admissions requirements and decide whether they are qualified enough to apply to the program.
- Bachelor's Degree: Students applying for their electronics engineering master's degree will need to achieve their bachelor's degree before applying. Some programs will require students to have their bachelor's in a related field, but others simply require a bachelor's degree in any discipline.
- Professional Experience: Students are not required to finish a certain amount of professional experience before they apply to a master's program, though some universities ask them to submit their resume.
- Minimum GPA: Each electronics engineering master's degree program will outline its own requirements for a minimum GPA, though they typically require between a 3.0 and a 3.5 minimum.
- Application: Taking about 20 minutes to complete from start to finish, admissions applications require students to complete basic information about themselves.
- Transcripts: Electronics engineering master's programs will require students to submit their undergraduate transcripts to be considered for admission. There are often small fees involved in requesting these be mailed or sent electronically to their college program of choice.
- Letters of Recommendation: If a program requires students to submit letters of recommendation, they will outline that in their list of admissions requirements and notate how many letters each student will need. Students should obtain recommendations from professional and educational contacts, and give their recommenders at least a few month's notice to write and submit them.
- Test Scores: Students will need to submit their GRE test scores and meet each school's individual required minimum score.
- Application Fee: Able to be waived at certain programs in special situations, application fees are usually between $50-$75.
What Else Can I Expect From a Master's Program in Electronics Engineering?
Students will be able to explore a variety of programs in the electronics engineering discipline. Though the programs will all share a common goal to provide students with the education they need to thrive in the field, the courses and concentrations offered will vary at each program.
|Computer Engineering and Digital Systems||Focused on the operation and design of computers and their systems, the computer engineering and digital systems concentration covers topics like logic design, the binary language of digital systems, and the means for storing and manipulating useful functions. Students will also learn about computer architecture, computer networking, and VLSI chip design.||Computer architect, computer engineer, computer design and networking|
|Signal Processing, Communications, and Control Systems||This concentration explores the disciplines concerned with storing, representing, transmitting, and interpreting information in systems of finite capacity in the presence of extracting information from image, speech, video, radar, sonar, and medical data signals. Applications in the concentration include remote sensing, robotics, imaging, and telecommunications.||Robotics, communications systems, telecommunications|
|Electromagnetic Fields||This focuses on the interaction of electromagnetic waves with materials. Applications include radar, radio astronomy, microwave circuits, satellite communication systems, transmission lines, waveguides, and antennas.||Electromagnetic waves and fields, radar|
|Photonics||The photonics concentration focuses on the application of optoelectronic and optical technologies in information science. Specific areas include data storage on volume media and disks; information transmission on free space and fiber networks; displays; and infrared and visible imaging systems. Course topics include the design of 3D microscopes for biomedical testing and the analysis and testing of fiber dispersion.||Photonics engineer, optical engineer, production of semiconductor light sources, transmission media|
|Solid-State Devices and Integrated Circuits||This specialty is centered around the manufacture and properties of building-block devices such as lasers, transistors, and diodes used in integrated circuits in order to build photonics and electronic systems. Applications covered include telecommunications equipment components, digital computer components, and displays.||Telecommunications and computer-based positions|
Courses in a Master's in Electronics Engineering Program
Each program will feature its own unique courses, but there are some common core courses that electronics engineering master's students will find at many colleges and universities. Programs ultimately aim to provide students with the foundation they need to succeed in electronics engineering with options for specialization.
- Engineering Practice
This course provides students with an introduction to electrical and computer engineering, focusing on microcontrollers, soldering, programming, systems engineering design, and circuit building. Students will work independently and with teams to learn how to communicate effectively.
- Signal Processing
Focused on providing students with an introduction to discrete-time signal processing, this course covers topics like complex arithmetic, sampling, linear time-invariant systems, frequency response, convulsion, MATLAB programming, and filter implementation.
- DC Circuits
Reviewing the definition of voltage, energy, power, and current, the DC circuits course provides students with an introduction to Ohm's law, resistors, voltage and current sources, capacitors, and operational amplifiers. Students will complete an integral laboratory in order to build electric circuits to measure current, resistance, power, and voltage.
- Elements of Electrical Engineering
This course is meant for engineers that do not have an electrical or computer background. It provides an analysis of passive circuits and an introduction to instrumentation, op-amps, AC power, and induction motors.
- Embedded Systems
This course covers topics such as input and output devices, standard communications protocols, microcontroller architecture, data representation and storage, and memory management.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's in Electronics Engineering?
Electronics engineering master's programs usually take students two years to complete if they enroll full time. Many students who have other time obligations, such as full-time jobs and familial commitments, will choose to enroll in a program part-time to allow themselves more flexibility but extending the time it will take them to complete their program. Some schools offer students the chance to complete an accelerated program, allowing them to finish in around one year. Programs without accelerated options will sometimes offer students the chance to double up on credits if they want to complete the program sooner than the two year average. Students should check with their academic advisor to explore their options if finishing sooner than two years is important to them.
How Much Is a Master's in Electronics Engineering?
One of the largest contributing factors to program cost is the price of tuition. Each program has its own unique tuition rates and structure, and they all come with their own set of fees. Some universities charge higher rates for out-of-state students, have special rates for online students, or simply offer one flat rate for all students. Tuition prices also vary depending on whether the student is enrolled full-time or part-time. On average, for an in-state, full-time student, the cost for tuition to obtain a master's in electronics engineering is around $1,100 per credit hour.
Other variants with program cost are technology costs and room and board. Depending on whether it is on-campus or online, students may have required technology purchases. Additionally, students will need to decide between on-campus or off-campus housing. On-campus housing often includes benefits like meal plans and deals on bus transportation services, but the cost is more elevated than off-campus housing. Once students determine the total program cost, they can then evaluate the amount of financial aid they are getting to determine what they can afford.
Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Electronics Engineering Prepares For
- Certified Electronic Systems Technician
The EST exam is certified by the Electronic Systems Professional Alliance and provides individuals with the foundational skills and knowledge required to pursue a career in a variety of fields, such as telecom, commercial and residential A/V, satellite, computers, and fire and safety.
- Certified Technology Manager
The program is based on an exam with an emphasis on technology management. Certification is ongoing, but CTMs are required to pay an annual fee to maintain their certification. Individuals can earn senior status by completing three years of post-graduate professional experience, maintaining their current certification, and reporting 30 PDUs of continuing education credits.
- Certified Calibration Technician
This certification is offered by the American Society for Quality, and they offer members a discounted rate on the exam. A certified calibration technician tests, maintains, and repairs electrical and mechanical instruments and equipment.
Resources for Graduate Electronics Engineering Students
Students can research an area of interest and get an extensive list of topics to help them with their studying. The site provides audio presentations and student-friendly explanations of complex topics.
A study site created by highly experienced engineers in an effort to help their fellow colleagues, Electrical for You provides information about renewable energy, electric power, and power control and distribution.
This site is an excellent tool for students looking for demonstrations and explanations of topics they need a little extra help on.
Virtual Labs provides remote access to labs in science and engineering. Students also have free access to a variety of tools and data to help them study.
For students interested in industry news, Electronics Weekly is a useful resource. The site covers topics in design, business, and products all related directly to electrical engineering.
Professional Organizations in Electronics Engineering
Joining a professional organization opens up many different benefits to students, but networking events and opportunities are perhaps some of the best and most important. Professionals can connect with others in their field, learn about job opportunities, and build lasting business connections. Below are a few examples of organizations students and other working professionals in the field may want to consider.