Careers with an Electrical Engineering Degree

It’s common knowledge that with this degree, you can become an electrical engineer. But what exactly does that mean? And is there anything else you can do with this degree?



A career as an electrical engineer

If you choose to work as an electrical engineer, you could be involved in the design and operation of industrial control systems, communications systems, electronic circuits, the generation and distribution of electrical power, or other electrical and electronic products and systems.


Beyond the scope of what types of products and/or systems you will be working on, this career path offers even more options.


For example, you can choose the kind of industry you want to work in, the kind of employer you want to have, the level of responsibility you’ll take on, and whether you’ll work in product development, maintenance, implementation, testing, improvement, or other areas.


Given all these options, your future career could take so many forms. It all depends on your interests, your preferences, and your career ambitions!


Other career options

And you’re not just limited to a career as an electrical engineer. The skills, knowledge and competencies that you can acquire by studying electrical engineering can be applied to careers both in the field, careers indirectly related to it, and even careers that aren’t related to it at all!


With the skills you’ll gain in this field, you’ll be attractive to so many types of employers, for so many different roles.



Interested in refining your knowledge base and skill set, to gain true expertise in an area of electrical engineering? As luck would have it, you also have the option to go on to graduate studies in a more specific area of this field.


From there you can choose to work in industry, or you can apply your skills and knowledge to performing research in the field, or teaching at the high school, college, or university levels.


But your academic options don't end there. An education in electrical engineering also provides a sound technological background for further studies in medicine, law, and education.





List of Careers Relevant to this Degree

The knowledge and skills you can gain by studying electrical engineering at the university level serve as an excellent foundation for a variety of careers.


Below, we’ve chosen careers that we feel relate to this degree, either because the subject matter of the degree relates to the occupational field, or because the skills you’ll need to be an effective employee can be gained in an electrical engineering degree program. Please note, this is not an inclusive list:


• Aeronautical Engineer

• Aerospace Engineer

• Aircraft Performance Engineer

• Airline Pilot

• Astronautical Engineer

• Automation Engineer

• Avionics Technician

• Blogger

• Broadcast Engineer

• Building Services Engineer

• Circuit Designer

• Consumer Advocate

• Design Engineer

• Distribution Planning Engineer

• Drafting Technician

• Electrical Engineer

• Electrical Systems Engineer

• Electrician

• Electronics Engineer

• Energy Efficiency Engineer

• Energy Engineer

• Entrepreneur

• Hardware Engineer

• Helicopter Pilot

• Hydro Engineer

• Instrumentation and Control Engineer

• International Aid Worker

• Maintenance Engineer

• Military Officer

• Nuclear Engineer

• Patent Agent

• Product Development Engineer

• Product Manager

• Project Engineer

• Research Engineer

• Robotics Technologist

• Sales Representative

• Subsea Engineer

• Technical Sales Engineer

• Technical Writer

• Telecommunications Engineer

• Telecommunications Technician

• Test Technician

• Toy Designer

• University Professor


Please Note: Some of the above listed careers require additional education, training and/or experience. Click on careers that are of interest to you to find out more about the qualifications you’ll need.



Possible Work Settings

If you choose to pursue a career in the field of electrical engineering upon graduation, you could end up performing a wide variety of tasks, in many possible work settings. For example, you could end up…


• Working in computer terminals designing electrical networks

• Working in manufacturing plants, designing and manufacturing products such as communications devices

• Working on civil engineering projects such as electrical power girds

• Working in a laboratory as a research and development specialist

• Working in a college or university as an Electrical Engineering Instructor

• Working in an office as a sales and marketing specialist for electrical and electronic devices



What Electrical Engineering Programs Teach You

Programs in this field typically encompass a wide range of subjects and hands-on learning opportunities that are designed to advance your technical knowledge and practical skills in the fundamental concepts and applications of electrical engineering.


These fundamental applications include the development and manufacturing of electrical and electronic equipment, as well as the design and implementation of electrical generation and distribution systems.



Typically, academic coursework emphasizes the fundamentals of key concepts in electrical engineering, such as circuit theory, control systems, instrumentation, and telecommunications.


Coursework also enables you to become knowledgeable in more advanced conceptual and design phases of engineering. It’s the mastery of these advanced phases that has enabled graduates that have come before to go on to produce extraordinary advances in the technology of electrical and electronic products and systems.


There's also usually the option to specialize in a particular area, such as computer applications, communications networks, industrial control or electrical power distribution.



Practical “Hands-On” Work

Many electrical engineering programs in Canada and the United States involve a final year design project. This allows you to apply the knowledge and skills you’ve gained to a complex engineering design challenge.


Workplace education experience, such as co-op opportunities and internships, allow you to apply your developing skills prior to graduation. These opportunities may take place throughout the final two years of your program, or just within the final year.





Employable Skills Gained by Graduates

Electrical engineering programs are designed to teach you skills that are necessary to succeed in a relevant career. As a graduate, you should be armed with skills and knowledge in the following areas:


• Calculus for electronics

• Circuit analysis

• Communication networks

• Electrical power systems analysis and design

• Electromagnetics fundamentals

• Electronic manufacturing processes

• Electrical engineering materials

• Engineering statistics

• Feedback control

• Marketing and communication for engineers

• Microcontroller systems

• Physics for electronics

• Power systems components

• Sensors and signal conditioning

• Signal processing and filters

• Technical communication for electrical engineering

• Technical mathematics for electronics

• Wireless system design



Other Transferrable Skills You Can Gain

In addition to learning skills meant to be applied in careers in the field of electrical engineering, you will also develop a set of skills that are applicable to careers outside of the field. These skills include (but are not limited to):


• Communications skills

• Teamwork skills

• Organizational and time management skills

• The ability to meet tight deadlines

• The ability to solve complex problems

• Attention to detail 






Who Employs Graduates?

Well, somebody is; according to the University of Manitoba, there are over 235,000 electrical engineers employed in North America! Most of whom are employed by:


Manufacturers of:


• Electrical and electronic equipment

• Computer hardware and software

• Aircraft

• Automobiles

• Business machines

• Professional and scientific equipment


Other Types of Employers:


• Telephone and Internet service providers

• Utility companies

• Government agencies

• Colleges and universities

• Construction firms

• Public and private engineering research firms

• Biomedical firms

• Engineering consultants

• Self-employed (as consulting engineers)



Typical Salary Level of Graduates

The salary level you could earn as an electrical engineering graduate can vary quite a bit, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your level of education (bachelor’s, graduate etc.)

• Whether or not you end up working in electrical engineering

• If you achieve a professional designation (such as P.E.)

• The amount of work experience you’ve accumulated

• The size and type of your employer

• The industry in which you find work

• The region in which you find work


That’s a lot of factors that can influence your earnings. To make it easier to determine what you could earn, let’s just look at the average salary level of an electrical engineer.


Salaries in Alberta: According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working as part of the Electrical Engineer occupational group earn an average salary of $104,815 per year.


Salaries in the United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Electrical and Electronics Engineers occupational group is $89,630 per year.



Electrical Engineering Scholarships

If you’re looking for help paying for school, then check out our scholarships database; it contains Canadian and American scholarships that are specific to electrical engineering, as well as scholarships that are open to any field of study!


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.



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