What's the Entry-Level Salary for Electronics Engineering Careers?
If you're interested in designing and developing electronic equipment, there are a few career paths you could take. For example, you could become an electronics engineering technician or an electronics engineer. Read on to see how entry-level pay will vary depending on the extent of your education, your location and your employer. Schools offering Electrical Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Career Overview: Electronics Engineers and Electronics Engineering Technicians
While both electronics engineers and electronics engineering technicians both work in the same field, the two careers do differ slightly in their job duties and academic focus. Technicians are generally responsible for the hands-on aspects of electronics; they build and inspect electrical equipment and observe and address any errors that may come to light. Engineers are responsible for the conceptual and design elements of electronics production. They work closely with electronics engineering technicians by overseeing the manufacture or installation of electronic machines or devices to make sure everything is carried safely and properly.
Important Facts About These Occupations
|Electronics Engineering Technicians||Electronics Engineers|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||0% growth||3% growth|
|Licensure||None||Optional Professional Engineer (PE) license|
|Professional Certification||Optional certification in Electrical Power testing||None|
|Key Skills||Mechanical, observational, and writing skills||Speaking and interpersonal skills; initiative|
|Work Environment||Factories, laboratories, and offices||Offices; some on-site work|
|Similar Occupations||Electromechanical technician||Aerospace engineer|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Electronics Engineering Technicians
If you have little or no prior experience in electronics engineering, it is sometimes possible to qualify for an electronics engineering technician position; however, most employers tend to prefer engineering technicians with at least associate's degrees in engineering technology. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most electrical and electronics engineering technicians earned between $35,880 and $87,840 in May 2014 (www.bls.gov). The average wage for these professionals was $60,330.
Salary by Industry
The most common industry employing these technicians in May 2014 was architectural, engineering and related services, which offered an average wage of $58,600, the BLS reported. Average wages for other common industries were $57,960 for semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing and $55,650 for navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instruments manufacturing. Newspaper, book, periodical, and directory publishers offered these professionals the highest average wage of $81,910.
Salary by State
California employed the highest number of electrical and electronics engineering technicians as of May 2014 and paid them an average wage of $65,200, according to the BLS. New Mexico, which had the highest job concentration of any state, offered high average wages of $63,630. The District of Columbia offered these professionals the highest wage of $78,210. Some places with the lowest average wages, which were between $40,230 and $55,370, included Wyoming, Florida, Arkansas, Michigan and Tennessee.
To work as an electronics engineer, you must first earn a bachelor's degree in engineering. Many schools offer bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering or electrical engineering technology, both of which may qualify you for entry-level jobs; however, a degree in electronics engineering technology may not qualify you for licensure as a professional engineer (PE). In September 2015, PayScale.com reported that most entry-level electronics engineers earned between $43,627 and $82,509. The BLS reported that electronics engineers overall earned an average wage of $99,660 in May 2014.
Salary by Industry
According to the BLS, the wired telecommunications carriers was the most common employer of electronics engineers in May 2014, and it offered an average wage of $88,440. Architectural, engineering and related services offered an average wage of $99,210, and the federal government offered an average wage of $104,400. Other information services paid the overall highest average wage of $125,050.
Salary by State
The BLS reported that California, which paid electronics engineers an average wage of $111,660, had the highest employment level in May 2014. Rhode Island had the highest job concentration overall and offered one of the highest average wages of $117,510. The District of Columbia paid these professionals the highest average wage of $117,750. The lowest average earnings, which were found in states that included North Dakota and Montana, ranged from $65,230-$81,850.
Associate's Degree in Electronic Engineering Technology
If you enjoy the hands-on aspect of engineering and prefer to work in the design, testing and repair of electronic equipment, you might wish to pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree in electronic engineering technology. Most associate's degree programs in this field can be completed in 1-2 years and prepare you for entry-level work in electronic device development and testing under the supervision of technologists or engineers. Courses cover the basics of electronic applications and mathematics, often including subjects like:
- Electrical circuitry
- Digital electronics
- Engineering programming
- Industrial electronics
Bachelor's Degree in Electronics Engineering Technology
A Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology may qualify you for entry-level engineer technologist or applied engineering positions. Your work will usually consist of practical applications of engineering design and may include product quality control, testing, electronic component modification and prototype construction. You can expect to complete this program in four years and take courses in the following topics:
- Circuit analysis
- Microcomputer systems
- Circuit Analysis
- Programmable controllers
- Manufacturing management
Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering
If you're more interested in the theory and design aspects of electronics engineering, you might wish to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. According to ABET, Inc., engineers and technologists are closely related; however, engineer work and education focus more on engineering theory and design rather than applications and testing (www.abet.org). Electronic engineering degree programs include instruction in electronics and component design, as well as courses in:
- Linear control systems
- Signal processing
- Computer-aided design
- Communications systems
- Digital design
Graduate Degrees in Electrical Engineering
For an advanced career in teaching or research, you might consider pursuing a master's or doctoral degree in electrical engineering. A master's degree can typically be completed in 2-3 years and may include an option to write a thesis. A doctorate will most likely take 5-6 years, depending on how long you take to research and complete a dissertation. Graduate degree programs may feature similar, advanced coursework and allow you to choose elective courses based on your field of interest. Potential course topics may include:
- Wireless communications
- Control systems
- Media engineering
- Signal processing
According to November 2015 PayScale.com findings, employees with a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and less than one year of experience earned a median salary of $72,487 while entry-level employees with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and less than one year of experience earned a median salary of $89,980.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: