Becoming a Radio Frequency Engineer: Training, Degree & Job Description

Explore the requirements of becoming a radio frequency engineer. Find out about the education and skills needed to be a specialized electrical engineer. Schools offering Electronics & Communications Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

A radio frequency engineer constructs, designs, tests, manages, and repairs electrical equipment and systems such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS), broadcast, music, streaming, and communication equipment. Check out the quick-glance guide below to find out if this career is in tune for you.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Educational Field of Study Electrical and computer engineering
Key Skills Proficient in math, theory, and physics
Job Growth (2016-26) 9% as fast as avg. (electrical engineers)*
Median Annual Salary (2018) $96,640 (electrical engineers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Radio Frequency Engineer?

A radio frequency engineer typically works indoors but may travel to different sites for observation, instruction, or installation of electrical instruments and systems. A radio frequency engineer is a specialized electrical engineer who finds ways to harness electromagnetic waves for use in communications, radars, television, digital and analog circuits, Radio Frequency Identification (RIF) tags, and magnetic resonance imaging.

What Does a Radio Frequency Engineer Do in a Typical Day?

A radio frequency engineer works on a variety of tasks ranging from project development, creating sketches for new electronics, documenting required materials and technology needed for projects, evaluating electrical instruments and systems, and documenting software, hardware, and product performance. Many radio frequency engineers develop manuals for installation, usage, and maintenance of electrical devices and systems. Some radio frequency engineers evaluate equipment or systems for efficacy, adequacy, or compatibility of electrical components.

What Type of Areas Do Radio Frequency Engineers Work In?

Radio frequency engineers work in all areas of business such as industrial, medical, commercial, military, science, and governmental. Positions of employment can vary widely for radio frequency engineers as many work in departments such as research, design, development, testing, building, or management of anything from small electrical devices to large, complex systems. Jobs may be found in areas including radio, television, wireless networks, microwaves, broadband, and optical communications.

What Type of Skills Are Needed to Work as a Radio Frequency Engineer?

A radio frequency engineer must have a bachelor's degree and strong knowledge of electrical theory and material components. Many engineers are curious, persistent, detail-oriented, and realistic thinkers. Work can be tedious as it involves planning, figuring, measuring, and remeasuring of tiny parts and instruments while completing documentation and evaluation of the project. Any background in electrical or computer engineering is a great benefit for someone interested in becoming a radio frequency engineer. Employers also value those with co-op experience or internships in the field of electrical or computer engineering.

What Type of Courses Do Radio Frequency Engineers Take?

Courses for becoming a radio frequency engineer typically involve classes in radio frequencies, circuit systems, design, electrical theory, and practical knowledge. Additionally, classes entail how to block, obtain, and control electromagnetic waves for everyday and emergency uses. Many studies involve learning the components, applications, limitations, and concepts of electrical energy. Detailed studies include classes on coupling structures, mixers, amplifiers, and sub-systems. General knowledge of transistor operations, circuit analysis, and hands-on experience are highly valued by potential employers. If you are someone who enjoys tinkering, investigating, problem-solving, and building, radio frequency engineering may be the career for you.

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