How Do You Become an Electronic Engineer? - Education & Career Path

Find out what an electronics engineer does to see if this career is right for you. Learn about the educational requirements, salary, working conditions, and more. Schools offering Electrical Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview for Electronics Engineers

Electronics engineers help to create the many electronic devices used in daily life, from smartphones to televisions; they are an important facet of many industries, from tech to medicine to spaceflight. These engineers may work in the design process, take part in the assembly and manufacturing, or do repairs and maintain existing electronics. The following chart contains more details about this profession.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Electrical or electronics engineering
Key Skills Aptitude for mathematics, effective communication abilities, and capable of reading diagrams
Licensure Professional Engineer (PE) license (optional)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 4% (electronics engineers, except computer)
Median Salary (2017)* $102,180 (electronics engineers, except computer)

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does an Electronics Engineer Do?

Electronics engineers work with electronic devices in every stage of their life cycles, from designing concepts to keeping old systems functioning long after their expected obsolescence. Some work in telecommunications, maintaining and expanding the infrastructure of the phone network and the internet, while others work in electronics manufacturing or are employed by government organizations such as the FAA, where they check the avionics systems in planes and airports. Electronics engineers are also employed by the military, designing devices that can handle the difficult conditions soldiers face or even systems capable of operating aboard satellites in space.

What Sort of Education and Training Is Needed to Become an Electronics Engineer?

A bachelor's degree in electrical or electronics engineering is quite suitable for those looking to get started in the field, although five year programs which result in a bachelor's and a master's degree are also an option. Engineering requires a thorough understanding of math, up to the level of calculus, so a focus on math even in high school can be beneficial. Internships are common and extremely advantageous for finding a job after graduation. Electronics engineers should also be able to draw and write legibly, as they may have to provide circuit diagrams which others will need to interpret, so classes in drafting are a good idea as well.

What Kind of Pay Do Electronics Engineers Receive?

2017 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the median salary for electronics engineers (excluding computer hardware engineers, collected separately) is $102,180. Those in the lowest 10% made $64,030 or less annually, while the highest 10% made over $160,360 each year, making electronics engineers a very well paid field overall. Electronics engineers working for the federal government or on specialized equipment (such as that used for navigation or in medical settings) had a slightly higher income than the overall group, with median salaries of $110,650 and $110,200 respectively. Acquiring a Professional Engineer license can help to secure higher pay as one moves further along in their career.

What Level of Growth is the Field of Electronics Engineering Expect to See?

Electronics engineers are expected to see an employment growth of 4% over the ten year period from 2016 to 2026, a bit lower than the national average of 7% for all careers. While electronics engineers are in demand, the decline of manufacturing within the U.S. and outsourcing of factories means fewer positions in that sector will become available. Research opportunities and jobs developing new technology are predicted to make up much of the growth, with a focus on renewable energy and the need for upgraded telecom infrastructure driving it.

What Are Some Careers Related to Electronic Engineering?

Electrical engineering is an interrelated field, dealing with electricity and electrical systems more generally, working on things like motors. They also commonly find work in power plants. Computer hardware engineers are electronics engineers who work on computer parts such as memory and processors, dealing with micro-circuitry. Electrical and electronic engineering technicians are assistants that work with electronics engineers, testing new products and gathering data on their behalf, and require less education before being able to enter the work force.

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