Electrical engineers stand at the forefront of the design, development, testing and deployment of equipment for industry and manufacturing. This wide field can put you to work in power or guidance-control systems in aviation, the electrical systems in automobile manufacturing, in power generation or construction. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that electrical engineers and technicians take jobs with architectural firms, semiconductor companies, navigation manufacturing companies, electric power utilities and communication companies.
About associate degrees in electrical engineering
Electrical engineers need broad knowledge spanning information technology, design, electronics, mathematics, mechanics and science. Associate degrees in electrical engineering offer the chance to learn the fundamental skills before you focus on a specific specialty. The curriculum could include AC and DC circuit theory, oscilloscope measurements, printed circuit board layout, or relays and robots.
Some 13 percent of all electrical engineers hold associate degrees, according to the Department of Labor's O*NET website, while the majority have earned a bachelor's degree. Electrical engineering majors combine computer science, electrical power systems, physics, math, machine systems, electromagnetics, signals, nanoelectronics and high-speed communication systems.
Electrical engineering career outlook and salary
The trend of outsourcing electrical engineering services to other countries increases the competitive nature of the U.S. job market, and the BLS projects slower than average growth of 7 percent between 2010 and 2020 in this occupation. The best prospects should be with firms offering engineering expertise and design services or in manufacturing companies. The median annual salary in 2010 for the 158,000 electrical engineers in the U.S. was $84,540 or $40.65 hourly.
Associate degrees in electrical engineering prepare students for roles as electrical or electronics engineering technicians, which allows you to begin gaining experience in the field. In electrical engineering, techs often help to design or test electronics. The BLS reports that electrical engineering technicians earned a 2010 median wage of $56,040.
Where is the electrical engineering field going?
The Labor Department predicts a strong demand for electrical devices, especially in these areas:
- Electric power generators
- Wireless phone transmitters
- High-density batteries
- Navigation systems
Up-to-date skills and knowledge are vital for electrical engineers. Whether you're an engineering tech pursuing a higher degree, or a professional engineer seeking continuing education, online studies offer flexible scheduling for busy adults with job and family commitments.