Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment, such as electric motors, radar and navigation systems, communications systems, and power generation equipment. Electronics engineers design and develop electronic equipment, such as broadcast and communications systems—from portable music players to global positioning systems (GPSs).
Electrical and electronics engineers work in industries including research-and development, engineering services, manufacturing, telecommunications, and the federal government. Electrical and electronics engineers generally work indoors in offices. However, they may have to visit sites to observe a problem or a piece of complex equipment.
How to Become an Electrical or Electronics Engineer
Electrical and electronics engineers must have a bachelor’s degree. Employers also value practical experience, so participation in cooperative engineering programs, in which students earn academic credit for structured work experience.
Employment of electrical and electronics engineers is projected to show little or no change from 2014 to 2024. Change in employment is expected to be tempered by slow growth or decline in most manufacturing sectors in which electrical and electronics engineers are employed.
This occupation supported 306,100 jobs in 2012 and 315,800 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 3.2%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 4.1% in 2022 to 318,800 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 308,600, compared with an observed value of 315,800, 2.3% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to decrease by 0.0% in 2024 to 315,700 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 321,300 jobs for 2024, 1.8% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation.