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Electrical Engineer

Career Overview

Electrical engineers design electrical equipment of all types. They also oversee the development and testing of prototypes for their creations. Electrical engineers may be employed by appliance manufacturers, by auto manufacturers, by construction firms or by government utility agencies. Electrical engineers also design  power delivery systems, at the building level and at the utility company level as well. Electrical engineering goes into automobile design, aircraft design and into thousands of consumer items.

Education

Electrical engineering is one of the most common engineering degrees. A bachelor's degree is sufficient for an entry level position; many engineering degrees require high school preparation in mathematics and one or more of the physical sciences. Because of the rapid pace of technological development electrical engineers have to make an effort to keep up with changes in the field. Licensure is required, often with experience in the field as one of the requirements. Many newly graduated electrical engineers take the exam in two stages in order to qualify for an entry level position.

Employment

Electrical engineering is one of the most populous of the engineering fields. The Labor Department estimates that 153,000 electrical engineers were working in the U.S. in 2006. Electrical engineering for architects is one of the most common specializations in the field.

Job Outlook

This profession is projected to grow at a slow pace over the next several years. Many electrical engineering jobs are now being outsourced to foreign countries, particularly in the consumer products field. Engineers working for specialty firms that provide design services to developers or large construction firms should be protected somewhat from the outsourcing drain on job opportunities.

Salary

Lowest 10% $52,990

Median Salary $82,160

Highest 10% $125,810

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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