Electrical engineers design, build, and maintain electrical equipment for many purposes. The broad discipline leads current and prospective engineering students to a vast career landscape.
You can pursue electrical engineering jobs in device and system management, consumer electronics, and research and development, among many other fields.
Continue reading to learn more about the electrical engineering profession and exciting postgraduate opportunities.
Electrical engineering jobs
Electrical engineering jobs tend to have similar titles and levels across the industries. Though the job descriptions for each title may vary among employers, electrical engineers enjoy a clear roadmap to advancement within the field.
The following list highlights common electrical engineering job titles, roughly in order of ascending seniority. The degree and experience requirements vary by employer.
- Electrical engineering technician or technologist
- Entry-level engineer
- Associate engineer
- Junior engineer
- Senior engineer
- Principal engineer
- Project manager
- Electrical engineering manager
What’s it like to work as an electrical engineer?
Electrical engineering jobs can look very different depending on the role, organization, and industry. The field comprises many subfields that learners can specialize in through their studies and professional experience, including:
- Communication systems
- Power and energy systems
- Signal processing
In general, electrical engineers strive to solve problems and better the world with new electronic devices and technologies. Within each industry, however, engineers can have vastly different roles and responsibilities. According to the BLS, the leading industries in 2020 were:
- Engineering services
- Electric power generation
- Navigational and control instruments manufacturing
- Research and development
- Semiconductor and electronic component manufacturing
The BLS found electrical engineers made median annual wages of $100,830 in May 2020, while the lowest-earning 10% made $64,870. Early-career engineers may find opportunities through networking, continuing education, and postgraduate credentials, such as professional engineering licensure.
What degree do I need to work as an electrical engineer?
According to the BLS, employers require a bachelor’s degree for most electrical engineering jobs. Careers in teaching and research and development may need a master’s degree. Some employers may also require a master’s degree or even state licensure for management positions.
Electrical engineering students also receive on-the-job training. Many electrical engineering degree curriculums include internships and practicums for hands-on training. Some even offer cooperative programs, which allow learners to gain practical experience by securing long-term job placements while in school.
Electrical engineering career fields and industries
Why are electrical engineering jobs among the most in-demand careers in STEM? One reason is flexibility. The following sections detail select career fields available for aspiring electrical engineers.
Entry-level salary: $72,770-$118,610
Common job titles: Aerospace engineer, aerospace systems engineer, and avionic engineer
A day in the life: Engineers in this field work on aircraft, spacecraft, and related equipment. The design, install, and evaluate electrical devices used in flying machinery, defense systems, and satellites.
Entry-level salary: $44,550-$102,370
Senior salary: $102,370-$176,270
Common job titles: Product engineer, automotive engineer, and development engineer
A day in the life: Electrical engineers in the automotive industry work with automotive systems, circuit design, and electrical equipment. They also work with electric, hybrid, and autonomous vehicles.
Entry-level salary: $70,100-$119,560
Senior salary: $119,560-$192,110
Common job titles: Telecommunications engineer, computer engineer, network systems engineer
A day in the life: Within computer engineering, electrical engineers may work in robotics, system architecture, and digital or analog circuits. Positions working with semiconductors and controllers may overlap with the computer engineering field.
Entry-level salary: $56,660-$92,260
Senior salary: $92,260-$150,800
Common job titles: Electrical site engineer; electrical design engineer; and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineer
A day in the life: Electrical engineers may oversee construction projects or help in the planning and tendering process. They also design electrical systems, troubleshoot electrical issues, and run system tests throughout the construction process.
Entry-level salary: $62,700-$98,440
Senior salary: $98,440-$161,010
Common job titles: Product engineer, manufacturing engineer, and design engineer
A day in the life: Electrical engineers design consumer goods and oversee the manufacturing process. These professionals test equipment, implement new tech, and research new developments in the field.
Entry-level salary: $65,000-$93,000
Senior salary: $93,000-$151,000
Common job titles: Electrical engineer officer, developmental engineer, and electrical engineering plans director
A day in the life: In addition to working with electrical equipment, electrical engineers manage radar systems and missile guidance systems in the defense industry. They also interact with advanced technologies, weaponry and vehicles, and warfare devices.
Entry-level salary: $69,210-$107,540
Senior salary: $107,540-$167,410
Common job titles: Circuit design engineer, controls engineer, and electronic systems engineer
A day in the life: Electronics engineers design electronic components, products, and systems across industries. They also evaluate existing electronics, make repairs, and develop and implement upgrades.
Entry-level salary: $68,830-$104,480
Senior salary: $104,480-$166,180
Common job titles: Product engineer, manufacturing engineer, and control and instrumentation engineer
A day in the life: These electrical engineers manage the equipment, instruments, and devices used in manufacturing plants and refineries. They measure and calibrate variables to ensure the automated processes go as planned.
Entry-level salary: $57,970-$95,640
Senior salary: $95,640-$154,340
Common job titles: Applications engineer, process engineer, and product engineer
A day in the life: Electrical engineers may work with nanomaterials for semiconductor, biotechnology, and aerospace applications. They create new technologies and scientific equipment using these sophisticated materials.
Entry-level salary: $70,010-$102,510
Senior salary: $102,510-$146,550
Common job titles: Controls engineer, stationary engineer, and design engineer
A day in the life: Electrical engineers in the power industry oversee the power conversion process, build and maintain grids and networks, and ensure safe and equal distribution to end-users. They also manage generators, circuit breakers, and transmission lines.
Entry-level salary: $65,000-$89,000
Senior salary: $89,000-$133,000
Common job titles: RF engineer, network engineer, and station chief engineer
A day in the life: Electrical engineers working with radio frequencies manage wireless networks and devices. They also design, install, and repair radio electronics for broadcasting stations.
Entry-level salary: $51,000-$90,000
Senior salary: $90,000-$105,000
Common job titles: Application engineer, distribution standards engineer, and lead electrical engineer
A day in the life: Electrical engineers work on renewable energy equipment and technology. They design and build electrical infrastructure, batteries, and new devices that use renewable materials and energy.
Entry-level salary: $61,000-$85,000
Senior salary: $85,000-$126,000
Common job titles: Robotics system engineer, robotics automation engineer, and design engineer
A day in the life: Electrical engineers in robotics design and build autonomous robots and robotic equipment. They also test the controls, machinery, and devices for safety and precision.
Entry-level salary: $69,000-$89,000
Senior salary: $89,000-$134,000
Common job titles: Digital signal processing engineer, signal integrity engineer, and mixed-signal design engineer
A day in the life: Signal processing engineers design boards and circuits to run electrical currents and process signals. These professionals work in defense, aerospace, communications, and broadcasting.
Entry-level salary: $66,150-$100,160
Senior salary: $100,160-$147,390
Common job titles: Network engineer, telecommunications engineer, and power protection engineer
A day in the life: These professionals design, build, and install telecommunications networks and devices. They ensure that the services and devices work correctly, efficiently, and safely.
Entry-level salary: $70,190-$103,150
Senior salary: $103,150-$149,440
Common job titles: Utilities engineer, power distribution engineer, and transmission engineer
A day in the life: In utilities, electrical engineers work with transmission lines and other utilities infrastructure components. They design grids, analyze efficiency and project designs, and provide maintenance and system upgrades.