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Electronics Engineering Career

Career Description

Electronics Engineers research, design, develop, and test electronic components and systems for commercial, industrial, military, or scientific use utilizing knowledge of electronic theory and materials properties. Design electronic circuits and components for use in fields such as telecommunications, aerospace guidance and propulsion control, acoustics, or instruments and controls.

Common Work Tasks

  • Design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electronic equipment such as broadcast and communications systems
  • Specialize in areas such as communications, signal processing, and control systems or have a specialty within one of these areas
  • Design electronic components, software, products or systems for commercial, industrial, medical, military, or scientific applications
  • Provide technical support and instruction to staff or customers regarding equipment standards, assisting with specific, difficult in-service engineering
  • Operate computer-assisted engineering and design software and equipment to perform engineering tasks
  • Analyze system requirements, capacity, cost, and customer needs to determine feasibility of project and develop system plan
  • Confer with engineers, customers, vendors or others to discuss existing and potential engineering projects or products
  • Review and evaluate work of others, inside and outside the organization, to ensure effectiveness, technical adequacy and compatibility in the resolution of complex engineering problems
  • Determine material and equipment needs and order supplies
  • Inspect electronic equipment, instruments, products, and systems to ensure conformance to specifications, safety standards, and applicable codes and regulations

Other Job Titles

Electronics Engineers are also known by other titles, including:

  • Mechanical Engineers
  • Computer Software Engineers
  • Industrial Engineers
  • Electrical Engineers

Education, Training, and Experience

Education and Training
A bachelor’s degree in engineering is required for almost all entry-level engineering jobs. College graduates with a degree in a natural science or mathematics occasionally may qualify for some engineering jobs, especially in specialties in high demand.

Most engineering programs involve a concentration of study in an engineering specialty, along with courses in both mathematics and the physical and life sciences. Many programs also include courses in general engineering. A design course, sometimes accompanied by a computer or laboratory class or both, is part of the curriculum of most programs. General courses not directly related to engineering, such as those in the social sciences or humanities, are also often required.

Graduate training is essential for engineering faculty positions and many research and development programs, but is not required for the majority of entry-level engineering jobs. Many experienced engineers obtain graduate degrees in engineering or business administration to learn new technology and broaden their education. Many high-level executives in government and industry began their careers as engineers.

Certification and Licensure
All 50 States and the District of Columbia require licensure for engineers who offer their services directly to the public. Engineers who are licensed are called professional engineers (PE). This licensure generally requires a degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program, 4 years of relevant work experience, and successful completion of a State examination. Recent graduates can start the licensing process by taking the examination in two stages. The initial Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination can be taken upon graduation. Engineers who pass this examination commonly are called engineers in training (EIT) or engineer interns (EI). After acquiring suitable work experience, EITs can take the second examination, the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. Several States have imposed mandatory continuing education requirements for re-licensure. Most States recognize licensure from other States, provided that the manner in which the initial license was obtained meets or exceeds their own licensure requirements. Many electronics, electronics, mechanical, and electronics engineers are licensed PEs. Independent of licensure, various certification programs are offered by professional organizations to demonstrate competency in specific fields of engineering.

Experience
  Engineers should be creative, inquisitive, analytical, and detail oriented. They should be able to work as part of a team and to communicate well, both orally and in writing. Communication abilities are becoming increasingly important as engineers frequently interact with specialists in a wide range of fields outside engineering.

Salary

The median annual salary for an electronics engineer is $83,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $125,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $54,000. Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of electronics engineers are:

  • Federal Executive Branch - $92,090
  • Semiconductor and Other Electronic Component Manufacturing - $86,800
  • Wired Telecommunications Carriers  - $77,080
  • Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services - $87,650
  • Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing - $87,050

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  4%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 5,100
  • Employment 2006 : 138,000
  • Employment 2016:  143,000
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