Specialists with electrical jobs generally work as electrical engineers or in electrical maintenance positions. Electrical engineers work to design and develop the production of electrical equipment. They usually do research and development in a variety of settings, including independent firms, manufacturing facilities, and the government. Typical electrical engineer duties include:
Improving products by designing new methods for using electricity
Developing standards and specifications for material production
Ensuring that electrical products meet established codes
Candidates in electrical maintenance install and repair electrical equipment. They may specialize in utilities, telecommunications, transportation, or another industry. They often use software programs and other advanced equipment to test and diagnose problems. Typical duties for electrical installers and repairers include:
Repairing or replacing parts, including motors and fuses
Referring to manufacturer specifications and schematics
Assembling and testing equipment once repairs are complete
Electrical Job Education Requirements
Electrical engineers must obtain a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering or a related field. These programs typically include field studies, lab work, and coursework in systems design and electrical circuit theory. Most employers also prefer hands-on experience, which candidates can earn through prior employment or through cooperative engineering programs. Often licensing is not required unless an electrical engineer contracts for a government organization.
Electrical maintenance specialists generally obtain specialized training at technical colleges. This environment provides the focused knowledge that employers look for and even offers training in specific kinds of equipment or manufacturers. Certification by the Electronics Technicians Association International or the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians is voluntary, though this generally proves helpful when job searching.
Electrical Job Market
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electrical engineer jobs are projected to grow slowly, at about 4 percent throughout the next decade. This slow growth can be attributed to decline in many manufacturing sectors. Electrical engineers who want to be most competitive and position themselves at the top of their field may want to consider a specialization in computer systems design.
Total employment of electrical installers and repairers is expected to show very little change over the next decade. Candidates may see slight job growth in the field of commercial and industrial equipment repair, while other related fields project slight employment declines.
Electrical Job Salary Information
The average annual salary for electrical engineers is about $88,000 per year, according to the BLS. Some of the highest paying industries for candidates in this field include semiconductor manufacturing, navigational instruments manufacturing, and electrical power distribution.
The average annual salary for electrical maintenance specialists is about $51,000. Electricl repairers specializing in powerhouse and substation applications and electrical repairers specializing in commercial and industrial equipment earn the highest annual salaries, at $69,000 and $53,000 respectively.