EE Degree Programs with Career Information

Oct 20, 2021

Essential Information

Electrical engineering (EE) degree programs prepare students to design and create electrical systems and equipment for commercial and industrial uses. Systems and equipment may include lighting systems, electric motors, navigation systems, power generators, automobiles and aircraft.

Students interested in EE may pursue two-year associate's degrees, four-year bachelor's degrees, two-year master's programs, and Ph.D. programs. Ph.D. programs can specialize in electromagnetics, communications, and photonics. Prerequisites vary depending on the degree, ranging from a high school diploma or equivalent for associate's and bachelor's degrees, bachelor's degree for master's programs, and bachelor's or master's degree for Ph.D. programs.

Electrical Engineering Associate's Degree

The 2-year associate's program teaches basic concepts related to building, operating and repairing various types of electrical devices. Classes in EE associate's degree programs focus on teaching concepts related to creating and repairing electrical circuits and power sources. Many associate's programs in EE are setup for students to transfer to a 4-year institution following graduation. Programs usually cover the topics mentioned below:

  • Electrical circuits
  • Digital circuits
  • Industrial electronics
  • Electrical applications
  • Engineering calculus

Electrical Engineering Bachelor's Degree

Bachelor's degree programs in EE take four years to complete and focus on topics relevant to designing, building and repairing devices that need an electrical current to function properly. Such electrical engineering programs usually include a core of required classes that cover basic engineering concepts and offer electives that allow students to focus on specific engineering topics. Students learn through lectures and take lab courses that provide hands-on opportunities to apply what they have learned. Below are some common topics:

  • Robotics
  • Electrical circuitry
  • Embedded electrical systems
  • Electrical wiring

Electrical Engineering Master's Degree

A master's degree program in EE usually takes two years of full-time study to complete. Students usually complete a research project for which they write a thesis. They take courses covering advanced mathematics and scientific applications. Many EE master's degree programs allow students to specialize in a particular area of electrical engineering, such as solid state circuits, bioelectronics or electromagnetics. These subjects are often covered:

  • Design software systems
  • Information technology
  • Digital signal processing
  • Optimization theory
  • Photonics

Electrical Engineering Doctorate Degree

Doctorate degree programs in EE build on students' prior understanding of science and engineering and provide specialized information about engineering topics of the students' choosing. Students in EE doctorate degree programs usually have to complete a unique research project and dissertation prior to graduation. Students in EE doctorate programs often choose a particular area of specialization. The topics listed below are popular areas of specialization:

  • Photonics
  • Communications
  • Electromagnetics
  • Solid state devices
  • Space technology

Popular Career Options

There are relatively limited career options for people who only earn an associate's degree in EE, since most jobs in the field require at least a bachelor's degree. People who hold an EE associate's degree might qualify for the following positions:

  • Electronic equipment repair technician
  • Electrical equipment assembler
  • Electrical engineering technician

Students who graduate from such programs might qualify for many entry-level positions in the field. The careers listed below are common options for those with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering:

  • Electrical engineer
  • Electrical device designer
  • Electronics manufacturer

Earning a master's degree in electrical engineering qualifies graduates for many advanced careers dealing with electronics and electrical systems. The careers listed below are popular options for graduates:

  • Bioelectrical engineer
  • Solid state circuit engineer
  • Electromagnetic engineer

In addition to preparing people for careers as engineers, EE doctorate programs provide the knowledge needed for graduates to assume academic positions. EE doctorate program graduates often work in:

  • Industrial research
  • Executive corporate positions
  • Academia

Employment and Career Outlook

There are a number of jobs available for students with a degree in EE. Among others Individuals who have an associate's and bachelor's degree can get a job as an electrician. For prospective electricians, the BLS expects a growth of 8% between 2019 to 2029. The median salary for electricians in 2019 was $56,180.

Individuals with higher degrees in EE can take advantage of even more job options, one career being a postsecondary instructor. While competition for tenured jobs is fierce, the job outlook for postsecondary instructors is expected to be 9%, faster than average, for 2018 to 2028, according to the BLS. The median salary for post secondary teachers in 2019 was $68,970.

Depending on the job qualifications of the career you want to enter, there are electrical engineering degrees at the associate, bachelor, masters and doctoral level. The types of jobs vary from electricians to postsecondary instructors.

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