“Design” has become something of a buzzword over the past 20 years. Designers work in a number of industries, including fashion, marketing, architecture, engineering and many others. Within the engineering field, electrical engineering “deals with the technology of electricity, especially the specification and design of electrical systems and equipment for power generation and distribution, control, and communications,” according to Byron G. Byraiah at the Whole Building Design Guide. So how does one become an electrical engineering design professional?
All engineers, including those in electrical engineering design, must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. However, this is just the first step in finding employment in electrical engineering design. Byraiah outlines the standard procedure: “An electrical engineer who has a certifiable bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from a recognized School or University and satisfies the requirements for Engineer In Training (EIT) and Professional Engineer (PE) examinations and experience can apply for the state PE license.” Engineers must then pass the state licensing examination to begin practicing.
Only then can someone become “a state Registered Professional Engineer who develops the electrical system design criteria, performs the analysis, and is responsible for the design, specification, preparation, and delivery of the electrical documents for the construction of projects.” This process can then improve with additional training, such as a master’s degree in electrical engineering, which can open up even more employment opportunities.
Why Are They Important?
Electrical engineering design is necessary in a variety of projects at a number of sites, including state institutions, schools, hospitals, commercial zones and many others. Electrical engineers are certified to protect the public from harm; thus education is extremely important. Bad design can lead to injury and even death, so a well-educated engineer is paramount.
What Does it Pay?
According to the salary site Payscale.com, electrical engineering design professionals can expect, on average, $70,000 a year — some engineers will earn as much as $100,000 a year. To gain a competitive advantage in the electrical engineering design market, some designers pursue a master’s degree in electrical engineering. Many find that the salary bump after graduation offsets the expense of earning another degree, and the additional professional development opens new employment opportunities.
Fortunately, electrical engineering design is a relatively new field. Payscale reports that very few in this profession have over 20 years of experience; thus, education seems to weigh heavily in hiring decisions. This is yet another reason some opt for a master’s degree in electrical engineering. Further, the site GoodCall.com, a data aggregation service, estimates that professionals with a master’s degree in electrical engineering can earn around $19,000 more a year than those with only a bachelor’s degree. Over a lifetime of earnings, this pay increase more than compensates for the initial investment of time and money.
Learn more about the University of Cincinnati online M.Eng. in Electrical Engineering program.
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