Electronics Engineer Education Requirements
Individuals interested in the functionality of electronics and how it can be applied to create new technology may want to consider becoming an electronics engineer. There are many accredited degree programs available to learn about electronics engineering.
Educational Requirements for Electronics Engineers
Electronics engineers work with electrical systems and circuits to produce advanced technology in a range of areas such as portable music players, global positioning systems and communication systems. They work on ways to use electricity to process signals and control equipment.
This discipline often overlaps with that of electrical engineering, which deals mainly with power generation and how it is delivered. Like all engineers, electronics engineers are good in math and science and strive to create new products and to pursue the latest breakthroughs in scientific technology.
Job Description for Electronics Engineers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electronics engineers specialize in developing and manufacturing applied electronic technology for use in various applications (www.bls.gov). Such work may be used in avionics electronics, mobile electronic devices and in communication systems. This broad occupation allows students to specialize in an area of electronics engineering.
Education Information and Requirements
Individuals interested in electronics engineering will need at least a bachelor's degree in engineering. The most common engineering degrees awarded are in mechanical, electrical, electronics and civil engineering, according to the BLS. These programs typically allow students to concentrate in a particular field of engineering. Some schools may offer joint electrical/electronic engineering programs.
Students often complete their general education and prerequisite coursework, including sequences in calculus and physics, in the first two years of an engineering degree program. Engineering major courses include topics such as digital systems, electronic circuits, signals and linear systems, engineering problems and statistics and a senior thesis.
Also, engineering students may pursue internships to gain work experience. Local student chapters of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) offer internships as well as opportunities for networking and engineering competitions.
Students should be sure an engineering program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). According to ABET, accreditation is required by many graduate schools, employers and licensing boards. ABET accredits both electronic and electrical engineering programs.
Electronics engineering graduates who want to work as independent professional engineers must obtain state licenses. At the minimum, these individuals needed to have graduated from an ABET-accredited engineering program, have four years of work experience and pass a state examination.
To become licensed, individuals must pass two exams administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). Students about to graduate may take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. After gaining the appropriate work experience, individuals can sit for the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam to complete their licening requirements.
Salary and Employment Outlook
According to the BLS, job opportunities for electronics engineers (excluding computer engineers) were projected to increase 5% between 2010 and 2020, which is slower than average for all occupations. Sectors expected to experience the most growth included research and development, engineering service and wireless communications. The median annual wage for electronics engineers was $91,820, as of May 2012.
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