Electrical Certification and Certificate Program Options
Read about the coursework and requirements of undergraduate and graduate level certificates. Learn about credentials, career options, and salary and employment trends for professionals in this field.
Electrical and electronic engineering certificates are available at the undergraduate level through community colleges, technical schools and universities. At the graduate level, they are available through universities, both on campus and online. Program length may vary from a few days to several semesters.
Applicants to undergraduate certificate programs will need a high school diploma, while applicants for graduate certificate programs will need to have completed a bachelor's degree in a related field, and may also need to have work experience.
Electrical Engineering Undergraduate Certificate
Undergraduate certificate programs in electrical and electronic engineering provide students with a foundation in the theory of electronics though classroom instruction and laboratory work. Program graduates are qualified for entry-level work as electronics technicians and may continue their education into a bachelor's degree program in electrical engineering or a related field.
Electrical certificate programs focus on computer and electronic equipment, and students learn how to use the latest electrical engineering equipment. The length of certificate programs may be few days to 18 months. These programs may require students to complete college-level courses, especially in math, or to be enrolled in a related bachelor's degree program.
Undergraduate electrical certificate programs cover topics such as power systems, communications systems or microcomputers. Courses may include:
- Digital logic
- Electronic devices
Continuing Education Information
Along with continuing their education, certificate graduates may want to seek a professional credential that demonstrates their knowledge and competency in electrical engineering. The Electronic Technicians Association offers several electrical engineering certifications, including the Associate Certified Electronics Technician Certification, the Student Electronics Technician Certification and the Apprentice Certification.
To earn an Associate Certified Electronics Technician credential, applicants must have trade school training or less than two years of professional experience. The Student Electronics Technician Certification is designed for high school students. These credentials may be renewed through annual continuing education and training.
Employment Outlook & Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the employment outlook for electrical engineers was expected to see a six percent increase in job growth between 2010-2020 (www.bls.gov). Jobs for electrical and electronic engineering technicians were expected to grow by two percent over this same period. The BLS noted that in 2010 the median pay for electrical and electronic engineering technicians was $56,040 a year, while electrical and electronics engineers had a median pay of $87,180 a year.
According to Payscale.com, in 2011 electrical engineers made an annual salary of $45,221 to $99,031. Those with 1-4 years of experience earned $45,923-$77,461. Engineers with 5-9 years made $54,085 to $91,482.
Electrical Engineering Graduate Certificate
Graduate certificate programs generally allow students to specialize in a particular area of electrical engineering. These programs also help professional engineers remain current with industry trends. A graduate certificate program may also prepare students for a master's degree program. Applicants need a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering or a related field. Acceptance into a program may be determined by an admissions committee.
Students may specialize in an area of electrical engineering such as telecommunications or nanotechnology. Other areas of research may include:
- Radio frequency
- Information theory
- Stochastic estimation
- Communications theory
- Power systems
Popular Career Options
Electrical and electronic technician engineers may be employed in a variety of industries to design, develop, improve, test and repair electronic equipment. The BLS noted job growth in this area is expected because of developing and emerging technology. Wireless telecommunications and computer systems are two areas of job growth. Other areas of employment include:
- Semiconductor manufacturing
- Navigational, measuring, and control instrument manufacturing
- Architectural and engineering services
- Product evaluation
- Electronic equipment repair
- Electronics installation
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