What is Electrical Engineering, and is it Right For You?
Jobs in Electrical Engineering and the related field of Electrical Technician are good-paying jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for an Electrical Engineering job in May 2012 was $43.09 and the median annual salary was $89,630. For an Electrical Technician, those figures were $27.81 and $57,850, respectively.
Electrical engineers design, test and perfect the manufacture of electrical equipment. This equipment includes computers, communications systems, radar systems, navigation systems such as GPS, power generation equipment and electric motors. Electrical engineers also know how to troubleshoot problems in electrical equipment and electrical systems and repair or tell others how to fix those problems.
The Electrical Engineering Technician is the right hand of the electrical engineer. That tech assists electrical engineers in research and development on electrical equipment and computer systems. They also know how to repair elecrical equipment and systems. They test and record testing results on these systems. They are knowledgeable about electronic circuitry and wiring. They also put together models for electrical and electronic systems following engineering specs.
As for education, Electrical Engineering requires an undergraduate degree in engineering, electronics and communcations or a similar discipline for an entry-level position. The position of Electrical Technician requires a associate’s degree. A Technical School such as Rosedale Tech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania offers an associate’s degree in Specialized Technology for the person who wants to become an Electrical Technician. Electrical Technology is the name of the course at Rosedale Tech that a student aspiring to become an Electrical Technician takes.
Skills electrical engineers need include a knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips and electronic equipment; a knowledge of computers. including hardware, software, applications and programming; and a proficiency in statistics and all areas of math, including calculus. Among the skills that an assistant to an electrical engineer needs are good skills in math; good verbal and written skills in English; a knowledge of tools and machines; and a knowledge of computers and applicable software.
People in the Electrical Technology program at Rosedale learn about residential and commercial wiring, commercial circuitry, electronic machine control and programmable logic controllers. In the last two areas, Technical School students learn about the electrical systems and devices that help to control the automation of industrial machinery. Technical School students also learn how to repair motors.
Technical Schools give students not only theory but they are also heavily invested in hands-on learning. Students at Rosedale, for example, do electrical wiring for a business or a home at a special wiring zone at the school. Technical School students also learn other valuable lessons. At Rosedale, students can learn about OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) safety standards. They can also learn how to operate a scissor lift, a piece of equipment that elevates workers so that they can reach installation, repair and maintenance jobs high overhead.