What is the Electrical Engineer Job Outlook for the Future?

An image of electrical engineers for our FAQ about the Employment Outlook for Electrical Engineering

If you’re weighing the pros and cons of majoring in electrical engineering, you should look at the job outlook for electrical engineers.

An outlook gives you insight on job growth for a particular career. It forecasts changes for a career over a period of time.

In this article, you will learn how employable skilled electrical engineers are. You will look at the electrical engineering job outlook and learn if it is in demand. You will also read about the best places to find work as an electrical or electronics engineer.

Here’s an overview of the outlook for electrical and electronics engineering jobs.

What Electrical Engineers Do

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports 193,100 electrical engineers in the United States. Other engineers specialize in:

  • building
  • designing
  • testing electric motors and components

People use appliances every day with electrical components made by engineers. From power generators to cell phones, we rely on professional engineers for all our high-tech devices.

Electrical engineers have the technical skills needed to:

  • brainstorm fixes to bugs
  • connect wiring
  • develop circuitry
  • install electronics prototypes

There are many possible jobs in electrical engineering. Since we depend on their work to improve our lives, we need them in every field.

Read on for information about the job growth for this field of engineering.

Job Prospects for Electrical Engineers

The Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 4% job growth for engineers through 2029. But the job market growth for electrical engineering is 5%.

As companies rely on the engineering services and expertise of an electrical engineer, job growth will increase. Most of the growth will impact engineers in professional, scientific, and technical firms and organizations. Also, innovation will drive demand for electrical and electronics devices and other engineering services. As a result, we will need other engineers to create:

  • projects involving electronic devices
  • new components
  • electrical systems

The electrical engineer outlook is good for research and development. R&D needs electrical and electronics engineers to keep up with rapid innovation. Professional engineers will play key roles in the development of:

  • new communication technologies
  • semiconductors
  • solar arrays

In fact, the BLS reports adding 9,000 new electrical engineering jobs over the next eight years. This number means the electrical engineer job outlook is favorable.

Are Electrical Engineers in Demand?

A tempered growth rate doesn’t mean employability has stalled. There is an ebb and flow to electrical engineer job growth.

Remember, 9,000 jobs in electrical engineering are up for grabs over the next several years. Job placement is as simple as earning a bachelor’s degree and getting trained.

So, are skilled electrical engineers in demand?

Yes. And if you’re qualified, you should find a job.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports five states with the highest employment levels of electrical and electronics engineers:

  • California
  • Texas
  • Pennsylvania
  • Michigan
  • New York

Employment of electrical engineers in California consists of 26,360 jobs. Texas offers 14,200 jobs. While the two states differ in numbers, they have the most electrical and electronics engineers.

Other states where there is electrical engineering job growth:

  • Pennsylvania – 8,980
  • Michigan – 8,410
  • New York – 8,170

Top Metro Areas for Electrical Engineers

Metropolitan areas also show a good electrical engineer career outlook. These areas include:

  • Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Anaheim, California
  • New York, Jersey City, and Boston

Top Nonmetro Areas for Electrical Engineers

The electrical engineering outlook is also strong in nonmetro areas. In these areas, you’ll find the best employment of electrical engineers.

  • Kansas
  • Northeast Virginia
  • South-Central Wisconsin
  • Southern Indiana
  • West-Northwest Ohio

Read more about electrical engineering degrees here: 20 Best Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering

An image of electrical engineers for our FAQ on the Employment Outlook for Electrical Engineering

Maximizing Your Employability in Electrical Engineering

Get a degree

In the U.S., about 97% of electrical and electronics engineers have post-secondary education beyond a high school diploma. You have the best job prospects after you finish a four-year Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) at an ABET-accredited college.

Some universities offer five-year bachelor’s/master’s programs in electrical engineering. Companies prefer résumés listing extensive experience, so it’s important to land an internship. You can find internships in electrical engineering at:

  • Boeing
  • Carnegie Robotics
  • Chevron
  • Google
  • Saab Defense

Land an internship

Internships provide experience beyond the classroom. Internships are also a great way to make connections and network with those in the field. Some companies, in fact, hire their own interns.

But to land an internship, you need to showcase your skills. Employers expect good grades and test scores. They also want you to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam for the Professional Engineer (PE) credential.

Join a professional association

Another way to maximize your employability is to join a professional association like IEEE. The association offers membership to students. And once you’re a member, you can network with over 400,000 IEEE members.

Specialize your degree

Engineering is America’s fifth most popular major with 104,762 graduates.

But there’s still a shortage in several technical trades. You can specialize your degree and go where there are good electrical engineering job prospects. You can even pick up a minor or specialization in another engineering area such as:

  • biomedical engineering
  • petroleum engineering
  • environmental engineering
  • geological engineering

Picking a specialty can position you for quick job placement after graduation. For example, if you’re passionate about the inner workings of electronics, specialize in electrical engineering or electronics engineering.

Forbes reports 25% of the field’s current workforce is 55 and older. This means the current pool of employees will retire soon.

And as a result, the electrical engineering career outlook will look even better soon.

With a favorable electrical engineer job outlook on the horizon, now is a good time to specialize your degree.

Earnings Potential for Electrical Engineers

Financial security is one of many reasons to pursue engineering careers. Electrical and electronics engineers can expect to earn six figures at some point in their career.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical engineers make $100,830/year. But the lowest 10% make about $67,000/year and the highest 10% make over $159,500/year.

Earnings vary, depending on where you work. The top paying electrical engineer industry for this job includes research and development in:

  • engineering sciences
  • life sciences
  • physical sciences

In R&D, electrical engineers earn an average annual salary of $116,050.

Semiconductor and electronic component manufacturing also offers good pay for this career. In this industry, electrical engineers earn an average wage of $107,680/year.

The next highest-paying industry for electrical engineers includes fields like:

  • control instruments
  • electro medical
  • measuring
  • navigational manufacturing

In this industry, engineers earn $104,480/year.

Another top-paying industry is electric power generation, transmission, and distribution. Electrical and electronics engineers can expect to earn a median annual wage of $102,510/year in this industry.

Engineering services also ranks high for top-paying industries. In this field, electrical and electronics engineers earn an average annual salary of $98,440.

An image of electrical engineers for our FAQ on the Employment Outlook for Electrical Engineering

Where you live matters

Geographic location, or where you live, impacts earnings for electrical and electronics engineers. The job prospects (electrical engineering) are better in certain cities.

The BLS reports five top-paying areas for electrical and electronics engineers. These include:

  • District of Columbia
  • California
  • New Jersey
  • Vermont
  • Washington

The average electrical engineer salary in the District of Columbia is $126,840/year. This number is about $26,000 more than the average for all electrical engineers.

In California, earnings are less, but higher than the average. For instance, California electrical engineers earn $124,390/year.

New Jersey also offers competitive wages for electrical engineers. Here they earn an average of $120,140/year.

Vermont and Washington also rank among top-paying states for electrical engineers. In Vermont, the average pay is $118,460/year. The average annual salary in Washington is $117,790.

Certain cities and towns also offer high wages for electrical engineers. Top paying metro areas include many regions in California, such as:

  • San Jose
  • Sunnyvale
  • Santa Clara

In these areas, electrical engineers see average earnings of $150,480/year.

Metro areas of Idaho and Hawaii also offer a strong electrical engineer salary.

Washington, D.C., Arlington, and Alexandria are also high paying areas for electrical engineers. Here they earn an average of $130,150/year. And in Idaho Falls, Idaho, average earnings exceed $125,000/year for this career.

Top-paying Metro Areas

Other top-paying metro areas include:

  • Fresno, California
  • Yuba City, California
  • Stockton-Lodi, Georgia
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii

Top-paying Nonmetro Areas

But metro areas aren’t the only regions that offer higher than average wages for electrical engineers. High paying non-metro regions include:

  • Northern New Mexico
  • Southwest Alabama
  • Western North Dakota

In Northern New Mexico, electrical engineers earn an average of $121,900/year. Electrical engineers earn $116,870/year in Southwest Alabama. And in Western North Dakota they earn $115,880/year.

Western Kentucky also offers high earnings for electrical engineers. In this region, they earn $114,800/year.

Getting the Right Education for Electrical Engineering

With the right education, electronic engineering job outlook (electrical engineering job outlook) is favorable. That’s because employers hire electrical engineers with bachelor’s degrees.

Employers also like job candidates with practical work experience. This experience may come from:

  • cooperative engineering programs
  • internships

If you’re in high school and want to study electrical engineering in college, take science- and math-heavy courses. These classes will help prepare you for college.

Helpful high school classes include:

  • algebra
  • calculus
  • trigonometry
  • physics

Since electrical engineers work with technical sketches and drawings, drafting courses also help.

You can also attend summer engineering camps while in high school. These camps offer hands-on engineering activities. They also help you plan future coursework. Engineering Education Service Center offers a helpful director of engineering summer camps.

Here you will find a list of summer engineering camps for K-12 students in the U.S. and Canada. These camps include:

An image of an electrical engineer for our FAQ on the Employment Outlook for Electrical Engineering

  • iD Tech Camps
  • North Carolina State University Young Engineers of Today
  • STEM Summer Experience Camps

Also listed on the directory are local colleges and universities.

You need a bachelor’s degree to work as an electrical engineer. Your degree should be ABET-accredited, especially if you want to work for a top engineering firm or go to graduate school.

Most graduate electrical engineering programs want ABET-accredited bachelor’s degrees in engineering.

Important Qualities for Electrical Engineers

Besides a bachelor’s degree, there are important qualities you should have to work in electrical engineering. Soft skills aren’t always learned in the classroom but gained from experience. These qualities include:

Concentration

Electrical engineers work with complex electrical systems and components. They keep track of different elements while problem solving. The work requires concentration. You must learn to focus your attention if you want to succeed on the job.

Communication skills

Strong and effective communication skills help electrical engineers work in teams. And since engineers act as team leaders, they must communicate well in their leadership role.

Their job requires them to explain complex problems and solutions to customers or clients with little technical expertise. You have to convey information to people without an engineering background. The only way to do this is with strong communication skills.

Initiative

Initiative is important for electrical engineers. You’re always learning and improving your work. It takes initiative to:

  • apply knowledge to help solve problems
  • engage in continuing education
  • keep up with changes in technology

Writing skills

You develop your writing ability in college, but you keep skills sharp on the job. You need strong writing to develop technical publications. Your writing might include:

  • parts lists
  • product proposals
  • operation and maintenance manuals

Strong writing abilities help an electrical engineer convey information clearly and effectively.

BDP Staff
April 2022

Related:

This concludes our article on the employment growth in electrical engineering.

Brenda Rufener
Author

Julie McCaulley
Expert

Carrie Sealey-Morris
Editor-in-Chief