FAQ: What Degree Does an Electrical Engineer Need?

From batteries to cell phones to computers, electrical engineers touch the technologies that touch people’s lives. Electrical engineers design, study and operate devices and systems that use electric and electromagnetic energy. They’re behind improvements in communications technologies and computers. Youll find that electrical engineer education requirements vary widely based on the job.

bachelor’s degree

Here’s why an electrical engineering degree is worth it

What does an electrical engineer do?

An electrical engineer designs and tests electrical products and supervises the manufacturing process to ensure products meet quality and safety standards. Heres a list of additional duties and responsibilities an electrical engineer may have:

What is an electrical engineer?

An electrical engineer is a professional who uses their knowledge of engineering, physics, electricity and electromagnetism to create devices and products that use electricity to function. This may include items such as cellphones, batteries, computers, satellites, vehicles, wind turbines and even robots. They also contribute to the advancement of technology by researching ways to optimize the performance of existing technologies and inventing new products or services that help people. Some electrical engineers focus on renewable energy and using electricity to reduce humans impact on the environment.

How long does it take to earn an electrical engineering degree?

It typically takes aspiring electrical engineers at least four years to complete a bachelors degree in electrical engineering or a related field. Some students may complete their degrees faster if they complete their general education courses at a community college or take abbreviated courses. Taking small course loads throughout your training may also affect the length of time to earn the degree. Masters degrees in electrical engineering may last one to three years.

What degree does an electrical engineer need?

Electrical engineers require at least a bachelors degree from an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) approved institution. Some examples of these degrees include a bachelor of science in electrical engineering or a bachelor of science in computer engineering. Heres a list of coursework common in these degree programs:

Electrical engineering programs may also offer different concentrations that assist aspiring engineers in choosing a specialization. Some concentrations may include nanotechnology, software engineering, hardware engineering, power systems, renewable energy, mechatronic systems and engineering management. Some universities may offer concentrations such as control systems and communications. A communications concentration may involve learning about wireless networking, noise suppression or compression.

What skills do electrical engineers have?

Like most engineers, electrical engineers have skills such as attention to detail, time management and communication. Heres a list of additional common skills electrical engineers have:

Does being an electrical engineer require certifications?

Being an electrical engineer, in general, doesnt require certifications, though some positions do require them. Certification requirements vary by employer. Though you may not require a certification for your job, consider pursuing one anyway. Certifications often provide employers with formal verification of your knowledge and expertise in the electrical engineering field. Some employers may consider hiring candidates with certifications over candidates who dont. Earning a certification may also provide you with promotion opportunities. Heres a list of common certifications in the electrical engineering field and descriptions of the content they cover:

Certified energy manager (CEM)

The certified energy manager credential identifies individuals who have high levels of experience, proficiency, competence and ethics in the energy management field. This certification also recognizes engineers who optimize energy performance in infrastructure and architecture. Requirements for earning this credential include obtaining a bachelors degree in a related field and having at least three years of work experience. Candidates also complete a final exam and renew their certifications every three years.

Certified associate in engineering management (CAEM)

The certified associate in engineering management credential is a certification that reviews the basic concepts and principles of engineering management. Electrical engineers who have minimal experience or are just starting their careers often earn this certification if they know they want to pursue a management or supervisory position. This credential requires at least a bachelors degree in a related field but doesnt require any previous work experience. Candidates may take the course in four parts, complete a final exam and recertify every three years.

Certified power quality professional (CPQP)

The certified power quality professional certification recognizes professionals who have a high level of experience, skill, competence and knowledge of the power quality field. This certification course also helps professionals develop their skills in the field and raise the standards of power quality professionals. To earn this credential, candidates need at least an associate degree with five years of experience or a bachelors degree and three years of experience. Candidates also complete an open book exam.

Project management professional (PMP)

The project management professional certification trains professionals in many different industries how to further develop their leadership and other soft skills, technical knowledge and organizational strategies. This certification requires candidates to have a bachelors degree, 36 months of experience leading projects and 35 hours of project management training. Candidates may also have a high school diploma or an associate degree with 60 months of project management experience and 35 hours of training. To complete the certification, candidates complete a final exam, then renew their certifications every three years.


Does an electrical engineer need masters?

A bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering is the standard entry-level credential within this field, though a master’s or Ph. D. degree in this area can improve a job candidate’s marketability and allow that person to obtain higher-paying, more interesting positions.

How long is an electrical engineering degree?

How Long Does it Take to Become an Electrical Engineer? You can earn your bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering in four years.

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