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Electrical Engineering Major

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Electrical Engineering

17,946 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
10,493 Master's Degrees Annually
#28 in Popularity
$107,930 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Electrical Engineering Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many electrical engineering graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 17,946
Master’s Degree 10,493
Doctor’s Degree 2,305
Associate’s Degree 297
Basic Certificate 183
Graduate Certificate 136
Undergraduate Certificate 24

What Electrical Engineering Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to EE were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for EE Majors

EE majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Skills for EE Majors

A major in EE prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for EE Majors

A major in EE will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a Electrical Engineering Major?

People with a EE degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Aerospace Engineers 6.0% $115,220
Architectural and Engineering Managers 5.5% $140,760
Biochemical Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Electrical Engineers 8.6% $96,640
Electronics Engineers, Except Computer 3.7% $102,700
Engineering Professors 14.7% $101,720
Mechatronics Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Photonics Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Radio Frequency Identification Device Specialists 3.7% $102,700
Validation Engineers 6.4% $96,980

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering?

17,946 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
15% Percent Women
36% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
Electrical Engineering runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #28 out of all the undergraduate majors we track. In 2019, about 17,946 graduates completed their bachelor’s degree in this field. This major tends to be male dominated. About 85% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of EE majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of EE Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 2,751
Black or African American 912
Hispanic or Latino 2,142
White 8,454
International Students 2,520
Other Races/Ethnicities 1,167

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in EE. About 14.0% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • India
  • China
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Iran
  • South Korea

How Much Do Electrical Engineering Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that electrical engineering students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree made a median starting salary of $66,600 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $63,700 (25th percentile) and $69,200 (75th percentile).

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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in EE, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

EE majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $101,600 to $117,100 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for an Electrical Engineering Major  ( 101600 to 117100 )
0K
250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with EE require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to EE have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 0.9%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 2.4%
Some College Courses 0.7%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 4.6%
Bachelor’s Degree 62.7%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 1.9%
Master’s Degree 17.4%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 1.0%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.4%
Doctoral Degree 6.8%
Post-Doctoral Training 1.0%

Online Electrical Engineering Programs

In 2018-2019, 447 schools offered a EE program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 10 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 9 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 49 1
Bachelor’s Degree 44 14
Post-Baccalaureate 10 0
Master’s Degree 261 56
Post-Master’s 13 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 163 6
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 1 0

Is a Degree in Electrical Engineering Worth It?

The median salary for a EE grad is $107,930 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 171% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,360,600 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to EE.

Major Number of Grads
Mechanical Engineering 47,405
Civil Engineering 21,938
Computer Engineering 15,891
Chemical Engineering 14,406
Biomedical Engineering 12,001
General Engineering 11,739
Industrial Engineering 9,410
Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering 7,069
Materials Engineering 3,538
Systems Engineering 3,491
Other Engineering 2,982
Environmental Engineering 2,850
Petroleum Engineering 2,269
Operations Research 1,745
Agricultural Engineering 1,554
Engineering Science 1,515
Architectural Engineering 1,019
Nuclear Engineering 1,014
Engineering Physics 979
Robotics Engineering 943
Manufacturing Engineering 932
Construction Engineering 865
Marine Engineering 481
Geoscience Engineering 424
Polymer & Plastics Engineering 387
Biological Engineering 374
Textile Engineering 366
Ocean Engineering 346
Mining Engineering 340
Engineering Mechanics 314
Metallurgical Engineering 235
Biochemical Engineering 118
Ceramic Engineering 101
Surveying Engineering 89
Electromechanical Engineering 65
Forest Engineering 52
Paper Science & Engineering 44
Engineering Chemistry 9

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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