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Electrical Engineering Major

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Electrical Engineering

17,318 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
11,637 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 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 17,318
Master’s Degree 11,637
Doctor’s Degree 2,334
Associate’s Degree 303
Basic Certificate 229
Graduate Certificate 152
Undergraduate Certificate 20

What Electrical Engineering Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to EE and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

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

When studying EE, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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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

EE majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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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?

17,318 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
14% 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 2018, about 17,318 graduates completed their bachelor’s degree in this field. This major tends to be male dominated. About 86% 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 2,607
Black or African American 927
Hispanic or Latino 1,993
White 8,206
International Students 2,429
Other Races/Ethnicities 1,156

Geographic Diversity

EE appeals to people across the globe. 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

According to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education, students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in EE have a median salary of $66,600 during the early years of their career. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $63,700 (25th percentile) and $69,200 (75th percentile).

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One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to EE.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $101,600 to $117,100 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to EE. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

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 )
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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. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

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 the 2017-2018 academic year, 430 schools offered some type of electrical engineering program. 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) 8 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 9 1
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 48 2
Bachelor’s Degree 35 13
Post-Baccalaureate 8 0
Master’s Degree 259 54
Post-Master’s 12 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 163 4
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 46,014
Civil Engineering 21,299
Computer Engineering 15,329
Chemical Engineering 14,729
Biomedical Engineering 11,483
General Engineering 11,245
Industrial Engineering 9,714
Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering 6,315
Materials Engineering 3,555
Systems Engineering 3,439
Other Engineering 2,900
Petroleum Engineering 2,818
Environmental Engineering 2,746
Operations Research 1,555
Agricultural Engineering 1,546
Engineering Science 1,509
Nuclear Engineering 1,050
Engineering Physics 1,028
Manufacturing Engineering 920
Architectural Engineering 874
Construction Engineering 870
Robotics Engineering 755
Geoscience Engineering 510
Marine Engineering 506
Mining Engineering 434
Biological Engineering 400
Textile Engineering 359
Polymer & Plastics Engineering 348
Engineering Mechanics 329
Ocean Engineering 305
Metallurgical Engineering 218
Biochemical Engineering 124
Ceramic Engineering 111
Electromechanical Engineering 84
Surveying Engineering 73
Paper Science & Engineering 51
Forest Engineering 39
Engineering Chemistry 5

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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