Electronics Engineers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Electronics engineers must have a solid educational background, and the discipline requires a clear understanding of practical applications. To prepare for college, take classes in algebra, trigonometry, calculus, biology, physics, chemistry, computer science, computer-aided design, business, English, speech, and social studies. Students who are planning to pursue studies beyond a bachelor of science degree will also need to take a foreign language. Honors-level courses are highly recommended for electronics engineer students.

Postsecondary Training

A minimum of a bachelor's degree in electronics, computer engineering, or another related science is required to enter the field. Numerous colleges and universities offer electronics and computer engineering programs. Explore as many schools as possible to determine which program is best fits your academic and personal interests and needs. Most engineering programs have strict admission requirements and require students to have excellent academic records and top scores on national college-entrance examinations. Competition can be fierce for some programs, and high school students are encouraged to apply early.

ABET sets minimum education standards for educational programs in electronics engineering. Graduation from an ABET-accredited school is a requirement for becoming licensed in many states, so it is important to select an accredited school. Visit the ABET Web site, https://www.abet.org, for a list of accredited schools.

Many students go on to receive a master of science degree in a specialization of their choice. This usually takes an additional two years of study beyond a bachelor's program. Some students pursue a master's degree immediately upon completion of a bachelor's degree. Other students, however, gain work experience first and then take graduate-level courses on a part-time basis while they are employed. A Ph.D. is also available. It generally requires four years of study and research beyond the bachelor's degree and is usually completed by people interested in research or teaching.

By the time you reach college, it is wise to be considering which type of engineering specialty you might be interested in. In addition to the core engineering curriculum (advanced mathematics, physical science, engineering science, mechanical drawing, computer applications), students will begin to choose from the following types of courses: circuits and electronics, signals and systems, digital electronics and computer architecture, electromagnetic waves, systems, and machinery, communications, and statistical mechanics.

Other Education or Training

Several associations offer continuing education (CE) opportunities. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers provides career enhancement, professional development, and technical knowledge webinars; an eLearning Library; conference seminars and workshops; and other CE opportunities. The American Society for Engineering Education offers CE opportunities for engineers via its annual conference and other events. The National Society of Professional Engineers provides webinars for student members of the society. Past webinars included Career Success in Engineering: A Guide for Students and New Professionals, Ethics and Professionalism for Students and Young Engineers, How to Get Your First Job, and Engineering Your Career with a High Quality Social Network Web Seminar. The Society of Women Engineers offers conference sessions, webinars, and other education resources on topics such as leadership, career development, and special issues for women in engineering. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Electronics engineers may get voluntary certification to improve their job prospects and show their commitment to the profession. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers offers several professional certifications. Contact the institute for more information.

Electronics engineers whose work may affect the life, health, or safety of the public must be registered according to regulations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Licensing requirements vary from state to state. In general, however, they involve graduating from an accredited school, having four years of work experience, and passing the six hour Fundamentals of Engineering exam and the eight-hour Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. Depending on your state, you can take the Fundamentals exam shortly before your graduation from college or after you have received your bachelor’s degree. At that point you will be an engineer-in-training. Once you have fulfilled all the licensure requirements, you receive the designation professional engineer. Learn more about engineering licensure by visiting the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying Web site, https://ncees.org/licensure.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Electronics engineers have a strong education background in math and science. Many have participated in engineering-related internships while in school as well as other experiential opportunities to gain experience in the field.

Electronics engineer have strong problem-solving abilities and mathematical and scientific aptitudes. They are also lifelong learners, which is required to keep up with the developments and new technologies and systems in their field. The ability to get along with others is essential, because most electronics engineers work as part of a team. In addition, strong communications skills are needed. Electronics engineers need to be able to write reports and give oral presentations. Other important traits include creativity, an inquisitive personality, and good organizational skills.