What is Electrical Engineering?

Electrical engineering is a branch of engineering that focuses on the study and application of mathematics and physics. It combines the elements of electronics, electricity, and electromagnetism for both small- and large-scale systems, processing information and transmitting energy. The field covers many sub-fields that include electronics, power engineering, digital computers, telecommunications, RF engineering, control systems, and signal processing.

Job Description & Responsibilities of Electrical Engineers

The field of electrical engineering is diverse, allowing people to work on various projects, ranging from designing household appliances to developing large-scale telecommunication systems, satellite communications systems, and electrical power systems. An electrical engineer has a huge role to play in designing, developing, and manufacturing electrical control systems, machinery, and equipment. The responsibilities of electrical engineers include.

  • Using electrical power in new ways to design and develop products and systems.
  • Performing engineering tasks that include working on engineering software, operating computer assisted design and equipment.
  • Closely monitor manufacturing, installation, and testing of products to ensure they meet all specifications and codes.
  • Work in collaboration with project managers to ensure timely delivery and completion within the budget.
  • To be up-to-date regarding the latest technology and research developments.

Education & Career Information

Education Required Bachelor’s Degree
Training Required None
Key Skills Advanced mathematical skills, understanding of electronics, knowledge of science and technology, basic circuit knowledge, computer design, and engineering
Job Growth in Illinois (2018-2028) 2%
Average Mean Salary in Illinois (2021) $100,190 per year

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021) and O*Net Online

Steps to Become an Electrical Engineer in Illinois

A multifaceted discipline, electrical engineering has seen some incredible technological innovations and progression related to energy. Electrical engineering colleges and universities in Illinois cater to the growing demand in the field, by educating students on the importance of innovation, design of sensing, computing, and communication.

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
  • For aspiring electrical engineers, it is important to enroll in a degree program in Illinois that is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
  • Obtain four years bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, studying specialized courses like digital systems design, electrical circuit theory, electromagnetics, and computer system.
  • Students adopt hands-on approach to understand complex subjects, finding solutions, and are also given exposure to field studies and laboratory work.
  • For those who want to earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering, there is an option of combining bachelor’s degree with master’s, making it a five-year study program.
  1. Take Fundamentals of Engineering Exam
  • To work as an electrical engineer in the utility field, candidates are required to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.
  • After obtaining a minimum bachelor’s degree from an accredited college and passing the FE exam, candidates are eligible for licensure.
  1. Gain Work Experience
  • Once they have received certification, electrical engineers can improve their prospects of landing a good job by gaining some experience.
  • Internships or entry-level jobs in the field of electrical engineering is the first step in advancing your career as an electrical engineer.
  1. Pass Professional Engineer Exam
  • To be eligible for licensure, engineers-in-training (EITs) need to have four years degree and clear all competency exams.
  • It is mandatory to pass Professional Engineer Exam (PE) to work as a licensed engineer.

Electrical Engineer Salary and Career Outlook

Electrical engineers get the opportunity to work in different industries and flourish as seasoned professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, the mean annual wage for electrical engineers in Illinois was $100,190 in 2021. The corresponding national average annual mean wage was $ 107,890 for engineers. Below are the top paying states for electrical engineers.

State Annual Mean Wage 
California $126,640
District of Columbia $123,280
Washington $118,890
Massachusetts $118,100
Maryland $117,950

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021)

O*Net Online forecasts a 2% increase in employment opportunities for Electrical Engineers in Illinois between 2018 and 2028. The corresponding national average for this occupation is 7% between 2020 and 2030 as per BLS. Below are the states with the highest employment level in Electrical Engineers.

State Employment 
California 28,070
Texas 15,230
Michigan 10,050
New York 8,960
Pennsylvania 8,250

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021) and O*Net Online

Engineers with a professional degree in electrical engineering along with work experience have the opportunity to work in some of the best companies in the state. Here is a list of top paying companies in Illinois for electrical engineers.

Top Paying Electrical Engineering Companies in Illinois

Engineers with a professional degree in electrical engineering along with work experience have the opportunity to work in some of the best companies in the state. Here is a list of top paying companies in Illinois for electrical engineers.

  • McDermott – Providing engineering and construction solutions ($237,858 per year)
  • Sandia National Laboratories – Managed and operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC. ($164,807 per year)
  • Dell Technologies – ($145,748 per year)
  • Intuitive (Intuitive Surgical) – ($143,125 per year)
  • Lockheed Martin – ($136,650 per year)

Top Jobs for Electrical Engineers in Ohio

According to O*Net Online, there are more than 530 electrical engineering job openings in Illinois. Some of the most lucrative jobs for electrical engineers are:

  • Principal Electrical Engineer
  • Electrical Distribution Designer
  • Aerospace Electrical Engineer
  • Electrical Project Engineer
  • Electrical Controls Engineer

Some of the highest paying cities for Electrical Engineers in Illinois are Chicago, Peoria, Mossville, Carol Stream, and Rockford.

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