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2021 Electrical Engineering Degree Guide

Electricity serves a vital function in our modern world. As Electrical Engineer works with electricity every day, designing new systems and making repairs to old applications in order to keep our world electrified. As an Electrical Engineering major, you will study how electricity works, how it is generated, and how it is used. Who knows, you may even be revered as the next Thomas Edison in this field. You will work on developing and designing all types of electronic equipment which includes broadcast and communication systems, MP3 players, GPS systems, and the electrical systems of automobiles and aircrafts. Computer hardware is also part of this field.

Courses that you will come across in this major can include: statistics, calculus, circuit analysis and design, physics, digital systems, electrodynamics, statistics, physics, technical writing for engineering, semiconductor technology, and electric components.

Concentrations in this major include: Laser Optics, Telecommunication, and Electronics and Communications.

#31 Most Popular Major
31k Degrees Awarded
-1.8% Increase in Graduates

Electrical Engineering was the 31st most popular major in the 2018-2019 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 31,041 degrees in this year alone. This represents a 1.8% reduction in EE degrees awarded over the prior year's total of -31,592.

The United States has 390 different schools where you can get a degree in electrical engineering. Our 2021 Best Colleges for Electrical Engineering ranking analyzes 199 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for electrical engineering students. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of EE programs later in this article.

Electrical Engineering Degree Requirements

Students should be prepared to be continuously learning in this field, even after graduation. As technology changes so will the approach you take to solving problems. College courses will be heavy with math and science. Be prepared to use many advanced principles in mathematics to analyze and deign your work.

This major appeals to students who love learning how things work and enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together. If you work hard to learn the basics, you will get the satisfaction of seeing your ideas become a reality.

Most electrical engineers will work in groups, making teamwork an important skill. You should be reliable and pull your weight, while helping others and keeping an open mind about the way they approach a problem. Hone your communication skills to build good relationships with peers, professors, and other professionals. In your course-work as well as your future career, you will often need to explain your designs and your reasoning behind them. Learn to take constructive criticism and use it to improve your work.

Prior Education for an EE Program

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Once you obtain your degree, additional EE certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Electrical Engineering Degree Types

There are many different EE degree levels. You can spend many years getting as high as a in electrical engineering to something that takes less time like a . Depending on the electrical engineering degree you choose, obtaining your diploma can take anwhere from 1 to 4+ years.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to EE, with approximately 61.1% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for EE workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 62.7%
Master’s Degree 17.4%
Doctoral Degree 6.8%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 4.6%
Post-Secondary Certificate 2.4%

91.6% of EE workers have at least a bachelor's. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in electrical engineering have received.


The education level required is different depending on the EE career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for EE Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$70.1k Average Starting Salary
7% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Upon graduation you will be prepared to work as an Electrical Engineer for an engineering firm or as an independent contractor. Electrical Engineers are found working in power stations, designing electrical systems for buildings and communities, or creating wireless and portable devices. As technology continues to advance rapidly, there should be a demand for electrical engineers in both research and development.

Growth Projected for EE Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your EE degree? Electrical Engineering careers are expected to grow 6.7% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to electrical engineering.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Electrical Engineers 204,500 8.6%
Architectural and Engineering Managers 190,000 5.5%
Electronics Engineers 141,300 3.7%
Engineers 141,000 6.4%
Aerospace Engineers 73,800 6.0%

How Much Money Do People With a EE Degree Make?

Electrical Engineering graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $70,098 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $16,200 to as high as $143,300. As you might expect, salaries for EE graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid EE Careers

Salaries for electrical engineering graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers EE grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers $148,970
Aerospace Engineers $117,100
Engineering Professors $113,680
Electronics Engineers $107,930
Electrical Engineers $101,600

Getting Your Electrical Engineering Degree

With over 922 different EE degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased EE school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Electrical Engineering

One of 38 majors within the Engineering area of study, Electrical Engineering has other similar majors worth exploring.

Majors Similar to EE

Related Major Annual Graduates
Mechanical Engineering 47,222
Civil Engineering 21,795
Computer Engineering 15,694
Chemical Engineering 14,363
Biomedical Engineering 11,975

View All EE Related Majors >


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