There are many types of electronics degrees available at universities around the world. We have listed summaries of the most popular degrees in electronics below. Some of the programs are extremely specific - with electronics sometimes being the foundation of a company, it is important to have extremely specialized positions to retain expertise in every electronics area.
Electronics engineering is a field that is used in many industries throughout the world. As technology continues to bring us more and more types of electronics, the demand for electronics engineering will continue to grow. Learn what it takes to become an electronics engineer, what’s required for education and what this career entails.
Navigate Electrical Engineering Degrees
- Electronics Engineering Degree
- Electrical Engineering Degree
- Mechatronics Engineering Degree
- Robotics Engineering Degree
Here are a few facts and figures about Electronics Engineering that you should know when considering it as a career.
Electronics engineers design and/or build electronic equipment, including electronic devices such as music players, GPS, mobile devices, or commercial broadcast and communications systems.
Median salary for Electrical & Electronics Engineers is $89,630, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
ABET accreditation is the pinnacle of electronics engineering program accreditation. There are 149 ABET-accredited programs in Electronics Engineering Technology in the US.
The over-arching degree that tends to have more general electronics education courses is a degree in electronics. Within the electronics program, you study all types of electronics: mechatronics, communications electronics, computer electronics, and more. The goal of the electronics degree is to allow you to work in nearly any industry working with electronic devices of some sort. You may not have a specialization (more on specialized degrees below), but you should have a solid understanding of all electronics concepts and design.
To become electronics engineer requires at least a bachelor’s degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Typically, the degree program should be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
Although many people use the terms electrical engineering and electronics engineering interchangeably, they are actually two different fields. Electrical engineers develop, design and test and manage the manufacture of electrical equipment whereas electronics engineers design and develop electronics equipment. Work that an electronics engineer might do include designing GPS systems, MP3 players or communication and broadcast systems. They may also work with computer hardware.
Schools Offering Electronics Degrees
Many schools, such as Boise State University, offer electronics and computer engineering as a degree program. This is not to say that electronics engineering is not offered as its own program because it may be offered at some colleges such as Missouri Tech. This particular program requires that the student already have an associate degree. In most cases, electronics engineering is offered either with electrical engineering or as an area of concentration in an electrical engineering degree program. According to the ABET website, there are more than 300 colleges that offer electrical/electronics engineering programs.
Another thing to remember when choosing a school is that if you’re interested in becoming an electronics engineer, you want an electronics engineering program and not an electronics engineering technology program. Electronics engineering technology programs, typically two-year associate degree programs, are aimed at students who want to become electronics engineering technicians or technologists. Technicians and technologists assist engineers but generally are not actual engineers.
Typical Curriculum for Engineering
As a student in an electronics engineering program, you’ll have courses in basic and advanced electronics, intro to microprocessors, engineering economics, network analysis, power systems, modern communications systems, and electromechanical conversion as well as general education courses. The first couple semesters include a curriculum rich in physics, math, chemistry, engineering and computer courses. Students also obtain extensive hands-on training working in the laboratory.
Electronic engineering students also learn about Antenna theory, solid state circuits, VLSI design, electronic circuit design and communication systems. In addition to academic courses, electronics engineers can also benefit from completing cooperative education and obtaining real training. Co-op education programs and internship opportunities may be found at some colleges that have electronics engineering programs.
Although licensure is not as much a requirement for electronics engineers as other types of engineering, it can improve employment opportunities, particularly if the individual is working for companies that have contracts with government agencies. Licensing is actually a two-step process. Once the student has graduated from the program, he or she can take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) test. Upon passing the test, the student is considered an engineer in training (EIT) and can gain work experience. After obtaining work experience, the EIT can take the Professional Engineering (PE) exam to earn the title of Professional Engineer.
Bachelor degree programs generally take four years to complete unless they are online programs, which allow the student to work at their own pace. Some schools offer five-year programs that allow the student to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree.
Although wired telecommunications carriers is the industry with the highest level of employment for this occupation for electronic engineers, these professionals may also find work in many industries including automotive, aerospace, electronics, construction, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, telecoms, rail and power generation.
The job duties of the electronics engineer will vary by the industry. One working in the automotive industry may work with the design of air conditioning, braking systems, dashboard indicators or safety systems. One working in the rail industry might work with railway control systems.
Master degree programs better prepare the engineer for managerial positions. The BLS reports that employment growth (four percent from 2012-2022) for electronics engineers is slower than average. However, electronics engineers earned an average yearly salary of $95,790 as of May 2014, according to the BLS.
Electrical Engineering Degrees
Are you mechanically inclined with good math and science skills? Does electricity and electrical power interest you? If so, you may find a career as an electrical engineer the perfect fit. Continue reading to learn what is required to become an electrical engineer and what you can expect for career opportunities and wages.
Electrical vs. Electronics Engineering
Electrical engineering is very closely related to electronics engineering, but they are not the same. While electrical engineers design and test electrical equipment like electrical motors and power generation systems, electronic engineers design, develop and test electronic equipment like MP3 players, GPS systems and other electronic equipment. A good example of the duties that each of these engineers perform can be found inside an automobile.
What an Electronics Engineer Does
The electronic engineer may be the one that designs and tests the stereo or GPS system, but the electrical engineer is the one that researches, designs and inspects the entire electrical system in which the GPS and stereo are located. Electrical engineers are generally in charge and oversee the entire electrical system. In some academic programs, electronics or electronics engineering may be offered as a track or concentration in electrical engineering. Electrical engineering is also often offered in conjunction with computer engineering.
What an Electrical Engineer Does
Electrical engineers are usually required to have at least a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from an ABET-approved school. It's beneficial for the student to have a background rich in science and math. Prerequisite or general education courses are also part of the curriculum. Students in a baccalaureate EE program may take courses in engineering, logic systems, circuit theory, microprocessor engineering, algorithm design and programming, engineering thermodynamics, electromagnetic fields, and semiconductors.
Students also learn about electric power devices, fiber optics, digital systems and circuits, electrical machinery and communication networks. In addition to the courses, students must spend time working in the lab and complete projects as capstone courses. The projects generally require the student to design an electrical project using what he or she has learned in the program. Some schools also offer internship or cooperative education opportunities so the student can obtain hands-on training in the field.
Electrical Engineering Degrees
Electrical engineering programs often offer different tracks or areas of concentration so that the student can focus on his or her specific area of interest. Some programs offer the following tracks: communications, microwave & wireless systems; control systems and robotics; electronics and signal processing; microprocessors, computer networking, & computer engineering; power systems; and VLSI.
Licensure for Electrical Engineers
Once students have earned their degrees in electrical engineering, it's beneficial to obtain a license and may be an employment requirement. Licensure involves passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam and the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam, both of which are administered through the National Council of Examiners of for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). The student must be a graduate of an ABET-approved program to take the FE exam and must gain some work experience before taking the PE exam.
Electrical Engineering Schools
Electrical engineers with bachelor's degrees may advance their education and earn master or doctoral degrees. Some schools, like MIT, offer five-year programs that allow the student to earn the bachelor and master degree in electrical engineering. Graduates of electrical engineering graduate degree programs often work in leadership and managerial positions. They may also seek careers teaching or in research and development.
Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both of which were ranked near the top of our own top engineering colleges list, were also ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report for their engineering schools, offer master and doctoral degree electrical engineering programs. Graduate programs usually consist of three areas: classroom courses like computer science, electrical engineering, math and physics; laboratory courses and seminars; and research project resulting in a thesis.
Online Electrical Engineering Degrees
Electrical engineering degrees can also be earned through online education also known as distance learning. All a student needs is a computer with Internet access. More and more schools are offering online degrees. Students learn through various methods including virtual classrooms, email, DVDs and streaming videos. Candidates can earn the degree in less or more time than in on-campus programs, depending on the student and his or her schedule.
Electrical Engineer Career Information
As of a May 2014 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), yearly salaries for electrical engineers ranged from $59,000 to more than $143,000. Employment is expected to grow about four percent from 2012 to 2022. Level of study, experience and location are all factors that can affect employment and wages. Although electrical engineers can be found in many industries, the BLS reports that the highest level of employment of electrical engineers is found in architectural, engineering and related services.
Mechatronics Engineering Degree
Mechanical systems are typically operated by electronics and software, and mechatronics engineers design, install, and troubleshoot this type of electronic equipment. Specifically, Mechatronics Engineers work closely with how software, mechanics, and electronics all interact with each other. Mechatronics engineering courses typically cover sensors, actuators, controllers, signaling, and transducers, among other more specific topics.
Mechatronics is everywhere in our world today. It can be found in our coffee pots, our washing machines, our computer hard drives and even in the cars we drive. It’s a combination of mechanical, computer, control and electronic skills. As such, mechatronic careers are also in demand. Learn more about this booming career and the various mechatronics degrees available to individuals interested in this career.
Individuals pursuing careers in mechatronics may choose associate, bachelor or master degree programs. Mechatronic certificate programs are also offered at some colleges. Associate degree programs, typically two years in duration, can be found at community colleges. Graduates of associate degree programs may seek positions as mechatronics technicians where they will assist mechatronics engineers.
Associate's Degree in Mechatronics
Associate degree programs typically include courses such as AC/DC circuits, electrical control devices, hand tool operations, electrical troubleshooting, robotics and automated controls, basic electronics theory and industrial instruments. Some colleges also offer students cooperative education opportunities to obtain training working with real industries.
Bachelor's Degree in Mechatronics
Bachelor degree programs prepare students to work as mechatronics engineers after four years of study. In addition to completing general education courses, students will take courses like engineering technology, digital fundamentals, applied machine elements, industrial programming and networking, process control and dynamics. In addition to coursework, students generally must complete an internship and design a project during the last year of the program.
They also spend extensive time in the school’s lab.
Master's Degree in Mechatronics
Master degree programs in mechatronics are generally taken by individuals who want to be managers or work in research. A mechatronics systems engineering master degree program often includes courses in mechatronic systems, aerospace systems engineering, digital signal processing, advanced dynamics, automotive control systems, intelligent systems and mechatronic manufacturing systems.
Master degree programs usually require the student to complete a thesis or research-based project before they graduate. Participants can usually earn their master degrees in two to three years. Students entering into a master’s degree program are required to meet specific admission requirements, which may include letters of recommendation, official transcripts, proof of a bachelor degree in a related field and a letter of purpose defining career goals.
Specializations of Mechatronics Engineering
Mechatronics students can often choose from an area of specialization so they can focus more of their studies on what interests them most. Some of the areas of concentration may be biomechanics, computer engineering, physical sciences, environmental engineering, software engineering and statistics, among others. In some cases, mechatronics may be the area of concentration of a different major.
Online Mechatronics Degree
Several colleges offer online mechatronics degree programs. Online education has become more popular in recent years because it allows students who otherwise would not be able to attend college to earn their degrees. Most online schools use a learning management system like Blackboard to deliver the assignments and tests. Other learning methods include DVDs, streaming videos and emails.
In the situation where a program requires hands-on training, the school may offer the student assistance in finding an internship with a local industry.
Mechatronics Engineer Careers
Almost anywhere there is automation, mechatronics professional may find jobs. Upon earning a degree, the graduate will be able to install and maintain robots, install and maintain automation equipment as well as maintain and troubleshoot PLC programming. They’ll also have the knowledge needed to install, maintain and fix electrical and electronic equipment, fluid power systems, controls and mechanical systems. They’re even equipped to troubleshoot HVAC and other computer-based systems in a variety of different industries.
Graduates of mechatronics degree programs are expected to have excellent career opportunities. In fact, mechatronics has been listed as one of ten emerging technologies expected to change the world. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups mechatronic technicians with electro-mechanical technicians, which are predicted to see an employment growth of four percent from 2012-2022. These professionals also earned an average yearly wage of $53,070 as of May 2014. According to Indeed.com, mechatronics engineers earned an average annual salary of $90,000 as of July, 2015.
Robotics Engineering Degrees
With so many areas of our lives robot-based, the demand for robotic professionals continues to grow. Get all the facts you need about robotic-based degree programs as well as information on the many career opportunities upon graduation.
Robotics-based degree programs are offered at the associate, bachelor and graduate degree levels. As a general rule, career opportunities available to graduates of robotics programs vary with the student's level of study. Associate degree programs, which generally take two years to complete, prepare students to work as robotics technicians, control technicians, automation technicians and instrumentation technicians. In addition to general education courses like algebra, physics and communication, major-related courses might be electrical fundamentals, automation and robotics, basic and advanced electronics, digital electronics, computer numerical control machining and programming C++ for engineers.
Robotics degree programs at the graduate level include either master or doctoral degrees. Master degree programs generally take at least two years to complete. Applicants to master degree program will already possess a bachelor’s degree. Master degree programs are often chosen by individuals interested in managerial positions or research. In addition to courses like fundamentals of robotics, information technology, mobile robot programming, mobile robot design and software engineering, the students are generally required to complete a thesis and an internship.
When a student does a thesis, they must do research on a specific topic, do a written report on it and give an oral presentation of the report. Topping off the program is a research project the student designs and creates independently using skill and knowledge obtained in the classroom and lab. Some programs require the student to complete internships and participate in competitions for hands-on training and practical experience.
Doctoral degree programs can take up to six years to complete. Students in doctorate programs spend the first couple of years completing both coursework and research while the final years are focused on research and independent research projects and thesis. Depending on the student’s area of interest, courses may include mechanics of manipulation, sensing and sensors, artificial intelligence for robotics, differential geometry and kinematics. Some schools offer students paid graduate fellowships.
Online Robotics Engineering Degrees
Students pursuing degrees through distance learning or online education may take less or more time to complete their programs, based on the academic requirements and the student’s commitment and time. A student pursuing an online master degree program may take up to five years to complete the entire program. Online courses are delivered to the students in a variety of ways.
In addition to earning a degree, a student can obtain certification through the National Robotics Training Center. Robotics engineers are the masterminds that create, design and test robots and robot-based products. They also design software and prototypes of their designs. They may also design a robot for a specific industry as a way to help the industry be more cost-effective and efficient. Robotic engineers also act as trouble shooters for the robots.
Career Info for Robotics
There are more than 120,000 robotic engineers working and in the United States and this number is expected to increase through 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although wages for robotic engineers can go as high as $140,000 or more, the average yearly salary is $94,310. Level of study, years of work experience, certifications earned and location can all affect earnings.