Electrical engineering salary guide: How much can you make?

Electrical engineering includes many subfields and related positions. Electrical engineering salaries depend on your education, experience, and chosen discipline.

Electrical engineers design and oversee the development of electrical equipment. They create new technologies and improve existing devices, adhering to client and end-user needs, building codes, and safety standards. 

Advancements in technology have helped create a growing demand for electrical engineers. Much of the growth has occurred in the professional, scientific, and technical service fields. Electrical engineers also work in power generation, manufacturing, and research and development. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual electrical engineering salary was $100,830 in May 2020.

Here, we explore the electrical engineering salary potential and career landscape.

Electrical engineer jobs 

Wondering what electrical engineers do? Subfields of electrical engineering include:

  • Electronics engineers working with electronics
  • Communications engineers working with communications systems and equipment
  • Digital and analog engineers working with signal processing in digital and analog systems
  • Power engineers working with power generation and use
  • Signal processing engineers working with information from signals
  • Control systems engineers working with controls for dynamic systems
  • Instrumentation engineers working with control and measurement instruments
  • Radio-frequency engineers working with radio waves and devices

Read on for details on popular electrical engineering jobs

Electrical engineer

Minimum degree required: Bachelor's 
Years of experience needed: None
Alternate job titles: Power engineer, circuits engineer, electrical design engineer
Important skills: 

  • Interpersonal and communication 
  • Computer and electronic 
  • Organization and concentration
  • Mathematical abilities
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving 

These professionals design and develop electrical equipment for commercial, scientific, and industrial purposes. They adhere to client needs and follow industry specifications, codes, and safety protocols. The median annual electrical engineering salary was $100,830 in May 2020.

Systems engineer

Minimum degree required: Bachelor's
Years of experience needed: None
Alternate job titles: Application engineer, infrastructure engineer, electrical systems engineer
Important skills: 

  • Planning, organization, and integration 
  • Interpersonal and communication 
  • Leadership 
  • Mathematical, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills

These interdisciplinary engineers design, develop, and manage multi-stage and multi-component systems. Systems engineers often work with computer, industrial, and complex electrical systems. The average base systems engineering salary is $81,406, per PayScale.

Electronics engineer

Minimum degree required: Bachelor's
Years of experience needed: None
Alternate job titles: Electronics design engineer, evaluation engineer, product engineer
Important skills: 

  • Interpersonal and communication 
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking 
  • Systems analysis 
  • Computer and development software 
  • Mathematical and reasoning abilities

Electronics engineers create electronic components, equipment, and devices for industrial, commercial, and scientific systems and purposes. They prepare the manufacturing specifications, maintenance procedures, and product specification documents. 

The median annual electronics engineer salary was $107,540 in May 2020.

Communications engineer

Minimum degree required: Bachelor's
Years of experience needed: None
Alternate job titles: Network engineer, signal processing engineer, audio engineer
Important skills: 

  • Problem-solving and critical thinking 
  • Interpersonal and communication 
  • Mathematical and reasoning 
  • Network and systems analysis

These engineers specialize in communications systems, including cloud computing, wireless systems, and data and video communications. They design and create the equipment and infrastructure that transmits and receives communications.

The average base salary for communications engineers is $79,183, per PayScale.

Engineering manager

Minimum degree required: Bachelor's 
Years of experience needed: 5+
Alternate job titles: Chief engineer, engineering lead, director of engineering
Important skills: 

  • Planning, organization, and implementation 
  • Leadership, communication, and interpersonal 
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking 
  • Budgeting and operations knowledge
  • Mathematical and reasoning abilities

Engineering management covers the planning and coordination of engineering teams and projects. These professionals oversee engineering research, design, execution, and review. The median annual engineering management salary was $149,530 in May 2020.

Electrical engineer salaries 

Many factors can impact an electrical engineering salary, including the in-person or online engineering program you complete, your level of experience, and your location. 

According to PayScale, electrical engineers earn an average of $68,000 in entry-level jobs, $74,000 in early career, $86,000 in mid-career, $101,000 in late career, and $115,000 when experienced.

The BLS found the lowest 10% of electrical engineering salaries were below $64,870, while the highest 10% were above $159,520.

Petroleum engineers, computer hardware engineers, and aerospace engineers earn the most among engineering branches. 

You can advance your career and increase your earning potential by pursuing one of the best tech certifications, interdisciplinary training (like a software engineering degree), or an electrical engineering master's degree.

Highest paying states for electrical engineers

The following table examines the highest-paying states for electrical engineers. A higher cost of living may offset the higher wages in these states. 

Location

Annual mean wage (2020)

District of Columbia

$126,840

California

$124,390

New Jersey

$120,140

Vermont

$118,460

Washington

$117,790

Conclusion

The electrical engineering field offers flexibility. You can choose among professional branches and specializations, each offering differing duties and salaries.

Continue your research into electrical engineering jobs by exploring the many industries where electrical engineers find employment.

Unless otherwise noted, salary and projected growth data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of March 8, 2022.

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