California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

   Electrical Engineers in California

May also be called: Electrical Design Engineers; Electrical Research Engineers; Power Distribution Engineers; Power Transmission Engineers; Solar Engineers

What Would I Do?

Electrical Engineers* research, design, develop, manufacture, and test electrical equipment and systems. Products they design are many and varied, and include electric motors for wind turbines; machinery controls, lighting, and wiring; radar and navigation systems; and power generation, control and transmission devices used by electric utilities. In addition, Electrical Engineers analyze, develop, and propose designs for improving products or processes, such as electric and hybrid vehicles, or solar photovoltaic systems. They also use advanced methods, theories, and research techniques to investigate and solve complex technical problems.

Green Economy: Electrical Engineers will play an important role in the emerging green economy. They may assist with the research, design, as well as the installation of energy-efficient systems, renewable energy generation, or green construction technology.

Electrical Engineers work in office buildings, laboratories, manufacturing firms, or industrial plants. They may spend time outdoors at construction sites, facilities, businesses, and other locations, overseeing the installation of electrical system and equipment; monitoring operations; or solving onsite problems. When working with any type of electrical systems or equipment, Electrical Engineers must be trained in proper safety procedures. Most Engineers work a standard 40-hour workweek but can expect occasional evening, weekend or holiday work to meet deadlines.

*This product was partially funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration. The information contained in this product was created by a grantee organization and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. All references to non-governmental companies or organizations, their services, products, or resources are offered for informational purposes and should not be construed as an endorsement by the Department of Labor. This product is copyrighted by the institution that created it and is intended for individual organizational, non-commercial use only.

Will This Job Fit Me?

Electrical Engineers frequently work with ideas, which they translate to designs that others implement under engineering supervision. Engineers search for facts using a variety of sources in order to solve problems. Electrical Engineers are also skilled in analysis and design. This requires a type of intelligence that is logical, detail-oriented, inquisitive, and creative. Additionally, Electrical Engineers' work activities may involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions.

Electrical Engineers must also be able to work alone or as part of a team. Effective oral and written communication skills are critical. Engineers usually convey information to interested parties on a range of technical topics, such as design reviews.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2016 for Electrical Engineers in California is $115,804 annually, or $55.68 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$89,001$115,804$146,452
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Electrical Engineers generally receive excellent benefit packages, including health and life insurance, vacation, sick leave, and pension plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

With the increased focus on environmentally sustainable business practices, there may be increased opportunities for Electrical Engineers. However, like many occupations, employment is sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy.

How Do I Qualify?

A bachelor's degree in electrical engineering is generally the minimum educational level that employers will consider for a position as an Electrical Engineer. Most engineering programs involve a concentration of study in an engineering specialty, along with courses in design, mathematics, physical and life sciences, and hands-on laboratory classes. Advanced computer skills are also vital to the Engineer's education.

Finding a Job

Direct contact with employers is a traditional means to finding a job as an Electrical Engineer. Jobs may also be found through college placement offices, company recruiting events, job fairs, online job boards, or professional engineering organizations. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).


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