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What are some requirements to become a electrical engineer?

Kids in class are interested in learning more about this career.

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Todd’s Answer


No doubt you are asking what are the technical requirements to become an electrical engineer but I'll leave that for last and tell you what personal attributes are needed. Engineers need to be curious about THINGS and GADGETS. We take apart things that aren't broken just to see how they work inside. We fix things that aren't broke just to see if we can make them better. You must have a love of things like this or your career will be riddled with boredom. If you have this sort of curiosity and a little voice inside your head that is constantly whispering "Oooo...that is so cool. I wonder how that works.", then you are well suited to any of the many flavors of engineering.

For electrical engineering in particular, we can get more specific. Electrical engineers can do a variety of career paths. I'm going to concentrate on consulting electrical engineering since that happens to be what I do. You see, most electrical engineers work for manufacturers such as Apple, Intel, IBM, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, etc while many others work for power utilities. Consulting electrical engineers, however, design buildings. In that sense, we are much more like construction electricians than our more traditional engineering siblings.

Designing buildings is a fun and rewarding career that gets you all over the place and into very interesting projects. You should see my photos of the innards of Hoover Dam! To succeed at this type of electrical engineering, you need to know how buildings are built. Working in construction as you grow up can be a big help.

Like most engineering, you will need to take all the math and science courses that you can. Learn CAD when you can. Enrolling in a 4-year ABET accredited engineering college is next. Join IEEE while you're in school. Get summer work as an intern at a design firm or as an electrician. Take your Fundamentals of Engineering test as a senior in college. Go to work for a design firm that has professionally registered electrical engineers on staff and continue to network with engineers thru IEEE meetings. You will need those contacts to mentor and help you. Finally, after working for other engineers for 4 years, go take your Professional Engineers exam and follow your dream wherever it goes.

Thank you comment icon Thank you for all this great and helpful information, Mr. Todd! Jesse