Electrical engineers create, test, and oversee the production of electrical components. They develop such equipment as communications systems, generators, and navigation devices. The position typically requires a bachelor’s degree, although having a Professional Engineer license can increase job opportunities.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electrical engineers averaged $91,810 per year, or $44.14, as of May 2012.
- The lowest-paid 10 percent made less than an annual $56,490, or $27.16 hourly, while the best-paid 10 percent received over $136,690 yearly, or $65.72 per hour.
- Over 20 percent of the country’s 160,550 electrical engineers worked for architectural, engineering and related services. Other big employers were navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instruments manufacturing, and electric power generation, transmission, and distribution. Each of those industries contained 9 percent of the positions.
- The highest paying employer was oil and gas extraction at a mean $106,780 per year, or $51.34 per hour. Ranking second was computer systems design, averaging $102,880 annually, or $49.45 hourly, and aerospace product and parts manufacturing, at a mean $101,840 yearly, or $48.96 hourly.
The largest population centers offered the most job opportunities for the profession:
- California, the most populous state, has 15 percent of the jobs. Texas, the second most populous, contained 7 percent, followed by New York, with 6 percent.
- California also boasted the highest pay among states, averaging $107,280 per year, or $51.57 per hour. Alaska was next at a mean $104,360 yearly, or $50.17 hourly. The District of Columbia, which the BLS considered a state, averaged $104,040 annually, or $50.02 per hour.
- Metropolitan areas with the best employment were San Jose and Los Angeles, both in California, followed by Boston, Massachusetts. The best pay was in Sacramento, California, at a mean $130,340 per year, or $62.66 per hour, followed by Worcester, Massachusetts, at a mean $118,590 yearly, or $57.01 hourly, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, averaging $117,910 annually, or $56.69 per hour.