Finding Out About Electrical Engineering Technology
Electrical engineering technology uses mathematical and scientific principles and theories to solve technical problems. This type of work is found in research and development, manufacturing and sales.
Electrical engineering technicians are slightly different from ordinary engineers and scientists in that their work is extremely focused, although you may find that many jobs are assisting engineers and scientists, especially if you are thinking about going into research and development.
Electrical engineers help to design, develop, test, and manufacture electronic and electrical equipment such as navigational equipment, computers, medical monitoring devices, and communication equipment.
What Qualifications Do I Need for a Career in Electrical Engineering Technology?
The absolute minimum requirement is an associate degree or some other kind of post secondary training in engineering technology. This training is available in a number of places including community colleges, technical institutes, vocational-technical schools and also the armed forces. If you are thinking about this as a career choice, it’s often a good idea to take as many math and science courses as you can in preparation for the training.
Associate Degrees in Electrical Engineering Technology
The majority of the two-year associate degree courses are accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, and the course will include at least college standard algebra and trigonometry and a couple of basic science courses.
As you are choosing to specialize in electrical engineering technology, you’ll find that your course will include classes in microprocessors, electrical circuits, and digital electronics.
Studying Electrical Engineering Technology in a Technical Institute
If you choose to study electrical engineering technology in a technical Institute will find that you gain more practical and hands on experience. Technical institutes tend to offer less general education and theory than community colleges, but they do offer two-year associate degree programs which are similar to community college or State University systems. Some technical institutes are run by private organizations, and if you choose to study at one of these you will probably find that the programs are considerably different in length and type.
Studying Electrical Engineering Technology in a Community College
The curriculum offered in electrical engineering technology are quite similar to those in technical institutes, but include a wider bias towards theory and liberal arts. Both technical institutes and community colleges are similar in that both have associate degree programs.
You can choose to do a two-year associate degree in engineering technology, and will then be adequately qualified to begin applying for jobs, or you may wish to go on and study for a four-year bachelor’s degree.
If you are intending to go on to complete a bachelor’s degree then you may wish to choose an associate degree in pre-engineering. This is quite different from engineering technology, and if you choose this option you need to be sure you want to enroll on a four-year engineering program, as students who complete the pre-engineering program can find difficulty in getting jobs as engineering technicians. If you do get a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology then you’ll find you are eligible to work as a technologist or applied engineer, rather than just a technician.
Gaining Electrical Engineering Qualifications through the Army
You can choose to obtain electrical engineering qualifications through the Army, and people who are trained in this way are often highly regarded as the training programs are extremely good. The only problem with this type of training is that it is extremely focused, and it may be difficult to find a civilian job once you have left the armed forces. You could find you need additional training to secure the kind of job you would like.
Do I Need Any Other Special Skills?
Other desirable skills for a career in electrical engineering technology are creativity, as many engineering technicians are involved in design. You will almost certainly be working as part of the team, so good communication skills are essential.
What are the Employment Prospects Like?
Employment prospects in this field are reasonable, although little or no job growth is forecast due to the number or electrical engineering jobs that are outsourced to countries with cheaper labor, and obviously those with higher qualifications are likely to find jobs more easily, and will enjoy better rates of pay. If you are still at school and are interested in finding out more, then the Junior Engineering Technical Society http://www.jets.org is worth a look.