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Electrical Engineering Major

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Electrical Engineering

10,493 Master's Degrees Annually
2,305 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#22 in Popularity (Master's)
$107,930 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Electrical Engineering Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many electrical engineering graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 10,493
Doctor’s Degree 2,305
Graduate Certificate 136

What Electrical Engineering Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, EE majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for EE Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Skills for EE Majors

EE majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:

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  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for EE Majors

EE majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a Electrical Engineering Major?

People with a EE degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Aerospace Engineers 6.0% $115,220
Architectural and Engineering Managers 5.5% $140,760
Biochemical Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Electrical Engineers 8.6% $96,640
Electronics Engineers, Except Computer 3.7% $102,700
Engineering Professors 14.7% $101,720
Mechatronics Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Photonics Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Radio Frequency Identification Device Specialists 3.7% $102,700
Validation Engineers 6.4% $96,980

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering?

10,493 Master's Degrees Annually
23% Percent Women
14% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
Electrical Engineering runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #22 out of all the graduate majors we track. In 2019, about 10,493 graduates completed their master’s degree in this field. This major attracts more men than women. About 77% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of EE majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of EE Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 778
Black or African American 175
Hispanic or Latino 348
White 1,875
International Students 6,966
Other Races/Ethnicities 351

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in EE. About 66.4% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • India
  • China
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Iran
  • South Korea

How Much Do Electrical Engineering Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of electrical engineering students with a master’s degree is $90,850 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $84,675 (25th percentile) and $96,850 (75th percentile).

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One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to EE.

Salaries According to BLS

EE majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $101,600 to $117,100 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for an Electrical Engineering Major  ( 101600 to 117100 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with EE may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for EE careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 0.9%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 2.4%
Some College Courses 0.7%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 4.6%
Bachelor’s Degree 62.7%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 1.9%
Master’s Degree 17.4%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 1.0%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.4%
Doctoral Degree 6.8%
Post-Doctoral Training 1.0%

Online Electrical Engineering Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 447 schools offered some type of electrical engineering program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 10 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 9 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 49 1
Bachelor’s Degree 44 14
Post-Baccalaureate 10 0
Master’s Degree 261 56
Post-Master’s 13 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 163 6
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 1 0

Is a Degree in Electrical Engineering Worth It?

The median salary for a EE grad is $107,930 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 171% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,360,600 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to EE.

Major Number of Grads
Mechanical Engineering 9,668
Civil Engineering 6,961
Computer Engineering 5,021
Biomedical Engineering 4,057
General Engineering 3,449
Industrial Engineering 3,359
Chemical Engineering 2,897
Systems Engineering 2,639
Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering 2,163
Materials Engineering 1,863
Other Engineering 1,859
Operations Research 1,273
Environmental Engineering 1,117
Petroleum Engineering 537
Engineering Science 451
Nuclear Engineering 440
Manufacturing Engineering 412
Agricultural Engineering 338
Robotics Engineering 333
Construction Engineering 312
Engineering Physics 282
Architectural Engineering 247
Polymer & Plastics Engineering 205
Geoscience Engineering 176
Engineering Mechanics 168
Ocean Engineering 154
Mining Engineering 142
Textile Engineering 106
Biological Engineering 63
Metallurgical Engineering 51
Marine Engineering 48
Ceramic Engineering 30
Surveying Engineering 21
Electromechanical Engineering 17
Paper Science & Engineering 9
Biochemical Engineering 6
Forest Engineering 0

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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