Electronics Engineering Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's & Online Info

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What will you learn in an electronics engineering degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of a bachelor's and master's degree and potential careers.
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Electronics Engineering Bachelor's and Master's Degrees at a Glance

Electronics engineering bachelor's and master's degree programs can prepare you for a career designing and developing electronic devices and equipment. As an electronics engineer, you can find work in various industries, such as computers, medicine and scientific or military research and development.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most electronic engineers hold bachelor's degrees or higher. A master's degree may qualify you for a position as an engineering manager, and work experience in combination with a degree may increase your chances of landing a position. The BLS predicted that employment for electronics engineers would increase slowly from 2010-2020, at a pace of 6%. According to the BLS, job opportunities will be greatest in new technology fields.

Bachelor's Master's
Who is this degree for? People who want to become electronics engineers People who want to specialize in the electronics engineering field or work in research
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) Electronics engineer ($92,000)* -Research engineer ($45,000-$106,000 - 10th to 90th percentile range)**
-Computer hardware engineer ($99,000)*
Time to Completion4 years full-time 1 to 2 years after the bachelor's
Prerequisites High school diploma or GED Bachelor's degree in engineering
Graduation Requirements Senior project Master's thesis
Online Availability No No

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), **Payscale.com (July 2012 figures).

Bachelor's in Electronics Engineering

Electronics engineering bachelor's degree programs teach you core engineering and electronics subjects, advanced math and various general education subjects. These programs typically take around 4 years of full-time study to complete, and you may be prepared to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam upon graduation.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • May enter the engineering field in as little as 4 years
  • May prepare you to enter a graduate degree program
  • Can work in a wide variety of areas (government, technology, industrial, medical, etc.)

Cons

  • Slow job growth (6% from 2010-2020)*
  • Can take up to 8 years of part-time study to complete
  • Employers may prefer to hire experienced electronics engineers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Courses and Requirements

Coursework in an electronics engineering bachelor's degree program typically covers core electronics and engineering subjects, along with several support courses that generally consist of math, science and communication courses. Most electronic engineering bachelor's degree programs require you to complete a senior project at the end of the program.

Here are some examples of coursework at the bachelor's level:

  • Electromagnetism
  • Circuits and systems
  • Engineering
  • Microelectronics
  • Calculus
  • Linear algebra/differential equations

Online Course Info

Online electronics engineering bachelor's degree programs are typically not available. Most online electronics engineering programs teach engineering technology, which is a different career path altogether. Depending on the school and program, you may be able to complete some of your required core classes online.

Stand out with this Degree

In addition to obtaining a bachelor's degree, you may benefit by obtaining an FE license, which is offered by the National Counsel of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). You can take the exam after passing an ABET-accredited electronics engineering program. You may also want to keep up with the latest advancements in technology, since the BLS expects research and development to offer the best employment prospects.

Master's in Electronics Engineering

Electronics engineering programs typically combine graduate-level electronics engineering courses with another discipline, such as electrical or computer engineering. These programs typically take 1-2 years beyond the undergraduate level to complete, and they may qualify you for various careers in the engineering or research field.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Can focus your studies on a particular area
  • Can work in research or manufacturing
  • Prepares you for the FE exam

Cons

  • Can take up to 6 years of schooling to complete
  • Employers may prefer to hire experienced engineers
  • May not be necessary for a career as an electronics engineer

Courses and Requirements

Electronics engineering master's degree programs typically consist of advanced electronics engineering courses. Most master's-level programs require you to complete additional courses in a specific area, such as microelectronics, control systems or communications. In addition to coursework, you may be required to complete a master's thesis or project.

Here are some examples of coursework at the master's level:

  • Digital communications design
  • Electronics systems
  • Analog circuits
  • Microcontrollers

Online Course Info

Electronics engineering master's degree programs are relatively rare in general, and these programs are typically not offered in an online format. You may be able to find some courses or hybrid programs in related areas, such as technology management, that may be completed partially or wholly online. These programs, though, may require you to attend on-campus seminars or special events in order to graduate.

Stand out with this Degree

You may benefit from taking elective courses or specializing in computer systems and mobile communications. According to the BLS, job prospects were expected to be good in these areas. You may also want to take the FE exam in order to obtain a license. After obtaining several years of work experience, you may want to take the Professional Engineer (PE) exam.

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