Electronics Manufacturing Engineer Careers: Salary & Job Description

About this article
An electronics manufacturing engineer's mean annual salary is around $85,000. Is it worth the education requirements? See real job duties and get the truth about career prospects to find out if becoming an electronics manufacturing engineer is right for you.
View available schools

Pros and Cons of Becoming an Electronics Manufacturing Engineer

Electronics manufacturing engineers use their math and technological design expertise to increase efficiency and cut costs in the manufacturing processes of electronic products. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this career to determine if you want to become an electronics manufacturing engineer.

Pros of Becoming an Electronics Manufacturing Engineer
High pay (an average salary of about $85,000 as of May 2014 for all industrial engineers)*
Employment available in a range of industries (business, government, manufacturing and non-profit)*
Opportunities for advancement to supervisory or technical specialist roles*
Variety in daily activities in both factory and office settings*

Cons of Becoming an Electronics Manufacturing Engineer
Job growth stunted by decline in manufacturing industries*
Requires extensive technical and mathematical expertise and experience*
Can involve dealing with high-stress situations**
Pressure to solve complex problems**
May require travel to observe production processes*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*NET OnLine.

Essential Career Info

Job Description

As an electronics manufacturing engineer, you'll work to improve the production processes of electronic manufacturing plants. You'll review product specifications and production schedules in order to come up with ways to manufacture electronics with maximum efficiency and minimal waste. This can involve discussing product specifications with electronics engineers, managers and clients, determining how much material and manpower will be needed, planning production sequences and estimating costs. You might also supervise other engineers, oversee quality control measures and evaluate workers' performances.

You'll generally work in both an office and in a factory as an electronics manufacturing engineer. You may analyze data and meet with managers and engineers in an office, but you'll often visit the factory floor in order to observe workers and ensure the production process is running smoothly and on time.

Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), industrial engineers of all product types earned a median salary of approximately $81,000 as of May 2014. The top ten percent of these workers earned about $123,000 or more per year, while the bottom ten percent earned about $53,000 or less per year. The highest-paying industries for manufacturing engineers included oil and gas extraction, other pipeline transportation and other information services.

Job Outlook

The BLS expected employment to grow by five percent for industrial engineers between 2012 and 2022, which is slower than the national average. Decline in manufacturing industries will lead to this stunted job growth for electronics manufacturing engineers; however, this profession is very versatile, and you can apply it to a wide range of other sectors, like business, government and not-for-profit.

What Are the Requirements?

To become an electronics manufacturing engineer, you'll generally need at least a bachelor's degree in an applicable major, like electronics or electrical engineering or industrial engineering. In a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering program, for example, you can expect to take courses in electrical signals and systems, magnetism, mechanics and digital design. Such study will provide you with a solid understanding of the design and development processes of electrical devices necessary for a career in electronics manufacturing engineering.

You'll also need technical and mathematical aptitude for this profession. A creative edge is necessary to devise innovative production methods and understand the design approach of the complex new technology you're helping produce. Critical-thinking and problem-solving skills are also essential for coming up with manufacturing solutions. Additionally, since you'll be working as part of a team of engineers, production workers, managers and clients, you'll need excellent communication skills.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Along with requiring formal education in electronics engineering or another directly-related major, employers want manufacturing engineers who have practical experience in production process development. Employers also tend to favor applicants who have demonstrated a thorough understanding of the design and assembly processes of types of products they manufacture. Take a look at these real job postings from April 2012 to get a feel for what employers might be looking for:

  • A power tool manufacturer located in Indiana is looking for an electronics manufacturing engineer who has a bachelor's degree in engineering with at least ten years of experience or an associate's degree with at least fifteen years of experience. The employer also prefers applicants with two years in project management and engineer certification.
  • A lift truck manufacturer based in Ohio is looking for en electronics manufacturing engineer with a bachelor's in electronics engineering or an associate's with five years of experience. Candidates need to be knowledgeable in electronics assembly and design variables, board and module-level assembly and quality standards.
  • An aerospace electronics producer in Washington wants a manufacturing engineer to ensure efficient and quality manufacturing of space electronics. An electronics engineering bachelor's degree and two years of applicable experience are necessary, as is a strong grasp of aerospace electronics assembly concepts, like printed wiring boards, hand soldering and wave soldering.
  • An electronic sign company in Utah wants an electronics manufacturing engineer to help maintain production processes and develop ways to reduce unwanted variations during production. Along with an applicable bachelor's degree and one year of experience, statistical process control and Six Sigma experience is required.

How to Beat the Competition

Earn an Advanced Degree

If you want to improve your chances of employment, one option is to earn a master's degree. In fact, the BLS notes that a graduate degree allows engineers to work in advanced research and development positions. You could pursue a graduate degree in engineering with a concentration in electrical, mechanical or industrial engineering. Some programs even allow you to gain both your bachelor's and master's degrees in one 5-year program.

Get Licensed or Certified

While licensure is not mandatory for this career, it can qualify you for a greater variety of job openings. The BLS explains that engineering licensure can qualify you for positions with manufacturing companies that work on government contracts. To be eligible for licensure, you generally need to hold a bachelor's degree from an ABET-accredited program and pass an initial exam called the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. You'll then need to complete a state-mandated amount of supervised experience as an engineer in training (EIT) and pass the final Professional Engineering (PE) exam. Once licensed, you can use the Professional Engineer credential.

Alternative Careers

Electronics Engineer

If you want to help create electronics and spur advancements in technology, but you don't want to focus solely on production processes, consider the design stage of the electronics production process - electronics engineering. As an electronics engineer, you'll devise any of a wide range of electronic equipment, like televisions or synthesizers, though you may also have a hand in the production process. Your bachelor's degree in engineering will qualify your for this position, and your earning potential is much higher; the BLS reports that electronics engineers earned a mean salary of about $95,000 as of 2011.

Electronics Engineering Technician

If you want to work in electronics engineering but are anxious to enter the workforce soon, consider pursuing an electronics engineering technician position. Instead of a bachelor's degree, you can get this job with an associate's degree, which takes about two years to finish. Professionals in this field assist electronics engineers, helping them analyze data, design electronics systems and solve complex engineering problems. On average, electronics engineering technicians earned about $57,000 per year as of May 2011, according to the BLS.

Popular Schools

  • Campus Locations:
    1. Lincoln Tech

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Electrical/Electronics
      • Electrical/Electronics
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Cloud Computing and Solutions
      • BSIT: Network Admin
    Associate's
      • AASIT: Network Admin
  • Campus Locations:
    3. Universal Technical Institute

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Marine Technician Specialist
      • Diesel Technology
      • Motorcycle Technician Specialist
      • Automotive Technology
      • NASCAR Technology
      • Collision Repair and Refinish Technology
  • Campus and Online Programs
    4. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Computer Engineering
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD-TIM - Engineering Management
      • PhD in Business Admin - Management of Engineering and Technology
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Management of Engineering and Technology
    Master's
      • MSTIM - Engineering Magagement
      • MBA - Management of Engineering and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Engineering Technology
  • Campus Locations:
    9. CDI College

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Diploma in Construction Electrician Foundation
  • Campus and Online Programs
    10. South College

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology

Featured Schools

Lincoln Tech

  • Electrical/Electronics

What year did you graduate High School / Receive GED?

Purdue University Global

  • BS in Cloud Computing and Solutions
  • BSIT: Network Admin
  • AASIT: Network Admin

Which subject are you interested in?

Universal Technical Institute

  • Marine Technician Specialist
  • Diesel Technology
  • Motorcycle Technician Specialist

What is your education level?

Full Sail University

  • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado Technical University

  • Master: Computer Engineering

Are you a US citizen?

Northcentral University

  • PhD-TIM - Engineering Management
  • PhD in Business Admin - Management of Engineering and Technology
  • MSTIM - Engineering Magagement
  • MBA - Management of Engineering and Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Engineering Technology

What is your highest level of education?