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Electrical engineer

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Electrical engineers design, build and maintain electrical systems, machinery and equipment.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £60,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need to complete a foundation degree, higher national diploma (HND) or degree. You can do this at university or through an apprenticeship.

Your course could be in electrical or electronic engineering, or a related subject like:

  • mechanical engineering
  • electromechanical engineering
  • building services engineering
  • applied physics
  • aeronautical engineering
  • mechatronics

You may be able to join a company's graduate trainee scheme with a degree in a relevant subject. Getting some work experience will also help.

The Engineering Council has a list of qualifications and courses. These will qualify you for later registration as an Engineering Technician (EngTech), Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has information about starting and building your career.

The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) has information about qualifications and training in engineering construction.

You may need colour-normal vision for this job.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent maths, science and IT skills
  • the ability to make and understand technical diagrams
  • analytical skills
  • the ability to explain design ideas clearly
  • decision-making skills

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day tasks depend on the industry you're in, but could include:

  • carrying out feasibility studies for new technical developments
  • drawing up project plans and circuit diagrams using computer-assisted engineering and design software
  • estimating costs and project timings
  • coordinating the work of technicians and craftspeople
  • testing installations and systems, and analysing test data
  • making sure projects meet safety regulations
  • overseeing inspection and maintenance programmes
  • attending meetings, writing reports and giving presentations

You'll usually work on projects with other professionals, like civil engineers, architects and engineering technicians.

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000 to £28,000

Experienced: £30,000 to £45,000

Highly Experienced: £45,000 to £60,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work around 40 hours a week. You may have to work occasional overtime to meet deadlines.

You could be based in an office, factory, production plant, workshop, power station or research facility.

You may need your own transport to get from site to site.

6. Career path and progression

You could move into different industries, from power and renewable energy to transport, construction and manufacturing.

Professional development and registration may improve your career prospects.

Chartered status can help you move into electrical design and project management roles or specialise in a particular field. It can also help you get work as an engineering consultant.

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Last updated: 18 April 2018