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Electrical engineer

Electrical engineers research, design, and sometimes develop electrical components and systems in and around buildings.

Quick facts: Electrical engineer
2021 Median Pay $100,420 per year; $48.28 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Number of Jobs, 2021 192,400
Job Outlook, 2021-31 2-37% (slower than average)
Employment Change, 2021-31 12,300
Source O*Net

The work of an electrical engineer includes designing building services such as lighting, elevator systems, and electrical connections to equipment such as heating and ventilation, and conducting site visits to ensure installations comply with their designs and with code. They often test installations and systems; design systems and products using computer software, and draw up project plans, making models, prototypes, and circuit diagrams for high and low-voltage electrical equipment.

How to become an electrical engineer

Electrical engineers need a good understanding of physics, and engineering science, and strong math and computer skills. Most jobs require a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university in the field of electrical engineering. A degree from an ABET-accredited institution will help the engineer’s future employment prospects, as it is a prerequisite for obtaining a Professional Engineer (PE) license. Some students obtain a bachelor’s degree in another engineering discipline or an entirely separate field, and then a master’s degree in electrical engineering. Important skills include critical thinking, complex problem-solving, decision-making, monitoring, systems analysis, written and oral communications, and active listening.

Education and resources

Access courses and resources to learn about green building and sustainability concepts related to engineering.

Online courses

Stay up to date on the latest developments in green building through access to online courses with an annual subscription to the USGBC course catalog.

Role on a LEED project

On a green building project, an electrical engineer works together with fellow engineering disciplines to design more efficient and more sustainable systems for heating and cooling, more efficient lighting systems, and on-site renewable energy. Electrical engineers can apply their knowledge of various types of electrical equipment to optimize interactions between various systems and reduce annual energy use in buildings. This skilled professional work is increasingly important as the buildings industry transitions from installing on-site combustion systems powered by fossil fuels to all-electric end uses.

LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building types, LEED provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership.

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