Discovering your passion
Electrical engineering is a popular profession among defense contractors, who are often located around military installations. Electrical engineers typically do the following:
- Design new ways to use electrical power to develop or improve products.
- Do detailed calculations to develop manufacturing, construction and installation standards and specifications.
- Manufacture, install and test electrical equipment to ensure that products meet specifications and codes.
- Investigate complaints from customers or the public, evaluate problems and recommend solutions.
- Work with project managers on production efforts to ensure that projects are completed satisfactorily, on time and within budget.
If you are considering a career as an electrical engineer, review the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. You should also take the Strong Interest Explorer and Myers-Briggs self-assessments to make sure your skills and interests align with this career path.
Education and training
Once you have decided to become an electrical engineer, you can explore the many tools and resources on MySECO to help you get the necessary education to practice in your profession. Entry-level requirements for electrical engineers vary greatly depending on your employer and specific job. At a minimum, you will need a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. Many employers also value practical experience. You can earn academic credit for structured work experience by participating in cooperative engineering programs. Having a professional engineer license can also greatly improve your chances of finding employment.
College Scorecard is a great starting point for finding an education institution. When you visit College Scorecard, search by program/degree, location, size and more to find a program of study near you. You can also use the Scholarship Finder on MySECO to assist with locating funding relevant to the military community to help pay for classes.
Most private companies do not require an electrical engineer to have a specific license to be eligible for employment; however, it is encouraged for those working in companies that have contracts with federal, state and local governments. Engineers who become licensed are designated Professional Engineers. Licensure generally requires the following:
- A degree from an Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology-accredited engineering program
- A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering exam
- Relevant work experience
- A passing score on the Professional Engineering exam
You can take the he initial Fundamentals of Engineering exam right after graduating from a college or university. Engineers who pass this exam commonly are called engineers in training or engineer interns. After gaining work experience, EITs can take the second exam called the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam.
Several states require engineers to take continuing education courses to keep their license. Most states recognize licensure from other states if the licensing state's requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements. Be sure to visit the Military Spouse Interstate License Recognition Options for up-to-date legislation and licensure information for your specific state.
Now that you've met the education requirements to become an electrical engineer, it's time to find a job in your occupation. One of the first places to look is the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search. Hundreds of partner employers have made the commitment to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses in portable careers. Visit the MSEP Job Search to find open positions with committed employers. You can also search your local state and national job bank for electrical engineer positions or use the MySECO Job Search Tools, which include the following:
The Department of Defense Priority Placement Program for relocating military spouses can help you pursue a career in federal employment as an electrical engineer. If you are eligible for the Priority Placement Program, the program provides you with employment placement preference when applying for Department of Defense civilian personnel positions. Eligibility requirements include the following:
- Be the spouse of an active-duty service member and reside in commuting area of the current duty station.
- Not have accepted or declined an offer of permanent federal employment at the current duty station.
Consider volunteering, if possible, or doing an internship. Tell family, friends, coworkers and all others that you are hoping to become an electrical engineer and ask for contacts they might have who can help you build and expand your network.
Professional organizations and networking
Join a professional organization in your chosen field to gain a better understanding of current industry practices and policies. Professional organizations are great ways to continue your education through workshops and conferences, which will add to your transferable skill set as you move. Network with other professionals in your industry to give you an edge in meeting the right people who may have the connections you need to get an interview at your new location.
Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career.
For information on getting the proper license or certification as part of your specialty field, visit the Advantages of Licensure article in the Education, Training and Licensing lifecycle stage of MySECO.
You can also speak with a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Coaches are available to review your resume, practice interviewing, discuss networking or assist you in understanding employer requirements for this field. For additional guidance, use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website.