Electrical engineering is among the newest branches of engineering, dating back to the nineteenth century. It is one of the fastest-growing fields, dealing with electrical systems and devices. Electrical engineering is a unique field that relies on high-quality skills and academic experience.
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), for an electrical engineering career, the preferred academic experience is a Bachelor’s Degree. However, an associate degree can also guarantee you a job in electrical engineering. In this article, you will explore several associate degree programs, career opportunities, and frequently asked questions.
What Is Electrical Engineering?
Electrical engineering is a branch of engineering that focuses on electric technology, including electrical systems and equipment. Electrical engineers are responsible for designing, developing, testing, and maintaining these systems. The common electrical systems and equipment include radar and navigation systems, communication systems, and electric motors.
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Electrical engineering features two primary professions, namely electronic engineers and electrical engineers. Although the two are often considered similar, electrical engineering is a broader field that includes large-scale electrical power production. Electronic engineering focuses on small-scale production, dealing with the design and maintenance of devices.
What Is an Electrical Engineering Associate Degree?
An Associate Degree in Electrical Engineering is a two-year education program that covers introductory aspects of electrical engineering. It is an undergraduate degree for high school graduates or people exploring a new career path in electrical engineering. Commonly, an associate degree acts as a gateway to pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the future.
Some of the courses at this education level include circuit theory, computer instrumentation, fiber optics, digital electronics and communication, and computer hardware. Students also acquire a wide range of skills that prepare them for entry-level electrical engineering careers. Electrical engineering associate degree holders can work as technicians, design drafters, or developers.
Electrical Engineering Associate Degree Requirements
The education requirements to enroll in an associate degree program include a high school diploma or equivalency. In addition, you must exhibit excellence in computer skills, mathematics, and science. Other education courses prioritize an academic background in algebra, trigonometry, and physics. Most of the requirements vary depending on the institution.
How Much Does an Electrical Engineering Associate Degree Cost?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), one year of tuition, fees, and housing costs at a two-year institution costs $11,391. However, the cost of associate degrees varies depending on the institution. Generally, the cost of an electrical engineering associate program ranges between $10,000 and $30,000.
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NCES further categorizes the fee structures based on public, private, profit, and non-profit institutions. On average, you need at least $11,000 to pursue an electrical engineering associate program in a public institution and up to $30,000 for other institutions.
Electrical Engineering Associate Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Electrical Engineering Degree
Community colleges and other associate degree institutions have several financing options for students who can’t afford upfront payments. Financing options allow prospective students to start learning with little to no money or pursue free education through scholarships. Some of the most popular financing options include installments, loans, scholarships, and financial aid.
Best Electrical Engineering Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology||Associate of Science In Electrical Technology||New England Commission of Higher Education|
|Central Carolina Community College||Associate of Applied Sciences in Electrical Systems Technology||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
|Gateway Community College||Associate of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology||Commission on Institutions of Higher Education|
|Indiana Tech||Associate of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology||Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology|
|Lorain County Community College||Associate of Applied Science in Electronic Engineering Technology-Applied Electronics||American Association of Community Colleges,
Higher Learning Commission
|Manhattan Area Technical College||Associate of Applied Science in Electric Power and Distribution||Higher Learning Commission|
|Portland Community College||Associate of Science Electrician Apprenticeship Technology||Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities|
|Rose State College||Associate of Science Electrical/Computer Engineering||Higher Learning Commission|
|San Joaquin Valley College||Associate of Science in Electrical Technology||WASC Senior College and University Commission|
|Wallace Community College||Associate of Applied Science Electrical Technology||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
Best Colleges for Electrical Engineering: Top Electrical Engineering Associate Degree Programs
Community colleges and universities across the United States admit thousands of electrical engineering students annually. That means you have the freedom to choose from a wide variety of community colleges and universities. Below are 10 of the best associate degree programs from different colleges.
Associate of Science in Electrical Technology | Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology
The Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology is a private non-profit college located in Boston. It focuses solely on technology-related courses like electrical technology, computer technology, and automotive technology. Students pursuing an Associate of Science in Electrical Engineering will learn the fundamentals of electrical engineering.
The coursework covers circuit theory, installation of electrical devices, wiring methods, and voltage drop. Students receive internship opportunities, learning support, and access to state-of-the-art learning resources. Massachusetts is also among the top employers for electrical engineers.
Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Systems Technology | Central Carolina Community College
Central Carolina Community College is a popular community college offering an associate degree in engineering. The school features more than 130 college-level programs and offers financial aid through FAFSA, grants, scholarships, and veteran aid.
This program teaches students how to install and maintain electrical systems in residential, commercial, and industrial environments. In addition, you will receive 2,000 hours of credit towards the North Carolina Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors. The board requires 4,000 hours of experience before participants take the electrical contractor’s exam.
Associate of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology | Gateway Community College
Gateway Community College is one of the largest community colleges in Connecticut. Every year the institution admits students for associate degree and certificate programs to transfer to four-year programs at the university level. The college was founded 26 years ago and has since produced thousands of electrical engineering professionals.
The curriculum is straightforward. It teaches students the fundamentals of electricity, electronic circuits, and microprocessors. Upon graduation, you will have skills in circuit design, data collection, computer systems, and schematics.
Associate of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology | Indiana Tech
Indiana Tech offers an electrical engineering technology associate degree with extensive course options. It is a non-profit institution founded in 1930 and is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and ABET.
The curriculum focuses on analog and digital circuits, programmable logic controllers, electrical machines, and electronic equipment. Students also explore mathematics and physical sciences, circuit testing, and lab settings.
Associate of Applied Science in Electronic Engineering Technology | Lorain County Community College
Lorain County Community College was founded in 1963 and has provided education to locals for over 50 years. The college maintains low tuition, making it one of the least expensive education institutions in Ohio.
The curriculum covers electrical circuits, the fabrication process for electronics, technical mathematics, communication electronics, and general physics. Typical career opportunities for graduates include engineering assistant, communication specialist, or electrical sales engineer. You can also opt for the online program, which accommodates a broader audience.
Associate of Applied Science in Electric Power Distribution | Manhattan Area Technical College
Manhattan Area Technical College is a board-governed institute that was approved in 2004 by the Kansas Board of Regents. This program equips students with skills to install and maintain electric power systems for industrial, residential, and commercial buildings. You will also explore a wide variety of power line equipment and electrical distribution protocols.
The curriculum covers climbing skills, pole framing and construction specifications, equipment operation, setting and replacing poles, and transformer theory and installation. In addition, you will earn 48 credit hours and have access to online and on-campus resources.
Associate of Science Electrician Apprenticeship Technology | Portland Community College
Portland Community College hosts over 60,000 part-time and full-time students, making it one of Oregon’s largest higher learning institutions. The institution collaborates with government and private organizations to provide apprenticeship experience for two years. The course involves hands-on learning.
To qualify for this associate degree program, you must be employed or sponsored by an approved training agent. In classes, students improve their math and human relations skills.
Associate of Science in Electrical/Computer Engineering | Rose State College
Located in Oklahoma, Rose State College offers electrical engineering courses as part of its 60 education programs. The institution focuses on Associate Degrees in Arts, Science, and Applied Science. You must complete a minimum of 62 hours before receiving your degree. You will refine your skills and build a solid foundation in electrical science and digital systems.
The curriculum covers electronics and integrated circuits, communications, systems and control, electromagnetics and electro-optics, energy conversion, power distribution, and signal processing. This program is designed to prepare students for four-year programs in university and junior-level engineering jobs.
Associate of Science in Electrical Technology | San Joaquin Valley College
The electrical technology program at San Joaquin Valley College (SJVC) prepares students for high-profile career opportunities. Graduating from SJVC puts you on par with an electrician with four years of experience. All SJVC graduates are OSHA10 certified and eligible for the California General Electrician’s Exam.
Students learn about electrical conduit bending, electric circuitry, electrical blueprint reading, OSHA Standards, and motor controls. The course takes anywhere from 10 to 14 months and is available in six locations.
Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Technology | Wallace Community College
Wallace Community College is a leading educational institution in Dothan, Alabama. The electrical technology program teaches students to handle electric equipment and systems, power wiring, DC and AC motors, controls, and electrical distribution panels. It is a fully accredited institution that allows students to work in various industries across the country.
Best Online Electrical Engineering Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|Bismarck State College||Associate in Applied Science in Electrical Transmission Systems Technology||Higher Learning Commission|
|Colorado Tech University||Associate of Science in Electronics Technology||Higher Learning Commission|
|DeVry University||Associate in Electronics and Computer Technology||Higher Learning Commission|
|ECPI University||Associate of Science in Electronics Engineering||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
|Excelsior College||Associate of Applied Science in Technical Studies, Electronic/Instrumentation Technologies Concentration||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|Grantham University||Associate of Science in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology||Distance Education Accrediting Commission|
|Herzing University||Associate of Science in Electronics Engineering||Higher Learning Commission|
|South College||Associate of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges|
|Thomas Edison State University||Associate in Applied Science in Applied Electronic Studies||Middle States Commission on Higher Education|
|University of the Virgin Islands||Associate of Science in Electronic and Computer Engineering Technology||Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools|
Best Colleges for Electrical Engineering: Top Online Electrical Engineering Associate Degree Programs
Advancements in technology are making online learning accessible to a broader audience. Students can find flexible schedules, work part-time, and gain new technical skills. Below are ten of the best online colleges for electrical engineering students.
Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Transmission Systems | Bismarck State College
Bismarck State College is one of the first engineering colleges. It was accredited in 1966. Students explore basic electricity principles, generation, distribution and transmission, and systems operations. This program focuses on electrical systems and aims to prepare students for systems operation jobs.
Associate of Science in Electronics Technology | Colorado Technical University
Colorado Technical University prioritizes working-adult students for this program. It is a flexible online course that covers AC/DC electronics, integrated circuits, and other electrical maintenance and installation aspects. You will earn a total of 97.5 credits by the end of the program.
Associate in Electronics and Computer Technology | DeVry University
This curriculum focuses on controls and instrumentation, maintenance and repair, communication and networking, and programming. Students connect with skilled admissions advisors and instructors. Students also learn about cloud computing, dynamic work environments, and problem-solving.
Associate of Science in Electronics Engineering | ECPI University
ECPI University’s associate of science degree programs covers 25 semester credit hours for on-campus and online students. Students learn about electric circuits, semiconductor devices, electronic systems applications, digital systems, computer networking, and programming. This course prepares students for careers in software development and coding for electrical systems.
Associate of Applied Science in Technical Studies, Electronics/Instrumentation Technologies Concentration | Excelsior University
This program prepares students for technical jobs in the nuclear, energy, electronics, and computer industries. The coursework includes computer, electro-mechanical, nuclear, and instrumentation technologies. The program is entirely online and allows students to transfer up to 53 credits to a bachelor’s degree program.
Associate of Science in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology | Grantham University
Grantham University is one of the best online learning platforms. Students have access to a large community of engineering students. This program covers the fundamentals of circuitry, DC and AC foundation courses, and software development skills.
Associate of Science in Electronics Engineering | Herzing University
Herzing University aims to develop a solid foundation in engineering and a pathway for students to pursue a bachelor’s degree. The coursework covers electronic fabrication, electricity and test equipment, computers and networks, AC/DC circuits, and programming for electronics. You must earn 26 credit hours to qualify.
Associate of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology | South College
South College offers one of the best online programs for electrical engineering students. You will learn how to analyze and apply your skills to real-world situations, explore programmable logic controllers, industrial safety, and an array of other topics. In addition, you will learn how to design electrical systems for different industries.
Associate in Applied Science in Applied Electronic Studies | Thomas Edison State University
Thomas Edison State University serves adult learners seeking to meet their professional goals in this field of study. The curriculum accumulates a total of 60 credits and covers the fundamentals of engineering and business. You can also earn credit for the technical skills acquired outside the classroom.
Associate of Science in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology | University of the Virgin Islands
This degree program combines electronics and computer engineering technology. It covers DC and AC circuit designs and principles, computer programming, analog electronics, and the fundamentals of introduction to electronics and electrical engineering.
What’s the Average Electrical Engineering Associate Degree Salary?
With an associate degree, you’re eligible to work as an electrical technician and similar roles. These professionals earn a median salary of $67,550 per year. You could also become an electrical drafter, earning a median wage of $57,960 per year. However, if you pursue a bachelor’s degree, you can earn up to $103,390 annually.
Top Electrical Engineering Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview
|Electrical Engineering Associate Degree Jobs||Average Salary|
|Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician||$68,570|
|Electrical Engineering Technician||$67,550|
|Electronic and Electrical Installer||$62,020|
|Mechanical Engineering Technician||$58,230|
Best Electrical Engineering Associate Degree Jobs Explained
Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician
● Average Salary: $68,570
● Job Outlook: 9%
● Number of Jobs: 11,900
● Highest-Paying States: Colorado, Washington, Maryland
Aerospace technicians run, install, and maintain equipment used in the manufacture of aircraft or spacecraft. They work with the technical team to maintain aircraft systems, test and install aircraft parts, and monitor performance quality. Aerospace technicians must showcase brilliance in design and critical thinking in the aerospace industry.
Electrical Engineering Technician
- Average Salary: $67,550
- Job Outlook: 2%
- Number of Jobs: 111,700
- Highest-Paying States: Alaska, Hawaii, Virginia
An electrical engineering technician helps engineers develop and maintain equipment for various industries including communication, medicine, and information technology. They calibrate and repair electrical and testing equipment, assemble electrical prototypes, and inspect designs for quality control.
- Average Salary: $67,550*
- Job Outlook: 2%*
- Number of Jobs: 111,700*
- Highest-Paying States: Alaska, Hawaii, Virginia*
Technologists handle electrical control systems and equipment. They create circuitry and draft sketches, build prototypes, and assemble and test circuitry electronic components. They must read a blueprint and diagram instructions to help them assemble electronic data based on laboratory settings.
*Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics data on Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technologists
Electronic and Electrical Installer
- Average Salary: $62,020
- Job Outlook: 2%
- Number of Jobs: 116,600
- Highest-Paying States: Washington, Montana, Maryland
These installers inspect and test electrical equipment, keep records of repairs, and reassemble equipment after repair. Since manufacturing plants use large-scale equipment, such as assembly line motors, installers are a necessary asset to these companies. They work in telecommunication, utilities, and transportation.
- Average Salary: $59,800
- Job Outlook: -2%
- Number of Jobs: 13,400
- Highest-Paying States: Wyoming, Hawaii, Washington
These technicians operate and maintain robotic or electro-mechanical equipment. They operate machines, analyze results, and read blueprints to determine equipment assembly. They must also have a background in math and industrial studies to work with large-scale equipment. These professionals can use these skills to calibrate hydraulic assemblies and test their performance.
- Average Salary: $59,800*
- Job Outlook: -2%*
- Number of Jobs: 116,600*
- Highest-Paying States: Wyoming, Hawaii, Washington*
Mechatronics technologists work with smart technologies that rely on electrical power. They manage electrical and mechanical systems in manufacturing industries. They must possess extensive skills in computer and software development.
*Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics data on Electro-mechanical and Mechatronics Technologists and Technicians
Mechanical Engineering Technician
- Average Salary: $58,020
- Job Outlook: 6%
- Number of Jobs: 40,400
- Highest-Paying States: New Mexico, North Dakota, California
Mechanical technicians design, manufacture, and test tools and products used in electrical engineering. Some of their duties include evaluating specifications, reviewing instructions, recommending cost-effective changes, and making business estimates. These technicians also help engineers improve on designs by introducing new technology.
- Average Salary: $57,960
- Job Outlook: -2%
- Number of Jobs: 191,800
- Highest-Paying States: Alaska, New Mexico, New York
Electrical drafters plan wiring diagrams that assist in the installation and maintenance of electrical equipment and wiring. They can specialize in civil, electrical, or architectural drafting, using your drawings to design large-scale and small-scale infrastructure. They must be skilled in computer-aided design software.
- Average Salary: $56,900
- Job Outlook: 9%
- Number of Jobs: 729,600
- Highest-Paying States: Illinois, New York, Hawaii
Electricians are highly sought-after professionals who handle the installation and maintenance of electrical power. In addition, electricians handle lighting and control systems in residential, industrial, and commercial sectors. An associate degree is the minimum level of formal education needed to become an electrician.
- Average Salary: $34,970
- Job Outlook: -5%
- Number of Jobs: 1,731,700
- Highest-Paying States: Maryland, Wyoming, Washington
Electrical assemblers use hand tools to build toys, vehicles, and other electronic devices. They also assemble circuit boards or electric wiring to endure the flow of electric power. To qualify for an associate degree, assemblers must have a high school diploma or GED.
Benefits of an Electrical Engineering Associate Degree
- Higher salaries: Associate degree students can have an advantage when negotiating higher salaries and lucrative job opportunities. In addition, the job availability rate is higher for associate degree holders.
- Accreditation: Colleges offering associate degrees must be accredited. Accreditation ensures that the college programs meet industry standards and offer high-quality formal education.
- Affordability: Associate degrees take two years to complete at a community college, meaning you can save money. These colleges are more affordable compared to other educational programs.
- Course diversity: The coursework for electrical engineering programs covers an array of topics to prepare students for high-ranking careers.
Should You Get an Associate Degree in Electrical Engineering?
Yes. An Associate Degree in Electrical Engineering is perfect for high-school graduates and adults seeking to enhance their skills. It is short-term, flexible, and affordable for students from all walks of life. If you wish to continue learning, you will gain transferable credits to pursue a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
Electrical Engineering Associate Degree FAQ
Associate degree graduates can pursue entry-level positions under this program. For example, you can launch a successful career as electrical engineering technicians, drafters, electricians, and more. Associate degree holders can also work in mechanical, civil, software engineering, and other branches of engineering.
Associate degrees take about two years to complete. Students must earn at least 60 credits in order to graduate. By the end of the program, you will acquire technical skills and learn the ethical responsibility of this profession.
Associate degree courses in electrical engineering cost between $11,000 and $30,000, depending on the institution. The National Center for Education Statistics estimates tuition, fees, and housing costs to be $22,782 at the average two-year institution. To help students pay, many institutions have a wide variety of financing options available.
You will learn about electrical equipment, circuit analysis and maintenance, engineering design, and other electrical engineering principles. You must have the technical skill to handle a variety of responsibilities and diverse analytical skills.
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