Electronics engineering focuses on creating new electronic systems, repairing old ones, and establishing guidelines for inspection and maintenance of such equipment. Students who pursue this field for their careers will have the opportunity to work in various industries, including manufacturing, aviation, broadcasting and communications, and even the military.
Most entry-level positions in this industry require an associate or bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering. However, additionally earning a vocational certificate in this field can boost one’s chances of finding long-term employment; in some cases, these programs are so extensive that they may serve as an alternative to traditional college education. Most top online certificate programs in electronics engineering are blended, meaning that they feature online and classroom components in addition to plenty of hands-on practicum work and job-site training.
Types of Electronics Engineering Vocational Certificates
Vocational certificates are available for a wide range of professions. Accredited online certificate programs in electronics engineering typically focus on one specific aspect of the industry, such as qualitative analysis and evaluation, equipment repair, or personnel management. Most vocational certificates require one year to complete, during which time students typically participate in extensive externships that hone their skills and expose them to real-world workplace scenarios. Due to the technical nature of this industry, hands-on experience is just as important as classroom curricula.
For example, the avionics vocational certificate program offered at Broward College teaches students how to repair and optimize the functionality of various types of aircraft. This 720-hour (two-term) blended program meets either online or on-campus for a total of five times per week. The curriculum incorporates both NIDA electronics training equipment and FCC testing, as well as aircraft visits and inspections scheduled throughout the course. In order to enroll in this program, students must typically pass the Test for Adult Basic Education, which is primarily comprised of English and mathematics questions, and possess a high school diploma or GED certificate. However, the program is also open to individuals who have completed certain certification programs in other areas or are able to demonstrate knowledge and competency in specific areas of avionics.
After a student earns a vocational certificate in electronics engineering, he/she will have a competitive edge over other job applicants. However, the education does not end once the individual has obtained a job; many earn further certification in specialized areas in order to keep up with current technological demands. Any student who wishes to earn a vocational certificate in electronics engineering should research their desired program to ensure it has been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for electronics engineers can vary between $104,000 for those employed with the federal government and $81,000 for those who choose wired telecommunications. The BLS also states the projected growth rate for this industry is 6% — well below the 14% national average for all occupations The greatest factors for growth include replacement of existing employees and future economic growth with an increased need for new technologies, according to Today’s Engineer. To compete in this market, engineers will need to stay up-to-date on the latest advances in technology.
What’s Next for Electronics Engineering Certificate Holders
Whether an individual pursues electronics engineering certificate programs online or studies this field at the university level (or both), he or she will need to get their professional engineer license if they plan to work with the public. This requires the completion of an exam and four years of work experience in addition to their degree. Each state has its own requirements regarding licensure, according to the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).
Many vocational certificate holders who also have a bachelor’s degree will go on to earn an advanced degree. Unlike undergraduate study, a master’s degree program in electronics engineering is focused more on research. A thesis will be required before graduation. In addition, some laboratory work may also be part of the program. An online master degree in electronics engineering technology program is very similar to a campus program. The lectures can be viewed online and students can fax or email their assignments. However, they may have to attend a physical location for their exams and laboratory work. There may also be on-campus seminars to attend.
Course work for a master’s degree in electronics engineering will vary based on specialty but it often includes quality management and control and research methods. Other courses you may take include advanced robotics, principles of optics, and introduction to ASIC technologies. You may choose to work with optics or microelectronics for your area of focus. A graduate with a master’s degree can often become an instructor at universities and colleges. In addition, they work in research and development of new technologies and products. They also have the opportunity to work in management in their chosen field.