A bachelor of science program in electrical engineering technology emphasizes the practical applications of electrical engineering principles. Many BS in EET graduates work in the manufacture or servicing of electrical devices and systems. If you like to tinker with electrical devices and want more than an associate degree, a bachelor of science in electrical engineering technology opens up many career opportunities.
Students interested in electrical engineering can choose from among three types of undergraduate degrees. An associate degree in electrical engineering technology, available at two-year colleges, prepares you for hands-on jobs building and repairing electronic systems and devices. A bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, which normally takes four years, focuses on electrical and electronic design. As an alternative path, a bachelor of science in electrical engineering technology combines a full-length bachelor's degree with an emphasis on hands-on applications.
The accrediting institution for engineering and technology schools is ABET, formerly called the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Not all BS in EET programs are accredited, but accredited programs must meet national curriculum standards. An accredited degree shows employers that you have met a recognized educational level and qualifies you to take the engineering licensing exams. Although not required for technologist or engineering jobs, a state license can help qualify you for promotion.
Typical technical classes in an engineering technology degree include general subjects required for most engineering majors. For example, students study engineering principles and take applied physics classes, such as fluid mechanics, which covers the physics of liquids and other fluids; and thermodynamics, which studies the relationship of heat to energy. More specific to electrical engineering, students learn circuit design, programming languages and computer-aided drafting, which teaches the use of software to create engineering drawings.
A bachelor's degree in EET typically emphasizes the empirical, practical aspect of electrical technology, whether through classes and labs, an internship or both. For example, at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the course requirements include a series of circuits and electronic labs. Special labs focus on communications electronics, such and satellite and wireless telecommunications, and micro-controllers, which are mini-computers used in electronic devices. Students must also complete a 15-month cooperative program, working as engineering technologists in industry. Because of this internship requirement, a BS in EET at Rochester takes five years, compared to four years at many schools.
BS in electrical engineering technology graduates specialize in many different areas on the job. Some draw upon their design training, working as development engineers, while others work as communications engineers in industries such as television broadcasting. Manufacturing is a major employer, and those who work as industrial technologists help make the factory more efficient. Some put their hands-on training to work, troubleshooting and repairing electrical devices as field service technicians.
Depending on the job title, some bachelor's degree in EET graduates work as electrical engineers, while others fall into the job category of technician. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't break out the pay of workers with bachelor of science degrees in electrical engineering technology as a separate category. The average electrical engineer earned $91,810 as of 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the average EE technician earned $58,070 annually.