Electronic engineers create and repair the circuitry, motors and other parts that run electronic devices. They work in industries focusing on computers, communications, aerospace, and power, and they work with equipment ranging from cell phones to global positioning systems. Electronic engineers must earn a bachelor's degree, which takes, on average, four years to complete. A Bachelor of Science degree focuses on the practical skills that an electronic engineer will need, with less emphasis on a core liberal arts education.
In most cases, students are admitted to the university of their choice before they are admitted to the electronic engineering program itself. At California State University, Long Beach, students are admitted under "pre-major" status and then must complete general education courses required by the university, as well as classes like calculus and physics with a grade of C or better. Students at Western Washington University are also admitted as pre-majors and then must complete five pre-requisite coures in math, physics, computer science and electronic technology. Students who perform satisfactorily can then be admitted into the formal degree program. The Pennsylvania College of Technology recommends students take advanced mathematics and science courses in high school.
Coursework in a Bachelor of Science program in electronic engineering typically include 120 credit hours. Typically, students take 30 credit hours each year of study. Coursework includes a mix of advanced level math, science, computer science and electrical courses. Some classes may include probability and statistics, solid state technology, computer programming, electronic circuits, microprocessing, calculus, physics, and digital systems. Core courses include general liberal arts education, such as English, social science and arts. These courses are completed during the first and second year. Fewer of these courses are required in a Bachelor of Science program than in a Bachelor of Arts program, so it does not take the typical two years to complete these course classes.
Hands-on training is emphasized in a Bachelor of Science program in electronic engineering. At the University of Akron, students participate in a number of labs and other hands-on opportunities, including a circuits laboratory, electronics laboratory, control system laboratory, and digital circuits and system laboratory. Each of the labs include industry-grade computers and software so that students can practice design and simulate the construction of circuitry and other pieces. Most programs in electronic engineering have similar training centers, which are included in the curriculum. Lab work is included in classes in each year of study. Students should expect to begin their lab training in the first year and to add to these skills through each year of study. The major classes taken in the last two years of study will be lab intensive.
In addition to coursework, many Bachelor of Science in electronic engineering programs also require the completion of field work in the form of an internship or other placement. At California State University, Long Beach, students must complete no less than three months of full-time work at an approved industry or government agency. The student must work in a position equivalent to a technician or higher. Field work is a requirement for graduation, and it is completed alongside course work. Field work does not extend the time to complete the degree, which is four years. At the University of Akron, students can participate in an optional cooperative education program, working part-time at local companies with which the university has a relationship. This position is optional, but if selected, it is completed before graduation. It does not extend the time to finish the degree.