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Electrical engineer

Electrical engineers design, develop and maintain electrical systems for buildings, transport systems and power distribution networks. They work in and across many industries, such as construction, transport, energy (including renewables), building services, and manufacturing. Electrical engineers need a good understanding of engineering science, and strong maths and computer skills.

Average salary*

£25000

-

£60000

Typical hours per week

35-40

How to become an electrical engineer

There are several routes to becoming an electrical engineer. You could complete a university or college course, or an apprenticeship. If you already have relevant skills or experience you may be able to apply directly to an employer or train on-the-job. You should explore these routes to find out which is the right one for you. 

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.

University/graduate training scheme

You can complete a degree in electrical or electronic engineering, or you may choose a related degree such as electromechanical or building services engineering. You could also study mechatronics or applied physics. 

You’ll need 2 - 3 A levels (or equivalent) to do a degree. Afterwards, you may be able to join a company’s graduate trainee scheme. 

College/training provider

You might need to attend a specialist college or training provider in order to become an electrical engineer.

You could study for a Level 4 and 5 Higher National Diploma (HND) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

You’ll generally need 1 - 2 A levels, or a level 3 diploma or BTEC, for level 4 or 5 courses.

 Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship with a construction firm is a good way into the industry. 

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you will be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.

You would need to have A levels or equivalent to become an apprentice electrical engineer, as this is a higher apprenticeship. You would also need 4 - 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C).

Work

If you have relevant qualifications and experience in a related area, such as electrical installations or electronics, you may be able to apply directly to an employer. 

If you are just starting out, you could apply for a job as an electrical engineering technician. You could then do on-the-job training with an electrical engineering company to qualify.

Work experience

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV. 

Skills

Additional skills which may benefit anyone considering a job as an eletrical engineer include:

  • Knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • Maths knowledge
  • Knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • Design skills and knowledge
  • Be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • Analytical thinking skills
  • Excellent verbal communication skills
  • Able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What does an electrical engineer do?

As an electrical engineer you will be responsible for ensuring the smooth running of services such as lighting, heating, and ventilation. Duties could include working at heights or with power generating equipment.

The job role of an electrical engineer involves the following duties: 

  • Managing power generation, transmission and distribution
  • Working with high and low voltage equipment
  • Designing systems and products using computer software
  • Working with renewable energy sources
  • Managing and maintaining building services, such as lighting, heating, ventilation and lift systems
  • Carrying out feasibility studies for new technical developments
  • Drawing up project plans, making models, prototypes and circuit diagrams for high and low voltage electrical equipment
  • Budgeting and estimating timescales
  • Overseeing technicians and craftspeople
  • Testing installations and systems
  • Ensuring projects meet safety regulations
  • Overseeing inspection and maintenance programmes
  • Liaising with clients
  • Managing maintenance programmes
  • Working in factories, power stations, or research facilities, in a workshop, an office or outdoors.

How much could you earn as an electrical engineer?

The expected salary for an electrical engineer varies as you become more experienced

  • Newly trained electrical engineers can earn £20,000 - £25,000
  • Trained electrical engineers with some experience can earn £25,000 - £40,000
  • Senior, chartered or master electrical engineers can earn £45,000 or more.*

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources and have been updated as of 2019


Jobs

Check out the latest electrical engineer vacancies:

As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up.

Career path and progression

Electrical engineers work with companies across many different industries. You could specialise in construction, building services, renewable energy or transport systems.

With chartered engineer status, you could move into design, senior engineer, or project management roles. You could also become an engineering consultant and set your own salary.

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

  • Current role Electrical engineer The duties & responsibilities of an electrical engineer in construction include ...
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  • Current role Building services engineer Working with construction & client teams building service engineers ensure build...
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  • Current role Field technician Travel to different construction sites, repair technical support & provide servi...
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