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Electrical engineer

In the context of the building design, construction, and operations field, electrical engineers research, design, and sometimes develop electrical components and systems in and around buildings.

Source O*Net
Quick facts: Electrical engineer
2020 Median Pay $100,830 per year; $48.48 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Number of Jobs, 2019 193,100
Job Outlook, 2019-29 12,500
Employment Change, 2019-20 5-7% (faster than average)

The work of an electrical engineer includes designing building services such as lighting, elevator systems, and electrical connections to equipment such as heating and ventilation, and conducting site visits to ensure installations comply with their designs and with code. They often test installations and systems; design systems and products using computer software, and draw up project plans, making models, prototypes, and circuit diagrams for high and low voltage electrical equipment.

Role on a LEED project

LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building types, LEED provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership.

On a green building project, an electrical engineer works together with fellow engineering disciplines to design more efficient and more sustainable systems for heating and cooling, more efficient lighting systems, and on-site renewable energy. Electrical engineers can apply their knowledge of various types of electrical equipment to optimize interactions between various systems and reduce annual energy use in buildings. This skilled professional work is increasingly important as the buildings industry transitions from installing on-site combustion systems powered by fossil fuels to all-electric end uses.

How to become an electrical engineer

Electrical engineers need a good understanding of physics, engineering science, and strong math and computer skills. Most jobs require a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university in the field of electrical engineering. A degree from an ABET-accredited institution will help the engineer’s future employment prospects, as it is a prerequisite of obtaining a Professional Engineer (PE) license. Some students obtain a bachelor’s degree in another engineering discipline, or an entirely separate field, and then a master’s degree in electrical engineering. Important skills include critical thinking, complex problem-solving, decision-making, monitoring, systems analysis, written and oral communications, and active listening.

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Green building profile: Electrical engineer