Do you have good problem-solving skills and a grasp of mathematics and technical design? If yes, a career as an electrical engineer could be worth exploring.
Electrical engineers design and develop electrical equipment and systems to produce, distribute, and utilise electrical energy. They also oversee the maintenance, installation, and operation of these systems.
To work as an electrical engineer in Australia, you need an undergraduate degree in engineering, focussing on electrical and electronic engineering or a related field. Some workers also have a postgraduate degree in a sub-discipline.
This blog discusses the job profile of an Electrical Engineer, lists their duties, mentions the study pathway to becoming one and answers some of the related frequently asked questions, including the electrical engineer's salary, what they do, and more.
1. What Is An Electrical Engineer?
Electrical Engineers have expert knowledge of physics, mathematics, electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. They apply their know-how to create, implement, and test electrical systems that process and transmit energy, such as power transmission and motor control.
They oversee planning and developing power grids, power stations, and equipment for generators and provide solutions to electrical issues.
Electrical Engineers work on various technologies throughout their careers, including building wiring and lighting, electrical power stations, satellite communications, and household products.
2. What Does An Electrical Engineer Do?
Electrical Engineers can work in various industries and have plenty of progression opportunities.
Though their exact work responsibilities depend on the industry they work in and their position, the most common ones include the following:
Use software to design and develop power distribution networks and electric components and systems such as circuit breakers, conductors, cathode ray tubes, electric motors, etc.
Design and install signalling and control equipment for road, air, and rail traffic
Use computer-aided design software to prepare drawings of electrical systems.
Understand specifications, drawings, regulations, and standards concerning electric power equipment and its use
Oversee manufacture, installation, operation, and upkeep of electrical systems to generate, distribute, and control electric power.
Work on electronic systems used for communications, computing, and other industrial applications
Install and test electrical systems and processes, and troubleshoot any faults
Carry out detailed computations to develop specifications and standards for the manufacture, construction, and installation of electrical equipment
Based on their calculations, decide the most suitable type and arrangement of circuits, circuit breakers, transmission lines, transformers, and other electrical equipment.
Conduct surveys related to the operations of electrical networks, and systems
Introduce changes in electric motors, components, equipment, and appliances to improve their functioning
Specify delivery and installation schedules for machines, cables, fittings, and switchgear
Prepare reports and instruction manuals to install new electrical systems and equipment.
3. Electrical Engineer Qualifications
To work as an Electrical Engineer in Australia, you need formal education in electrical engineering or a related field.
Here are the complete steps to qualify for this role:
Gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education in prerequisite subjects, such as mathematics and physics.
Complete a university degree in engineering or science with a major in electrical, electronic, communications telecommunications, electrical power, and network engineering, like a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical Engineering).
Study for a postgraduate course in engineering like Master of Electrical Engineering to further your chances of becoming a consultant, manager, or project leader
Apply for membership in Engineers Australia or the Electrical Energy Society of Australia
4. Steps To Become An Electrical Engineer In Australia
Follow the below steps to get started in this profession:
Step 1: Earn A Relevant Bachelor's Degree
The essential step to becoming an industry-ready Electrical Engineer with real-world experience is to complete a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering, majoring in Electrical Engineering from an accredited university.
This qualification helps students understand electrical theory, digital and analogue technologies, electronic measurement principles, and the technical aspects of a range of electrical devices.
Students gain hands-on experience with different technologies, including electrical and electronic equipment, measurement equipment, sensors, microprocessors, rotating machines, power electronics, automated test equipment, embedded real-time controllers, and the Internet of Things to work in a diverse field of applications.
Step 2: Get Registered
When working as an independent Electrical Engineer, some states require registering with authorities specific to your field of work and holding a Professional Engineer's Licence.
You can get the license after a minimum of 4 years of industry work experience as an Electric Engineer. Check the licensing requirements of the state/territory you intend to work in.
Step 3: Get An Entry-Level Position
After obtaining the degree and license, you are ready to start applying for entry-level positions. The industry experience you gain by working in the job enhances your skill set and prepares you for real-world problems.
Step 4: Continue Learning
Working in this rapidly evolving field requires you to constantly train and educate yourself to stay up to date on technological advancements even after the initial break. After gaining some experience, you can consider advancing in your career as an electrical engineer:
By earning a postgraduate qualification like a Master's in Engineering or a Doctorate
Through substantial work experience and achievements
By taking the Professional Certification courses
Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists, and Managers Australia
5. How Much Do Electrical Engineers Earn In Australia?
Various factors may influence an electrical engineer's salary, such as:
Years of experience
Educational background and qualifications earned
According to Pay Scale, the national average salary for an Electrical Engineer is AU$76,679 per year or equivalent to AU$32.59 per hour.
Salary Based on Experience
The starting salary of an entry-level electrical engineer may be lower than the average salary. Still, it will gradually increase with work experience, knowledge, and skills in this domain.
Entry-level Electrical Engineers (<1-year experience): AU$62,939 per year
Early career Electrical Engineers (1-4 years of experience): AU$72,445 per year
Mid-career Electrical Engineers (5-9 years of experience): AU$91,139 per year
Experienced Electrical Engineers (10-19 years of experience): AU$110,224 per year
Salary Based on Work Location
Based on job vacancy data, Electrical Engineers earn higher salaries in the following cities:
Melbourne: $95,161 per year
Adelaide: $129,177 per year
Brisbane: $114,365 per year
Darwin: $114,284 per year
Sydney: $106,511 per year
Perth: $103,783 per year
Canberra: $92,260 per year
6. Working Conditions For An Electrical Engineer
Electrical Engineers usually work in offices or on-site at power generation facilities, electrical systems, or construction sites.
They may also undertake practical work in workshops or laboratories. They usually work standard business hours but may require overtime for any upcoming event.
The job generally involves working in dangerous conditions using live electrical equipment. While at work, Electrical engineers work closely with other professionals in the business, such as civil and mechanical engineers, senior administrators, computer scientists, building designers, and architects.
7. Where Do Electrical Engineers Work?
Skilled Electrical Engineers can land a great position across a range of industries:
Mining Resource Extraction
Electricity transmission & distribution
Automobile (Electric Vehicles)
Aerospace Manufacturing (Spacecraft and Satellites)
Manufacturing and Service
Opportunities also exist to work for the state and federal government departments, electricity suppliers, engineering services, infrastructure providers and operators, consulting engineers, and major power companies like Energy Queensland, Origin, or Powerlink.
8. Areas Of Specialisation
Electrical engineers can specialise in various sub-disciplines of Electrical Engineering, such as:
Traffic systems and Air traffic control
Power generation and transmission systems
Signal processing and control
Switch gears and Electric motors
Telemetry and control systems
Besides these, a few engineers also specialise in consulting, project management, research and development of electrical technology or production machinery.
The Most Common Specialist Roles include:
Electrical Maintenance Engineers
Electrical Power Engineers
Electrical Design Engineer
Railway Signalling Engineer
Signalling And Communications Engineer
9. The Most Common Jobs That Involve Electric Engineers
Qualified and skilled Electric engineers can work in any of the below positions across various industries in Australia:
Electrical Engineering Officer
Electrical Maintenance Technician
Power Systems Technician
Electrical Drafter/ Designer
Electrical Engineering Technologist
Senior Technical Offer
Engineering Support Officer
Senior Engineering Officer
10. Job Prospects Of Electrical Engineers In Australia
ANZSCO Occupation Group: 2333 Electrical Engineers
Electrical Engineers make a significant contribution to various sectors. From life-saving medical equipment to energy-efficient power grids, they design vital electrical systems and technologies powering our day-to-day lives.
They are responsible for inventing and manufacturing many modern comforts that make our life sustainable. These include GPS navigation systems, electric motors, and other electrical devices.
There are myriad opportunities for Electrical Engineers with graduate expertise and applied experience. Many of Australia's largest companies or engineering corporations regularly seek capable candidates to fill their positions.
Furthermore, the demand for Electrical Engineers has seen a rapid surge in the telecommunications industry. With growing technological advancement, the use of mobile phones, and the entrance of new telecom companies into the Australian market, future job growth will remain strong in this industry.
According to Labour Market Insights, the number of workers will grow and reach 30,500 by 2026.
Around 91% of employed Electrical Engineers work full-time hours for an average of 44 hours per week which is the same as the average for all other jobs. More than 50% of workers regularly work overtime or additional hours.
Major Industries For Employment
Professional, Scientific, And Technical Services: 31.7%
Electricity, Gas, Water, And Waste Services: 21.2%
Other Industries (Mining): 19.1%
Percentage Of Employment Across Australia
Western Australia and New South Wales have the largest share of employees.
New South Wales: 36.2%
South Australia: 5.3%
Western Australia: 14.0%
Northern Territory: 1.1%
Australian Capital Territory: 1.7%
Worker's Age And Gender Profile
The average age of Electrical Engineers is 39 years, with most between 25 and 34 years. (Average of all other jobs: 40 years)
Females constitute 7% of the workforce which is significantly lower than the average of all other jobs, 48%.
11. Frequently Asked Questions
How To Migrate To Australia As An Electrical Engineer?
Electrical Engineering Draftsperson (312311) is presently on the Skilled Occupations List. Engineers Australia is the governing body that delivers the skills assessment for Electrical Engineering Draftspersons in Australia.
To obtain a positive skills assessment, overseas candidates must undertake an Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology – Electrical qualification. It will make them eligible to participate in the job-ready program.
Working in the JRP program for at least 1-year as a qualified Electrical Engineering Draftsperson eliminates the need for your employer to sponsor your visa. It will, in turn, enhance your chance of finding employment and make it easier for employers to hire you.
Follow the below steps to study and work as a Professional Electric Engineer in Australia:
How To Become An Electrical Engineer Without A Degree?
To become an Electrical Engineer in Australia, you need a bachelor's degree. It is an essential educational requirement, without which most employers won't hire you for this position.
A few firms even require a master's or doctoral degree in electrical engineering and some years of experience in this role.
Suppose you are interested in pursuing this profession. In that case, you must devote time and effort to meet the qualification criteria for this role.
How To Become An Electrical Engineer In Melbourne?
The University of Melbourne offers various electrical engineering courses in Melbourne.
The ideal learning pathway is to start with a 3-year Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Electrical Systems. Follow it up with a 2-year Master of Electrical Engineering to become an accredited engineer.
Graduates of any other discipline can consider studying for a 2 to 3-year Master of Electrical Engineering to work as a professional Electrical Engineer.
The course details are as follows:
Bachelor of Science (Electrical Engineering Systems)
Guaranteed ATAR: 88.00
Three years full-time / 6 years part-time
On Campus (Parkville)
Career Outcomes: Work in Electrical Engineering and other related areas such as applied mathematics, teaching, management, finance, and applied science.
Students gain a scientific understanding of electrical phenomena to formulate and solve problems in telecommunications, monitoring and automation, digital computing, and energy distribution and an ability to construct lab experiments and simulations.
Additionally, the electrical engineering course equips them with problem-solving abilities, design skills, and good communication skills crucial to working in this role.
How Much Does It Cost To Study To Be An Electrical Engineer?
The cost of studying for an electrical engineering course may vary from one university to another. Since the fee changes from time to time, refer to the university course links to get an exact idea.
Refer to the below links to find out the course fee charged by top Australian universities:
Bachelor of Engineering Science (Electrical & Electronic Engineering) -The University of Southern Queensland
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Electrical & Electronic Engineering) - The University of Southern Queensland
Associate Degree of Engineering (Electrical & Electronic Engineering) - The University of Southern Queensland
Electrical and Electronic Engineering – The University of Western Australia
Bachelor of Science (Electrical Engineering Systems) – The University of Melbourne
How To Become A Successful Electrical Engineer?
To succeed in this profession, you need a combination of technical competency and soft skills. Most professional electrical engineers have the following skills:
Good math and science knowledge
In-depth understanding of circuit operation to create, repair and maintain electrical devices.
Basic knowledge of programming languages
A good understanding of computers, CAD software, modelling programs, and electrical testing equipment.
Familiar with various electrical circuitry and parts, such as transformers, circuit breakers, and transmission lines.
Enjoy computing and technical design
Able to identify, examine and solve problems
Good interpersonal skills
Good communication skills to convey ideas effectively
Good oral and written communication skills
Able to work independently or in a team
Willing to accept responsibility
Organisational and Time Management Skills
Now that you know what electrical engineers do and the required education and skills to work in this role, follow the above steps to start your professional journey in this field.
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