Electrical computer board being engineered in a lab

What Is Electrical Engineering Technology (EET)?

When you study electrical engineering technology (EET), you study the lifeblood of today's technology: electronics and computers. Electrical engineering technology is a part of virtually everything society relies on, from air conditioning to airplanes, trains, and televisions. 

EET is the largest branch of engineering technology and includes a diverse range of subdisciplines, such as applied design, electronics, embedded systems, control systems, instrumentation, telecommunications, and power systems. Robotics, computer-aided design (CAD), programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and electronic manufacturing processes may also be part of an EET professional's work, which focuses on the design, application, installation, manufacturing, operation, and maintenance of electrical systems. They work hand-in-hand with electrical engineers to help ideas come to life.

EET is the study of machines, equipment, technology, and systems that conduct electrical charges and produce electricity. It also includes the study of electrical distribution systems that control the amount of energy received by an appliance, such as an energy converter or control system. EET professionals typically work in the field to maintain electric voltage systems and their individual parts, such as heaters, motors, circuits, and generators. They also often install wiring systems and circuit boards.

The principles you learn in an EET bachelor's program can be applied in a wide range of careers, including communications, controls, power electronics, and technical management. EET professionals also contribute to scientific advancements in industries including biomedical, green energy, transportation, communications, entertainment, and manufacturing. 

There are different levels of certification that an electrical engineering technologist may obtain, and certification is often encouraged. Someone in this role must be able to think critically and solve complex problems. Strong reading, writing, and mathematical skills are essential to this position, as well as being mechanically inclined. Knowledge of design tools, techniques, blueprints, models, and drawings are important.

How Do Electrical Engineering Technology and Electrical Engineering Differ?

An electrical engineering technology degree is a specialized discipline apart from electrical engineering.

  • The EET degree is different from an electrical engineering degree because EET class and laboratory work is focused on applications rather than on advanced theory. In an EET degree program, as you learn the theories of how things work, you'll apply them in immediate, relevant ways.
  • The EET professional focuses on application, theory, applied design, implementation, and maintenance, while electrical engineers focus more on theory and conceptual design.
  • Unlike electrical engineers, EET professionals typically work in the production environment to address problems directly and find practical solutions. 
  • EET professionals determine when machines and parts need to be replaced, and determine the costs of doing so. They also assist electrical engineers in activities such as process control, electrical power distribution, and instrumentation design.

Learn more about the difference between engineering and engineering technology fields.

Which Degree Is Right for Me?

After learning about these two programs, you may be wondering which one is right for you. If you have the desire to design and develop electrical systems such as electric motors, radar and navigation systems, communications systems, and power generation equipment, electrical engineering may be the right degree for you. However, if you want a career where you work with equipment hands-on, EET is a great choice.

Electrical Engineering vs. Electrical Engineering Technology

Electrical Engineering Electrical Engineering Technology
Designing Troubleshooting and repairing
More theory More hands-on
Lots of advanced math and science Not as much advanced math and science

What Careers Are Available in Electrical Engineering Technology?

Electrical engineering technologists typically work full-time; however, they might also work overtime, varied shifts, and on-call. The working environment for the positions listed below varies and could include a workshop, power station, office, or research facility. A bachelor's degree is preferred for most electrical engineering technology positions, but not always required.

Job titles for electrical engineering technology professionals include:

  • Applications Engineer
  • Commissioning Engineer
  • Control Engineer
  • Electronic Engineer
  • Electrical Technician
  • Embedded Systems Engineer
  • Hardware Engineer
  • Information Technology (IT) Manager
  • Information Technology Specialist
  • Maintenance Manager
  • Maintenance Supervisor
  • Power Engineer
  • Product Engineer
  • Project Engineer
  • Process Engineer
  • Staff Systems Engineer
  • System Engineer
  • Systems Test Engineer
  • Software Engineer

Where Do Electrical Engineering Technology Professionals Work?

Graduates of EET programs work in a wide range of career fields. Some examples include:

  • Aerospace and avionics
  • Computers
  • Controls
  • Electrical power and power distribution
  • Engineering management
  • Integration engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Medical technology and devices
  • Signal processing
  • Manufacturing
  • Marine engineering
  • Operations research
  • Optics and optoelectronics
  • Project management
  • Quality control engineering
  • Research and development
  • Supervision and management
  • Systems analysis
  • Technology management
  • Telecommunications

What Skills Do Electrical Engineering Technology Professionals Need?

Foundational skills needed by EET professionals include:

  • Communication skills. EET professionals must be able to follow instructions from engineers and others. They also need to clearly convey problems to engineers.
  • Attention to detail. EET professionals must be detail oriented when assembling, troubleshooting, and repairing electronic and electrical mechanical systems. And because electrical technology involves wiring systems that are potentially hazardous, it's important for EET professionals to pay close attention to ensure they handle wiring safely.
  • Math skills. EET professionals use mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting tasks. Their work often requires precise measurements to select proper wiring and determine the correct angle of wires.
  • Mechanical skills. EET professionals use hand tools and soldering irons on small circuitry and may build electronic parts and components by hand.
  • Problem-solving skills. EET professionals must be able to identify and fix problems that arise in assembling and inspecting electrical engineers' designs and prototypes. EET professionals may also perform repairs on malfunctioning wiring systems, which requires effective and safety problem-solving skills.
  • Writing skills. EET professionals write reports about onsite construction, design problems, or testing results. Their writing must be clear and well organized to convey the information in the reports.

Advanced skills needed by EET professionals may include:

  • Autodesk AutoCAD Electrical design software
  • Computer-aided drafting and design (CADD)
  • Electronic troubleshooting
  • Electronic equipment installation
  • Engineering design
  • Systems troubleshooting

What Tasks Do Electrical Engineering Technology Professionals Do?

EET professionals often work hand-in-hand with electrical engineers. These trained specialists help engineers design and develop equipment that is powered by electricity or electric current. EET professionals assist with electrical power distribution, process control, instrumentation design, and more. Duties can include tasks such as installing electrical control systems, planning project timelines, calibrating equipment, and programming electronic controls.

EET professionals may:

  • Adjust and replace defective circuitry and electronic components
  • Analyze the performance of assemblies and electrical components
  • Apply knowledge of electrical theory in engineering, industry, and business settings
  • Build, test, diagnose, and maintain electrical and electronic systems and prototypes
  • Assist scientists and engineers with electrical engineering research
  • Build prototypes from plans or sketches
  • Conduct statistical studies and analyze costs of production for nonsustainable and sustainable designs
  • Consult with customers on electrical problems
  • Create basic circuitry and draft sketches to clarify details of a design
  • Design, install and maintain electrical control and communication systems
  • Diagnose wiring issues
  • Draw diagrams and write specifications about the design details of experimental electronics units
  • Identify solutions to technical design problems that arise in making electrical systems
  • Installing new wiring systems
  • Inspect designs for quality control, report findings, and recommend changes, if necessary
  • Install and maintain industrial automation systems, variable speed drives, control circuits, and programmable logic controllers
  • Make parts, such as coils and terminal boards, using bench lathes, drills, or other machine tools
  • Plan project timelines, and material and budget estimates
  • Prepare, review, and develop maintenance standard
  • Read blueprints, diagrams, and engineering instructions for assembling electronic unit
  • Set up and operate specialized and standard testing equipment
  • Write reports and record data on testing techniques, laboratory equipment, and specifications

How Much Do Electrical Engineering Technology Professionals Earn?

According to Payscale.com, the highest salary for an electrical engineering technologist is $115,000 per year. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the median annual wage for electronic engineering technologists and technicians is $63,640.

EET professionals can increase their salary by:

  • Changing employers. Making a career move to a new employer that is willing to pay higher for their skills is one way to increase earnings.
  • Increasing their level of education. Gaining advanced degrees may allow electrical engineering technologists to increase income potential and qualify for promotions.
  • Gaining management experience. Electrical engineering technologists who oversee more junior electrical engineering technologists have a higher likelihood to earn more.

More computing salaries data.

Where Do EET Professionals Work?

Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians held about 105,000 jobs in 2021, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The largest employers of electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians include the federal government; engineering services; architectural services; semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing; navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing; merchant wholesalers of durable goods; and electric power generation, transmission, and distribution.

The Future of Electrical Engineering Technology

The electrical engineering sector is undergoing a major transformation. Around the world, ambitious research and development departments are working on improved ways to collect, store, and consume electrical energy.

Despite making tremendous progress in recent years, the electrical engineering sector shows no signs of slowing down. Electrical engineering technologies driving this change and growth include:

  • Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G technology
  • Smart grids
  • Wireless power transfer
  • Innovations in battery technology
  • Robotics
  • Drones
  • Electric vehicles
  • Sustainable energy
  • Nanotechnology
  • High-efficiency photovoltaic (PV) cells
  • Automation
  • Electrical safety

Electrical Engineering Technology at Michigan Tech

Mechatronics, robotics, automation and control, instrumentation, data acquisition. Graduates who understand these concepts are in demand worldwide. Michigan Tech electrical engineering technology (EET) majors immerse themselves in these topics, top to bottom, through hands-on system design and implementation. At Michigan Tech, the average starting salary for EET graduates is $68,390 with 100 percent job placement within six months of graduation. Our graduates are employed at companies in a variety of industries, including AT&T, Black & Veatch, Consumers Power, FANUC Robotics America, Ford Motor Company, Harley-Davidson, the Mayo Clinic, and more.

In our program, you'll gain hands-on practical knowledge and start creating electronic projects your first semester. You'll develop a solid understanding of key competencies in circuits, analog and digital electronics, computer design, electronic materials, controls and automation, power and machinery, and technical documentation, drawing on the real-world experience and extensive knowledge of your professors and industry partners.

Michigan Tech's Electrical Engineering Technology program is accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET under the General Criteria and the Electrical/Electronics(s) Engineering Technology and Similarly Named Programs Program Criteria.

Michigan Tech EET students work on:

  • Mastering fundamental electronics and electrical systems
  • Gaining hands-on engineering know-how
  • Designing, programming, troubleshooting, and maintaining automated systems
  • Operating new, industry-grade learning equipment
  • Building the knowledge and skills essential for launching and advancing a career in the automation industry
  • Building expertise in programmable logic controllers (PLCs), the most commonly used computers in industrial settings
  • Learning on advanced, industry-standard Amatrol mechatronics and process control stations
  • Operating and troubleshooting industrial FANUC robotic arms used in dozens of industrial applications
  • Earning a FANUC Robotic Automation Industrial Certificate, a huge advantage in your employment search
  • Pursuing funded undergraduate research
  • Applying what you've learned in a capstone Enterprise or Senior Design project that solves a current business or industry problem
"I enjoy learning by doing; that's why the EET program at Michigan Tech was a perfect match for me. I went from building simple electronic circuits in my first year to creating complex controls systems for a company my senior year. I highly recommend the EET program to any student looking to pursue skills in robotics and controls and who enjoys building, designing, and learning by doing."Tomas Prica '19, BS Electrical Engineering Technology