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Electrical engineer

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Summary of occupation

Electrical engineers design and develop equipment used in the generation, distribution and use of electrical energy, as well as overseeing any maintenance, installation and operation. They design electrical systems and products, including arranging their circuitry, develop improvements for existing electrical equipment, organise and manage staff and materials in the production of electrical products, and ensure that these products meet specifications and adhere to safety regulations. They may also plan and develop power stations, power grids and equipment for generators. Electrical engineers work throughout the State, on hydroelectric dams in the Kimberley to coal power plants in the State's South West.

ANZSCO description: Designs, develops and supervises the manufacture, installation, operation and maintenance of equipment,  machines and systems for the generation, distribution, utilisation and control of electric power. Registration or licensing may be required.
Alternative names:
Specialisations: Electrical Design Engineer, Electrical Maintenance Engineer, Electrical Power Engineer, Railway Signalling Engineer, Research Engineer, Signalling and Communications Engineer
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An electrical engineer needs:

  • to enjoy practical and technical work
  • excellent problem-solving skills
  • to be able to undertake detailed and precise work
  • the ability to lead others
  • to be able to work to tight deadlines.
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Working conditions

Electrical engineers work mostly in offices, but may also undertake practical work in laboratories, workshops or on-site at power generation facilities or construction projects. Conditions may be dangerous, especially if live electrical equipment is being used. They usually work regular hours, but may be required to work longer hours at particular times.

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Salary details

On average, graduate electrical engineers can expect to earn between $961.54 and $1 346.15 per week ($50 000 and $70 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for. With experience their earning potential may increase substantially. ​

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Tools and technologies

Electrical engineers often work with computers and specifically with CAD
(computer-aided design) software as well as electrical system modelling and testing programs. They also need to be familiar with a range of different types of electrical circuitry and parts, including transformers, circuit-breakers and transmission lines. They also use electrical testing equipment such as multimeters to measure electrical amperage, voltage and resistance.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an electrical engineer you usually need to study engineering at university, majoring in electrical power or a related field. 

Most universities in Western Australia offer degrees in relevant fields. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.​

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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