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How Do I Become an Electrical Power Engineer?

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  • Written By: Bryce Clinton
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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In different parts of the world, there are different routes you can take to become an electrical power engineer. In almost all cases you will need formal training as an electrical engineer. Working as an electrician while studying engineering technology is a good first step, and in some countries a one-year program of study can offer significant entry-level advancement opportunities.

To become an electrical power engineer, you might also obtain certifications as a power engineer while working in plant environments that enable you to focus on electrical systems. Again, you'll still need to learn engineering technology or electrical engineering. Becoming a traction power electrical engineer for the railroad industry is a third route.

Many countries distinguish between power engineers and electrical engineers, meaning that to become an electrical power engineer, you'll need to be an expert in both fields. In such cases, only very senior engineers can become an electrical power engineer; however, if you're seeking to advance as either a power engineer or electrical engineer, there are straightforward career paths toward achieving each of these goals. You can either begin by working, or by studying, and some combination of both will be necessary for real advancement.

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To start your career by way of power plant training as a stationary or operating engineer, you might move through the various classes of power engineer, which in some countries start at class 5 and move up to 1. At the same time, you'll need to pursue degrees or certifications in engineering technology, which would include advanced technical and theoretical training in electrical engineering, as well as electrical generation, distribution, and transmission. Depending on your plans, you might also need to pursue more advanced mechanical or fluid engineering.

You can also become an electric power engineer by pursuing a career in electrical engineering. To take this route, you'll most likely need to start with formal training in electrical engineering or engineering technology. You can either earn a bachelor's degree or complete a two to four year program that culminates in a technical degree. If you are ultimately seeking a senior role, such as a consultant or power plant designer, you'll need to have many years of working experience, and you may also need graduate degrees in electrical engineering.

Electrical power engineers can work in several industries, so you'll need to focus on one industry if you wish to advance quickly. In addition to power plants and other broad energy distribution systems, you can become an electrical power engineer that does consulting work or designing for train and rail systems. In every case, getting the necessary formal training and choosing the right industry is a start.

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