How do I Become an RF Engineer?

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  • Written By: Jessica F. Black
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Radio frequency (RF) engineering is a subcategory of electrical engineering that focuses on radio waves and electronic devices. A degree in an electrical engineering program is usually required to become an RF engineer, and students should seek a university that offers a bachelor's program in this or a related area of engineering. Students should thoroughly research schools before applying, and will most likely have to attend courses on campus. This particular degree is best taken in-person because most classes require the students to perform hands-on tasks with electronic equipment. Online degrees are usually not as in depth and may only offer coursework in the fundamentals of electrical engineering.

The first year of courses at an accredited four year university usually includes general coursework with a heavy focus on mathematics and sciences. These courses generally serve as prerequisites to the advanced electrical engineering classes needed to become an RF engineer. Coursework may include electromagnetics, microwave engineering, RF circuit design, smart communications, and fabrication classes. Most classes involve a weekly lab, group project, field trips to engineering facilities, research papers, and extensive examinations. In addition to schoolwork, students should look for real-world opportunities to increases his or her chance to become an RF engineer.

Internships or part-time jobs in electrical engineering firms will enhance the student's knowledge of the industry and may assist him or her with job placement after graduation. Most universities hold job fairs or offer internships that help students to become an RF engineer. Observing and assisting other field professionals often provides the sufficient training needed to become an RF engineer, and most firms choose to hire interns after he or she has become familiar with the company. Additional employment searches can be performed on the Internet to find opportunities with local firms. Some jurisdictions may require specific examinations to obtain the necessary certification to work as an engineer.

There are numerous types of positions in this area of electrical engineering, but the most common are security, wireless devices, and broadcasting. Security jobs generally require the applicant to be able to pass high priority clearance, which requires an impeccable personal, criminal, and employment background. Students who choose this field usually design, improve, and fix electronic defense equipment commonly used by local government agencies. Wireless device careers are primarily positions offered by telecommunication companies that require employees to work on wireless components and radio frequencies. Broadcasting positions involve working with larger scale equipment that broadcast radio and television frequencies.

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