Electrician VS Electrical Engineer: The Better Career Option?

The electrical arena comes up with a lot of professions. Various working areas combinedly set up this technical world.

Two of the most popular positions of this industry are Electrician and electrical engineer. People for the naming are sometimes quite confused. Especially about what responsibilities and abilities these two professions actually involve.

So, to know better about these things, I’m here to talk about the electrician vs electrical engineer issue. I’ll try to explain in a composed and logical way.

Electrician VS Electrical Engineer The Better Career Option

Electrician VS Electrical Engineer: Qualification, Salary, Future Demand & More!

Yes, both of these professions are actually related in a way. However still they both are a lot different. I’ll sectorize to compare better with what each of them does, the qualification necessary, salaries and future opportunities.

I think that way, choosing a career from these two would sound easier and better. Let’s Go for It!

Introducing the Professions

An electrical engineer is more involved with the production business of electrical equipment. On the other hand, electricians are from installing, maintenance, and repairing areas.

In simple words, an electrical engineer:

  • Tests and observes the gear manufacturing process.
  • Deals with power generator systems.
  • Develops electric motors and communication equipment.
  • Deals with the production of navigation controls.
  • Modifies the existing electrical technology.
  • Creates new technical possibilities to solve existing problems.

While an electrician is more involved with:

  • Installing an electrical system of house or offices.
  • Doing maintenance or repairing of electrical equipment.
  • Providing inspection supports for industrial and business facilities.
  • Deals with specification and blueprint reading.
  • Help customers with advices and solutions.
  • Fix issues discovered in power tools.

What Qualification Do Electrician & Electrical Engineer Need?

Both of these professions do vary in multiple areas. One such criteria is the qualification needed to join these sectors.

Qualification Electrical Engineer Electrician
High School YES YES
Bachelor’s Degree YES NO
Master’s Program Required Sometimes NO
Practical Experience Required Sometimes YES

Electrical Engineer Requirements

To become an electrical engineer, one needs to go for a bachelor’s degree. This could be in subjects related to electrical knowledge. Most of the professionals opt for subjects such as electrical engineering technology.

There is also a huge sector of professionals who complete a five-year degree in total. They complete both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. This helps them to get better job opportunities.

Some job seekers also share how employers expect work experience for appointing electrical engineers. So, getting involved in cooperative programs while completing a degree is also an important matter to consider.

The most advised thing you can do to get hired quickly is by issuing a license as a professional engineer. You would have to seat for two exams following some other requirements as well.

Electrician Requirements

Getting into the electrician sector is not hard compared to electrical engineer. However, it’s also not the easiest as well. One needs to complete their high school diploma with good marks.

Then they have to enter for an apprenticeship program just right after high school. This program usually continues for four to five years. This is basically a practical experience making course. It involves paid training as well.

Most of the time, a student needs to complete at least 144 hours of technical training. Also, they must continue two thousand hours of job training each year. This assures their internship program.

Some states require a person to issue a license to work as an electrician. However, unlike an electrical engineer, they don’t have to seat for two exams. They only need to pass one single exam. Of course, there are some other requirements as well to achieve a license.

How Much Do They Get Paid?

There were several reports and researches on how much each of these professions earns. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, I have some salary numbers from May 2016 records.

The average electrical engineer salary is around 98 thousand dollars every year. On the other side, the average electrician’s salary is more than 56 thousand dollars per year. The noticeable alteration in paying for each profession is due to differences in responsibilities.

Future Job Demand

In most recent records and researches, it was predicted that the demand for electrical engineers is going to increase 7% till 2020. This ratio is quite below the average economical of 14%. While the demand for electricians is expected to raise a lot. Probably up to 23% according to studies.

This is because of the ongoing and increasing demand for reparation needs and wiring solutions. Let me give a simple example to explain why electricians have better job growth opportunities than electrical engineers.

Suppose an engineer thinks to develop a new project idea for a certain technology. This idea needs implementation and installment to work the right way. Development is completed within one period most of the time.

On the other hand, implementation is a continues and repeating process that stays for a long period. Sometimes a project even needs a thousand times of implementation.

So clearly, even if it’s a smaller position than electrical engineer, the demand for electricians will always be higher.

What About the Working Environment?

Talking about the work environment, electrical engineer and electrician effort in different conditions. An electrician needs to work under a particular company or organization.

Some even choose to work with their own business to be self-employed. 90% of cases are about electricians reaching to their customers for a job or need.

Also depending on the problem, they might have to work indoor or outdoor. The projects can be solved within minutes or hours. However, in certain critical situation work can be long enough to last a few weeks.

Electrical engineers are more stable in this area since they rarely have to travel. Most of their works and tasks are okay to deal within own laboratories or offices.

The majority of electrical engineers work under huge companies or corporations. These include employers from engineering, architecture and similar organizations.

Is it Possible for An Electrician to Become an Electrical Engineer?

An electrician has good working experience. With that golden ticket on their hand, they just need to study for a bachelor’s degree.

This is a great way to get some extra points on becoming a well-known engineer. Since you’ll be able to get hired faster because of the varied work experience you had.


With great salaries, working environment and future job opportunities, both of these professions are stable to join. It’s actually your point of view that really matters in making an appropriate career decision.

Practically, those who want to make more money would select the engineering category. While those who want to go slow but risky free with lots of opportunities might find becoming an electrician to be the optimal choice.

No matter what you choose, make sure to enjoy the process of becoming and working. Good Luck on A Bright Career!

About Jeremy

Hello! My name is Jeremy Bloomberg. I have been passionate about carpentry and DIY. Over the years, my passion slowly turned into expertise and wider knowledge about electronics. I’ve been involved in numerous projects, both professional and personal. I want to share all I have learned with you. Welcome!

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