Electrician vs Electrical Engineer – Comparison of Two Future Careers

Whether it comes to watching TV, staying online on your computer, using a sandwich maker or playing some music, all these things are possible because of electricity. This field is extremely diversified and brings in a lot of opportunities and solutions. With all these, two of them can definitely stand up in the crowd.

Difference between electrician and electrical engineer

An electrician is responsible for wired installations and connections, as well as specific reparations. On the other hand, electrical engineers handle all the equipments, systems and units that transfer, stock and distribute the actual electricity. While these two professions might seem identical for a lot of people, the truth is that they come with a lot of different tasks, operations, opportunities and education.

Understanding the concept of education

Superior or post-secondary education is not mandatory for both electrical engineers and electricians. Practically, electricians need to obtain a high-school diploma or degree. While post-secondary education can be very helpful in the long run, it is not mandatory. Self education and skill development are achieved through apprenticeships. Such an apprenticeship takes around four years. Students can be paid for their work as well. However, just because they go through an apprenticeship, electricians cannot start working right away. Instead, they need a license too.

On a different note, electrical engineers need to obtain a bachelor’s degree. The program also lasts for years and educates students on mathematics, engineering, electrical circuitry and digital systems. The worst part is that experience is hard to achieve, so most students are recommended to join an internship too. Unless they work for other companies, electrical engineers will need a license for public services.

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Evaluating the job opportunities in the marketplace

An electrical engineer makes around $93,000 every year. On the other hand, electricians make about $53,000. Obviously, their specializations and job opportunities can increase or decrease the earnings. For example, a project electrical engineer can go up to more than $100,000, while electrical electronic engineers earn around $75,000.

Job demand by 2020

The demand for electrical engineers is expected to grow with 6% to 8% until 2020, which is way under the economical average of 14%. At the same time, electricians are said to experience a lot of new opportunities – up to 23%. This is because more and more people are expected to require electricity in the future, so it is obvious that they need wiring solutions and reparations.

Once an electrical engineer develops a project, it is up to the electrician to implement and install it accordingly. A project needs to be developed one time, but it has to be implemented hundreds or maybe even thousands of times, hence the higher demand of electricians.


Becoming familiar with the working environment

Electricians can work for particular companies or just start their own businesses. When starting a business, being self employed is usually the most common solution. In nine out of ten cases, electricians need to reach to their customers in order to complete their jobs. More than 10% of all electricians are self employed. They can also work indoors or outdoors, depending on the tasks they get. Some of them can be handled within minutes or hours, while others are longer lasting and may take a few weeks.

Electrical engineers are more stable from this point of view, which means that they rarely travel so much. They project their work and deal with their tasks from their laboratories or offices. Their main employers include large companies or corporations involved in engineering, architecture and other similar services.

How can an electrician become an electrical engineer

An electrician can become an electrical engineer by education, studying and obtaining a Bachelor or something similar. You can become an electrical engineer from electrician and it will be easier for you. Plus you might get some extra points from your past work.

You can find more information about this transition on Quora.

In conclusion

In the end, both electricians and electrical engineers can benefit from a stable working environment over the next years. While some of them might make more money, their job opportunities are also limited. It is a vicious circle, so it is up to each aspirant to identify their necessities and preferences. From many points of view, making a final decision is only a matter of personal style.

Don’t forget to also check our Electrician vs Plumber comparison