Electrician vs Electrical Engineer: The Best Comparism, Similarities and Description

Becoming an electrical engineer vs an electrician requires training, commitment, and the willingness to wonder about mind-boggling questions. These include questions such as how a flat-screen television manages to be energy efficient, or how a Las Vegas casino manages to use so much electricity without blowing a fuse.

Electrical engineers answer these tough electrical questions and may work on anything from handheld gadgets to massive electrical grids.

Electricians practically implement electrical designs, and may even make some miniature designs of their own to enhance their work.

This comprehensive guide is designed as a resource for individuals interested in knowing the differences between these two career paths and taking informed decisions on which to follow.

Meanwhile, the table of content shows what we will discuss in Electrician vs Electrical Engineer.

Who is an Electrician?

An electrician is a tradesman specializing in electrical wiring of buildings, transmission lines, stationary machines, and related equipment. Electricians may be employed in the installation of new electrical components or the maintenance and repair of existing electrical infrastructure.

Who is an Electrical Engineer?

Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices and systems which use electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism.

It emerged as an identifiable occupation in the latter half of the 19th century after the commercialization of the electric telegraph, the telephone, and electrical power generation, distribution, and use.

Electrical engineering is now divided into a wide range of fields, including computer engineering, systems engineering, power engineering, telecommunications, radio-frequency engineering, signal processing, instrumentation, electronics, and optics, and photonics.

Many of these disciplines overlap with other engineering branches, spanning a huge number of specializations including hardware engineering, power electronics, electromagnetics and waves, microwave engineering, nanotechnology, electrochemistry, renewable energies, mechatronics, and electrical materials science.

Similarities in Electrician vs Electrical engineer?

It is apparent that many Electrical Engineers and Electrical Technician graduates are employed as “engineers” of one sort or another. What is not so apparent are the differences (and similarities) in the EET and Electrical Engineering degree programs and the nature of the jobs obtained by program graduates.

Some reference to the history of the programs is required to fully appreciate the current programs.

During the 1950s and 1960s the ‘space race’ and similar efforts to be technologically first internationally, caused engineering programs to center on creating graduates who were targeted at making new discoveries for the benefit of humanity and the progress of technology.

As a result, engineering programmes became more conceptually (theoretically) oriented, showing a move toward engineering theory. They taught and learned primarily on a mathematical foundation. After all, if a graduate expects to learn something that does not exist, he or she cannot possibly deal with it as part of their schooling. The conceptual foundation as a learning approach is still in place today.

A significant number of engineering positions require conceptually based engineers. As the industry advances, more technicians with hands-on experience will develop electronic products and industrial control systems based on electronic systems. We also known this form of engineer as a “engineer practitioner” or “electronics technician.”

What is the Difference Between Electrician vs Electrical Engineer?


Electrical engineers’ primary responsibility is to design, measure, and supervise the manufacturing of various electrical equipment. They are up to date on electric motors, communication devices, power generation systems, and navigation controls. They will create a new method or change an existing one to find the best solution.

However, hire a licenced electrician if you need someone to instal, fix, or manage the electrical equipment in your home or workplace. They will use specialized equipment to manually repair electrical issues, inspect current electrical systems, read blueprints and specifications, and notify customers about the cost of repair work and the time taken.


Electrical engineers can only join the profession if they have a relevant bachelor’s degree. The curriculum takes approximately four years to complete.

In addition, in classrooms and laboratories, they center teaching on advanced math, electrical circuitry theory, computer device design, and engineering concepts

The internship program’s primary goal is to provide students with hands-on experience. Engineers who choose to serve the public must have a licenced engineering certificate, a bachelor’s degree, and relevant work experience.

With a high school diploma or an equivalent degree, one may work as an electrician. They will learn the trade through a four-year apprenticeship that involves 2000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of professional training.

There are also a few renowned institutes in Middlesbrough that have a wide variety of electrician and Health and Safety training courses at reasonable rates.

Whether you need a licence to work as an electrician entirely depends on where you live.


If you will work as an electrical engineer, stay prepared to test designs in laboratories, plan the complex projects in the office, and visit the production facilities to coordinate the manufacturing process.

They employ these professionals in companies dealing with a generation of electric power transmission and distribution and manufacturing of various semiconductors and electronic components.

They might have to work outdoors at construction sites or indoors in offices, industries and homes.

According to a survey conducted a few years ago, a majority of the electricians in Middlesbrough are self-employed.

Since you now know the difference between electrical engineers and electricians, it’s time you undergo a relevant training course and give your career a boost.

Responsibilities of Electrical Engineers vs. Electricians

Electrical engineers create products that operate on electricity.

It can involve them with everything from designing a new product to determining how to revise a design plan for an existing product.

Electricians install electrical systems and the wiring that connects them to a power source.

Electricians also repair existing electrical systems that are outdated or damaged.

Electrical Engineers

Electrical engineers create products that operate on electricity.

It can involve them with everything from designing a new product to determining how to revise a design plan for an existing product.

Electricians install electrical systems and the wiring that connects them to a power source.

Electricians also repair existing electrical systems that are outdated or damaged.

Electrical engineers produce electrical equipment.

It involves them with all stages of the production of this type of equipment and uses a combination of design and technical skills in their work.

The most common fields of study for electrical engineers are electrical or electronics engineering, and it requires them to have a bachelor’s degree.

Job responsibilities of an electrical engineer include:

  • Using computer design software to produce product design plans
  • Evaluating existing products
  • Identifying ways to improve the design or production of existing products
  • Assessing consumer complaints about products
  • Overseeing product manufacturing
  • Evaluate products to ensure they operate properly


Electricians ensure that the electrical systems in houses, buildings and outdoor areas are installed and work properly.

It’s possible to start out in this field with a high school diploma or GED and learn on the job through an apprenticeship program.

Once a combination of apprenticeship hours and classroom training is complete or an electrician graduates from technical school, they can earn their electrician’s license; the specific requirements for an electrician’s license may vary from state to state so it’s important to check local training requirements for this career.

Electricians often travel to work sites and it’s common for them to work evenings and weekends.

Job responsibilities of an electrician include:

  • Wiring houses and buildings
  • Connecting electrical systems to the power supply
  • Inspecting existing wiring and electrical systems
  • Locating electrical issues and conducting repairs
  • Following blueprints and building codes when installing systems
  • Operating power tools

What Does it Cost to Obtain an Electrical Engineering Degree?

As you may have guessed, the cost of obtaining an electrical engineering degree will vary widely. The yearly expenses associated with tuition, fees, books, supplies, room and board can range anywhere from $13,000 to more than $60,000 depending on where you go to school.

According to data from The College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for public schools for in-state students is $8,893 while for out-of-state students, it is $22,203. Not-for-profit private schools, on the other hand, charge around $30,094 for tuition and fees. Data from

The College Board also revealed that room and board costs for all students in a public four-year institution is $9,498 a year while for students attending a private institution, the cost is pegged at $10,823 a year.

What Does It Cost to Become a Certified Electrician?

Although electricians don’t necessarily have to attend a training program at a trade school, participating in one can help you be more competitive and ultimately secure a better apprenticeship.

Electrical training programs will help you meet on-site work demands with more preparation and knowledge. Classroom instruction should include an in-depth study of electrical theory, electrical systems, and electrical technology. Training programs generally take anywhere from a few months to two years to complete.

So how much does an electrician school cost? It depends on where you enroll. Electrician training cost varies by the length and location of the program. However, in general, you should expect to spend anywhere between $1,000 and $11,000 to attend a training program.

This sum may sound like a lot of money, but it’s important to remember that schools may have grants, loans, and scholarships available to alleviate your electrician training costs.


Online electrician programs tend to be economical than campus-based training. Attending a trade school or community college will have other additional costs such as travel and perhaps accommodation.

Associate’s degree programs in electrical technology will cost more than a diploma program, that focuses on core training for electricians, such as learning the National Electrical Code, basic electrical systems, and electrical theory.

Both types of programs will set you on course to becoming a licensed electrician. An associate’s degree program may open more doors later, as will a four-year bachelor’s degree.

What are the Best Schools for Electrical Engineers?

These are the best universities and colleges for future electrical engineers:

1. Electrical and Electronic Engineering: U.S. News Rankings 2022

  • Tsinghua University, China
  • Harbin Institute of Technology, China
  • Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Southeast University, China
  • National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • University of Technology Sydney, Australia
  • Zhejiang University, China
  • University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, China
  • Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China

Read the full list on the official U.S. News webpage.

Read: Berkeley Vs Stanford University: Which College is the best in 2022

2. Electrical and Electronic Engineering: QS Rankings 2022

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA
  • Stanford University, USA
  • University of California, Berkeley (UCB), USA
  • Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore
  • National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore
  • University of Cambridge, UK
  • ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • University of Oxford, UK
  • Imperial College London, UK
  • EPFL, Switzerland

Check out the full ranking on TopUniversities.com.

3. Electrical and Electronic Engineering: World University Rankings 2022

  • Harvard University, USA
  • University of Oxford, UK
  • Stanford University, USA
  • MIT, USA
  • The University of California, Berkeley (UCB), USA
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech), USA
  • Princeton University, USA
  • ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • Peking University, China
  • University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA

Read: MIT Vs Stanford University 2022: The Best Comparisons | Differences & Similarities

Which is Profession is Best for me Between Becoming an Electrician or an Electrical Engineer?

Ben Coman, an Electrical Power Engineer gave us this Classic engineering response… it depends!

He went further to say “I remember a story from one of the most valued lead electricians where I worked. He was what you’d call an “industrial electrician” – installing electrical systems for factories and mine sites where the major concern is the 20 year safety, reliability and maintainability (i.e. neatness) of the install.

Great pains to separately route cables per voltage level, tie-down individual wires, bootlace crimp and ferrule identification on each individual control wire, perform point-to-point verification testing to sign-off as-built drawings, etc… Relatively slow methodical work, no mistakes.

He told me, he once took a sabbatical to work with some mates you’d call “commercial electricians” – installing electrical systems in offices & shops. He said “I couldn’t keep up. These guys were twisting three wires together at a time with their teeth to jam into the one circuit breaker, with the subsequent spaghetti mess of wires jammed behind an escutcheon.”

These guys were top of their trade-in that field where the major driver was more cost-competitive than quality.”

So even within domain of electricians, “it depends” on what your judging factors are.

So in general, here are the things Electricians are better at…

  • Safety practices and following electrical safety regulations.
  • Implement the engineering design without deviation, but 1. takes precedence.
  • Telling engineers about impractical designs, design ambiguities, and conflicts between 1. & 2.
  • Methodically and efficiently complete tasks in their competency and move on to the next task.
  • Don’t die (and don’t let naïve young engineers die.), practice safety.

Here are things Electrical Engineers are better at…

  • Determine which rules apply.
  • Make design changes as required.
  • Investigate domains of knowledge they are not yet competent on.
  • Think deeply about the problems that electricians weren’t allocated enough time to do.

Each are better are these different things not because of innate talent, but because these were the behaviours expected of their different roles the last 20 years of their work life.


Electrical engineers and electricians are not required to get a post-secondary degree. In practise, electricians must have a high school diploma or a college degree. Apprenticeships provide for self-education and skill growth. A four-year apprenticeship is typical. Electrical engineers, on the other hand, must have a bachelor’s degree.

We hope you enjoyed reading this masterpiece on Electrician vs Electrical Engineering.



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