Understanding The Difference Between An Electrician And An Electrical Engineer

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Electricians and electrical engineers both work in the same field, and concern themselves with the flow of electricity in a building for human consumption. However, there are a number of key differences between the two professions, and understanding these differences is essential for choosing a career path or for hiring a professional to work on your home.


Electricians work on job sites, and install and repair electrical systems as needed. They earn their license by apprenticing themselves to an already licensed electrician, and combine classroom work with on the job training, which usually lasts four years. They need to have their high school diploma, but some colleges offer job training to potential electricians.

They do not have to complete a formal university education. Because of the fact that they do not complete as much educational training as electrical engineers do, electricians tend to earn less than electrical engineers do. Their day to day job can be physically tiring, as they are constantly moving, standing, and working with their hands.

Electricians will commonly work with construction companies, and provide advice and install electrical wiring as the project is completed. Electricians work off of blueprints and use tools that are designed by electrical engineers for the job. 

Electrical Engineers

Electrical engineers, on the other hand, rarely work on job sites and do not concern themselves with the installation or maintenance of electrical systems. Instead, they focus their efforts on designing, building, and testing various pieces of electrical wiring and equipment, which vary greatly in terms of function, from communication devices to simple motors.

Electrical engineers need a minimum of an undergraduate degree to work in the field. The equipment that electrical engineers design and the blueprints that they provide are used by electricians to install the electrical systems on job sites.

Electrical engineers commonly work in offices, at power plants, or at engineering firms, and tend to earn significantly more than electricians do. Additionally, their job is not as physically demanding as an electrician's job is, as they do not work directly with their hands.

Understanding the Difference

The difference between electricians and electrical engineers may be slight, but it is extremely important to understand. Electricians are most commonly encountered by the public for the work in homes or on construction sites, and provide a practical service on the ground level to a project, whereas electrical engineers theorize and develop new products and techniques for electricians to use on the job site to boost overall safety and efficiency.

To learn more, contact a company like S & S Electrical Services Inc. with any questions or concerns you have.