There are two degrees related to electricity – electrical engineering and electrical technology.
As a result, most newcomers get confused and don’t understand the difference.
For sure, these degrees have a bunch of differences so we’ve decided to discuss them in this article.
Choosing between these options, you need to understand well what sort of job you want to perform and what training you need to be able to enroll in this career.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Electrical Technology Degree
- 2 Electrical Engineering Degree
- 3 Electrical Engineering Technology: What Is It?
- 4 Electrical Engineering vs Electrical Technology Programs: Differences and Similarities
- 5 Electrical Engineering vs Electrical Technology: Real-World Differences and Similarities
- 6 Electrical Technology and Electrical Engineering Licensing
Electrical Technology Degree
When it comes to electrical technology degrees, most training programs aim to provide students with excellent knowledge of wiring and electrical systems as well as their maintenance and repair.
By applying for one of these programs, students can become real professionals of the sphere and perform their duties in various facilities.
- prepare students that have manual skills such as electrical systems installation, repair, maintenance, and upgrade required for front-line jobs in various facilities;
- can be a partial substitution for experience requirements for journeyman electrician licensing in various jurisdictions.
These programs are a great option for those who want to become an electrician.
Electrical Engineering Degree
Applying for an electrical engineering program, you’ll be able to learn how to design and develop various electrical systems.
Usually, these programs aim to:
- Prepare students for employment in engineering jobs that include development, testing, and supervising the manufacture or installation of electrical systems;
- substitute a certain part of the on-the-job experience for those who want to become a master electrician in some jurisdictions
Electronics engineering is one of the subfields of electrical engineering.
Specialists who work in this sphere usually deal with various low-voltage electronics systems that include semiconductor devices, integrated circuits, transistors, and diodes.
Also, it is closely related to computer engineering.
Speaking of electrical engineering, it is related to high-voltage system engineering and deals with power generation and distribution systems.
There are some electrical engineering programs that include electrical engineering classes while others offer it as a sphere of focus.
Electrical Engineering Technology: What Is It?
Electrical engineering technology is one other option that can make things even more confusing.
It is a domain of applied electrical engineering that is related to hands-on manufacturing, repair, and maintenance of various electrical systems.
Specialists who work in this sphere are obliged to deal with a whole variety of devices and mechanisms such as industrial electronic motors and consumer electrical products.
While having lots of common traits with electrical technology vocational training, EET programs are mainly focused on preparing engineering technologists.
These specialists work in such a sphere as computer product design, electronic components design, as well as their testing, and quality control.
At the same time, electrical technology programs aim to prepare graduates who can work in different construction trades.
Working in this sphere, specialists deal with electrical wiring in different settings.
They need to have excellent knowledge of the National Electrical Code, OSHA safety standards, wire installation, and maintenance.
Usually, these aspects aren’t learned by those who apply for electrical engineering technology programs.
Electrical Engineering vs Electrical Technology Programs: Differences and Similarities
There is a great difference between manual and tech skills required for wiring buildings and the theory and design of various electrical systems.
Electrical Technology Programs
Applying for an electrical technology program, you have an opportunity to get some hands-on experience and skills.
These programs aim to provide students with knowledge of electrical principles that are used for real-world problem resolution.
They provide students with an excellent understanding of various types of electrical systems including heat, light, and power.
All these programs contain some theory classes but are mainly focused on developing practical skills.
The list of covered topics includes:
- Wiring, Raceways, and Conduit for Residential/Commercial/Industrial Construction Wiring Projects;
- OSHA Safety Standards;
- National Electrical Code (NEC);
- Power Generation;
- Industrial Controls;
- Motor Controls.
Electrical Engineering Programs
Electrical engineering degree programs are mainly focused on math and science aspects.
After completing one of these programs, students have an excellent understanding and ability to perform various calculations.
Also, they need to have great knowledge of the underlying physics that regulates electrical interactions.
Moreover, students learn mathematical modeling issues so they can design and simulate new electrical devices and systems.
Electrical engineering degree programs usually include such disciplines as:
- Electrical circuit design;
- Technical writing;
- Microprocessor design;
- Linear devices;
- Interfaces and instrumentation.
EET (Electrical Engineering Technology) is a degree that provides knowledge of digital and electric circuity, software design and development, computer configuration, and even programming.
Electrical Engineering vs Electrical Technology: Real-World Differences and Similarities
Both of these programs provide an excellent understanding of safety issues related to electricity and electrical equipment.
In fact, they aim to develop both personal protection skills and the best installation practice skills.
It is clear that electrical systems design is no less important than their proper installation especially when it comes to fire and electrical accident prevention.
Among other common subjects, there are blueprint reading and production, as well as Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and drafting programs.
All these subjects are very important for both electricians and engineers.
After completing an electrical technology program, electricians are specialists who put plans into practice.
They use blueprints to put together various projects related to electrical systems and equipment.
These specialists usually work on sites and need to travel a lot.
They spend most part of their working hours outdoors and need to know how to use some specialized tools required for wiring maintenance.
Electricians should be able to read and interpret blueprints of electrical wiring systems.
Electrical Engineers’ Responsibilities
Speaking of electrical engineering graduates, they usually perform some desk jobs.
They are responsible for the design, testing, and supervision of electrical systems construction and installation.
Considering the fact that electrical systems are widely used in the modern world, these specialists are in great demand.
For the most part of their work hours, engineers spend in offices making drafts and paperwork.
To be able to perform your duties well, you need to have excellent communication skills as they should be able to explain blueprints properly.
Electrical Technology and Electrical Engineering Licensing
After completing the electrical technology program, most students get a job in the electrical trade.
Their degree can help them meet some requirements for journeyman licensing.
Of course, such degree programs cannot provide you with the same amount of knowledge and skills as apprenticeship programs.
Also, you’ll be obliged to get a bunch of experience after completing your training if you want to get a journeyman’s license.
To be able to get a journeyman license, you need to have 4-year experience as a trainee under the supervision of a qualified specialist.
Also, you need to complete 2000 hours of training but it can be substituted by a two-year Associate of Applied Science in Electrical Technology.
Speaking of an electrical engineering degree, it can hardly be considered as a common way to enroll in the electrical trade.
After completing this program, students are able to count their education toward practical experience.
However, most of them give preference to the state’s engineering license exam.
Also, it is an opportunity to get a master electrician license right after completing your training.
Just make sure that it is allowed in your area.
For example, in New York, an electrical engineering degree gives an opportunity to get a master electrician license just in 2,5 years instead of 7,5.
At the same time, in Utah, a B.S. in electrical engineering can be a substitution for most of the training and requires only an additional year of experience as a journeyman to get a master electrician license.
There are people who obtain an associate’s degree in electrical technology to get their journeyman license and then pursue a bachelor’s in electrical engineering in order to get their master electrician license.
In fact, both of these options are great for those who want to work as electricians.
However, you need to know that an engineering degree is more time-consuming and expensive.