Chemical Engineer Vs. Electrical Engineer

Chemical engineers and electrical engineers both have specialized oversight of various aspects in the manufacturing process. This article explains the similarities and differences between these two fields of engineering.

Comparing Chemical Engineers to Electrical Engineers

Chemical and electrical engineering are two of the most common engineering fields. Chemical engineers primarily work to efficiently produce chemicals and other products. Electrical engineers deal with the production of electrical equipment. Find out more about their education, salary and job outlook below.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Chemical Engineer Bachelor's degree $98,340 8%
Electrical Engineer Bachelor's degree $94,210 9%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Chemical Engineers vs. Electrical Engineers

Chemical engineers and electrical engineers both concern themselves with efficient production, as do most engineers. In addition to chemicals, chemical engineers may also test other products, such as food or pharmaceuticals. Electrical engineers often develop and test motors, communication systems, portable music equipment, and vehicle electrical systems. Many electrical engineers are also involved in working with computer hardware.

Chemical Engineer

As the job title of a chemical engineer suggests, they are in the business of chemistry and are often in charge of the manufacturing process of chemicals. Some of these engineers specialize in specific processes or fields. They can be employed by a wide range of companies, including those in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage, clothing, paper, and energy industries. Most chemical engineers hold a bachelor's degree in a related field, although some research positions may require graduate degrees.

Job responsibilities of a chemical engineer include:

  • Planning manufacturing equipment layout
  • Creating the best practices to handle chemicals
  • Monitoring and analyzing the means of production of chemicals or related products
  • Developing equipment to process chemicals

Electrical Engineers

You may have guessed that electrical engineers work with electricity. They design and implement manufacturing processes of manufacturing equipment itself and machines that produce energy. These engineers are employed by companies in many fields, including aviation, computers, and transportation. The energy sector also employs many electrical engineers. They must possess at least a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering or a related engineering field. Some research and development positions call for a graduate degree.

Job responsibilities of an electrical engineer include:

  • Designing new ways to use electricity efficiently
  • Ensuring that manufacturing equipment meets the required and/or desired specifications
  • Using advanced mathematical techniques to make calculations
  • Looking into customer complaints and finding solutions

Related Careers

If you are interested in the job of a chemical engineer, you might want to find out about becoming a chemist, since both work in the field of chemistry. Those who are interested in becoming an electrical engineer might also want to explore becoming a computer engineer, who sometimes works alongside electrical engineers in the manufacture of computer hardware.

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