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Difference Between Electrical Engineer & Technician

Electrical engineers and technicians work in the same field, even working together on the same team. While their work is similar, their specific tasks are different. Find out more about these similarities and differences.

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Comparing Electrical Engineers to Technicians

Electrical engineers and technicians usually work together to create electrical equipment for different industries. However, because technicians work for engineers, their job duties are different. Read on for more information about how these electrically focused careers share elements yet differ in scope.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Electrical Engineer Bachelor's degree $94,210 1%
Technician Associate's degree $62,190 (for all electrical and electronics engineering technicians) -2% (for all electrical and electronics engineering technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Electrical Engineers vs. Technicians

Electrical engineers and technicians both work with electrical apparatuses to create or improve them. Electrical engineers, however, are usually in charge of what technicians do. Their work involves a lot of calculations and sometimes carries them outside their offices to get a closer look at equipment. Technicians in this field, on the other hand, assist the engineers, which often means building their designs. Technicians may work in laboratories or factories and usually work during normal business hours.

Electrical Engineer

Electrical engineers work on electrical equipment for many different areas of industry, including medicine, navigation, and communication. Their job is to follow a logical sequence of events to produce different products: they design, put together, test, and then oversee the manufacture of equipment. Their calculations are used to create specifications and standards for the equipment they have developed. Electrical engineers usually work inside their offices in specific industries.

Job responsibilities of an Electrical Engineer include:

  • Working closely with project managers
  • Looking into problems reported by consumers
  • Recommending solutions to problems with electrical equipment
  • Making sure that projects fulfill all codes and specifications
  • Using software to assist in completing projects

Technician

Technicians in the electrical field help engineers complete their projects, usually in an evaluation or testing capacity. They are the ones who implement project designs, putting together prototypes for testing. They also adjust electrical equipment for optimal performance. They may also be involved in the repair of electrical equipment. They usually work on teams with other professionals. They may also work on assembly lines to build the equipment that engineers develop.

Job responsibilities of a Technician include:

  • Calibrating equipment
  • Traveling to project sites to observe problems with equipment design
  • Coming up with solutions to issues during assembly
  • Ensuring quality control
  • Reporting findings from inspections and observations

Related Careers

People who like the idea of becoming electrical engineers should also think about becoming radio frequency (RF) engineers, since both involve working with equipment that use electricity. Similarly, those who are interested in what technicians do should consider what cable TV installation and repair technicians do, since both require working with their hands.

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