Electrical Engineering Vs. Mechanical Engineering: Salary, Similarities, Difference & Job Outlook

Engineering as a course requires a lot of creativity. Choosing an engineering field to specialize in can be difficult, especially if you love designing objects and fixing broken wires. However, this article carefully differentiate mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. You should be able to choose one after reading this piece.

Both mechanical engineering and electrical share a lot in common. Even though they both take separate academic paths to become one, they still share a lot of creativity, skills, and even courses in common.

You are probably wondering why they are not offered as one program. Well, as much as mechanical engineers and electrical engineers have one or two educational needs in common, many differences still exist among them.

Particularly, this article will analyze the similarities that exist in both professions and the differences. A glance at the table of contents below will show how much information embedded in this article reveals that both professions are unique in their respective ways.

What Is Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical Engineering

There are several definitions of mechanical engineering. This article will give a variety of definitions to aid you in visualizing what a mechanical engineering program is.

First, mechanical engineering refers to one of the broadest engineering disciplines. It refers to a particular specialization in engineering that involves a lifetime cycle of work and rewards. Mechanical engineering is the branch of engineering that applies the principles of engineering to the design and construction of machines and their parts.

Individuals who complete a four-year degree program in mechanical engineering are mechanical engineers. These students graduate to become mechanical engineers who can deal with anything from components to machines to the human body.

What Do Mechanical Engineers Do?

Mechanical Engineers, interestingly, are involved in providing daily products. They are found in different companies and enterprises, contributing their quota to the growth of society.

Primarily, mechanical Engineers harness their skills to produce new and improved machines and tools. They can work in an office as consultants of facility managers to ensure machines’ repairs when they break down.

However, most mechanical engineers do a lot of traveling and work closely with architects to contribute their skills to manufacturing and research careers.

Job Description of a Mechanical Engineer

Generally, the basic responsibility of mechanical engineers in any company is usually to properly research, design, develop, build and test the different mechanical aspects of devices and sensors. Other roles may include the following:

  • Analyzing several problems to check thermal and mechanical devices.
  • Finding out the best way to solve these problems to fix the devices.
  • Aiding in creating designs that help the mechanical and thermal systems and subsystems.
  • Using an analytical approach with CAD to create designs.
  • Creating, developing, and testing different prototypes of devices.
  • Investing in the diagnosis of equipment failure and solving them with the help of tools and techniques
  • Analyzing the test results and making changes in design or any system.
  • Supervising the entire process of manufacturing any product.

What is Electrical Engineering?

What is Electrical Engineering

Similar to mechanical engineering, different definitions and explanations exist. However, this article will present a detailed job description for electrical engineers to clarify what electrical engineering entails.

Primarily, the electrical engineering field specializing in the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems that use electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism.

This branch of engineering deals with heavy current, electric light, and power systems alongside apparatuses. Also, this branch of engineering covers a wide range of sub-disciplines like computer engineering, power engineering, telecommunications, radio-frequency engineering, and so many others.

Graduates from an electrical engineering program are known as electrical engineers, and they mainly focus on large-scale production and distribution of electrical power.

What Do Electrical Engineers Do?

Electrical engineers who have completed at least four years of formal learning can work in a wide range of industries, and what they do may vary.

Electrical engineers may need a simple voltmeter to perform a simple task or a top-end analyzer to sophisticated design and manufacturing software.

Electrical engineers are responsible for designing and developing alongside testing of different processes that work in the manufacturing of any particular electrical equipment. Below is a detailed job description of an electrical engineer.

Job Description of an Electrical Engineer

The role or responsibility of electrical engineers revolves around designing several electrical systems that work in automobiles and aircraft systems as well.

Mainly, they concentrate on developing and installing the electrical equipment provided in the communication and broadcast systems such as portable music players, GPA systems, and other options.

Other job roles of an electrical engineer may include:

  • Aiding in the development and improvement of several electrical products with the help of new leases that they create
  • Performing detailed calculations to develop, manufacture, install and construct different specifications and standards, all according to the different requirements
  • Supervising the installation, testing, and manufacturing of the different electrical equipment so that the products that are designed are all meeting the specifications and standards that the clients mention
  • Analyzing all the complaints and queries of the customers for making the diagnosis of the problems vanish and providing solutions that help in troubleshooting these problems
  • Collaborating with different project managers in the efforts of production so that the products that are created are being completely run and tested before being provided to the clients and customers

What Is The Difference Between Mechanical and Electrical Engineering?

Electrical Engineering Vs. Mechanical Engineering

Like earlier stated, mechanical engineers have different job roles from electrical engineers. While both are branches of engineering, we will fine out the differences between these two engineering programs by comparing the job outlook, salary of each profession, best schools for each, and highest employers of each profession.

Electrical Engineering vs. Mechanical Engineering: Program Curriculum

Both Electrical and Mechanical engineering programs are usually offered by the college of engineering of most schools. Like branches of a broad discipline like engineering, students may share two or more courses during this program.

However, the electrical engineering program curriculum covers broad practical and theoretical knowledge. The program curriculum is usually designed as a ‘feeder’ degree for students who cannot figure out the specifics of their careers.

Students will take courses covering physical science, engineering, mathematics, and oral and written communications. Students who graduate from an electrical engineering program have the right knowledge and skill to pursue a career in any sector of design and research, sales, management, teaching, and others.

Generation, transmission, and distribution of power, communications, manufacture, and design of semiconductor devices are some of the most defining career paths for students in the electrical engineering program.

On the other hand, the mechanical engineering curriculum is designed to teach students to design, manufacture, analyze, and test different mechanical systems and components working together.

However, mechanical engineering is diverse and all-encompassing. This is mainly because of its essentiality for all different modern-day industries.

Hence, the curriculum is designed to allow students to choose major areas of concentration from energy conversion, design engineering, materials engineering, and manufacturing engineering.

Conceptual product design, engineering sciences, and manufacturing capabilities to create effective, affordable, and quality products for the people are some of the diverse courses students in mechanical engineering will take.

Mechanical Engineers vs. Electrical Engineers: Job Outlook

Generally, job descriptions of these two professionals show that the services of the two are practically needed in any company.

According to BLS.GOV, mechanical engineers have a projected job growth rate of 5%, while electrical engineers will grow by 2 percent between 2018-2028. This may seem low but is an indication that the services of these professions are needed.

So, if you attend a good school and know your onions, you will be among the 2 percent who will get a job upon graduation.

What You Can Do with a Mechanical Engineering Degree

With a mechanical engineering degree, students upon graduation can work as the following in any industry:

  •  Auto Research Engineers
  • Heating and cooling systems engineer
  • Robotics engineers

What You Can Do with an Electrical Engineering Degree

An electrical engineering degree from an accredited institution will allow students who graduate successfully to work as:

  • Energy System Engineers
  • Signal Processing Engineers
  • Telecommunications Engineers

Mechanical Engineering vs. Electrical Engineering Salary

According to a report by Forbes, research carried out on 10 States where Electrical Engineers earn the Most Money shows that an electrical engineer’s national average annual wage is $101,600.

BLS postilate that electrical engineers’ annual salary is about $99, 580 while career explorer data analysis suggests an average yearly salary of $96,640.

On the other hand, the highest ever received salary is $92,800 as an annual take-home salary.

Evidently, while mechanical engineering offers more job opportunities, electrical engineering pays higher.

What are the Best Schools for Mechanical Engineering vs. Electrical Engineering?

Another difference between mechanical engineering and electrical engineering is the best schools for each program.

There are millions of schools out there offering these engineering programs. But, attending the best school for each have a way of increasing your job search and employment rates.

Mechanical Engineering vs. Electrical Engineering: Which is Harder?

Factors like determination, career choice, and interest will determine which is harder for you. A recent study from Ivy League schools postilate that engineering is generally one of the hardest courses to study.

For Electrical, you would need excellent math skills to succeed. Hence, it is considered one of the hardest majors in the engineering field.

Similarities between Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering

As stated earlier, mechanical and electrical engineering share some similarities. Mechanical and electrical engineering share similarities in the following:

Both professions demand students to complete some form of training in an accredited university. Depending on your locality, both degree programs must be accredited regionally alongside Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

To become a mechanical engineer or an electrical engineer, students must spend at least four years in an accredited university’s college of engineering faculty.

In addition, irrespective of which engineering program you settle for, you will take courses in, Engineering in the Global Environment, Introduction to Systems Engineering, Principles of Engineering Management, and Technology Innovation and Strategy for Engineers.

Graduating from an accredited college of engineering as a mechanical engineer or electrical engineer is the first step to having many amazing job opportunities to apply to. Both engineering fields are essential in all sectors of the economy. This means students may always find a job upon graduation.

Mechanical vs. Electrical Engineering FAQs

Is Electrical Engineering harder than mechanical engineering?

Generally, engineering is one of the hardest undergraduate programs to enroll on. However, between mechanical and electrical engineering, electrical is harder because students would have to deal with lots of subjects and complexion.

Should I do mechanical or electrical engineering?

Mechanical and electrical engineering have a lot in common. However, which you should do must be determined by you. It would be best to consider each profession’s career prospects, job outlook, and take-home pay in your area. This will help you to make a better choice of which you should do.

Can an electrical engineer work as a mechanical engineer?

Both are sub-disciplines of the engineering faculty. So, an electrical engineer who has leaned hard into technical drawing and basic mechanical stuff may work in a position initially advertised for mechanical engineers.

Do Electrical Engineers make more than Mechanical?

Electrical engineers earn higher than mechanical engineers. This is, however, based on the collation of data collected and analyzed. Other factors like years of experience can influence annual wages for both mechanical and electrical engineers.

Which is better mechanical engineering or electrical engineering?

Mechanical engineering and electrical engineering are both good programs and professions. However, Electrical engineering is the bridge between computer science and mechanical engineering. So, looking for better pay, then Electrical Engineering is the best option.


Engineering as a degree program and profession is hard but very lucrative. It is home to many sub-disciplines. Choosing which field to settle in may become a hard discussion.

Hence, this article on electrical engineering vs mechanical engineering detailed the differences and similarities between the two professions. It would be best to read this article to choose which of these professions best suits you.

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