Electricians vs. Electrical Engineers: Key Differences and Career Paths

Electricians vs. Electrical Engineers Key Differences

Electricians and Electrical Engineers may seem to have similar roles in the electrical industry, but they have distinct responsibilities, skill sets, and career paths. Both professions are crucial to the development and maintenance of electrical systems, yet they approach their work from different angles. Understanding these differences can help you make an informed decision about which career path to pursue. Let’s delve into the specifics of each profession, including job duties, required skills, educational pathways, and potential earnings.

What is an Electrician?

An electrician is trained to install, repair, and maintain electrical systems in residential and commercial buildings. They play a crucial role in most construction and engineering projects, ensuring the safety and functionality of electrical systems.

What is an Electrical Engineer?

An electrical engineer designs, develops, and maintains electrical systems for buildings, transportation networks, and power distribution. They work across various industries, including construction, manufacturing, and transportation.

Key Differences Between Electricians and Electrical Engineers

Although there is some overlap between these roles, the primary distinction lies in their focus: electricians install electrical systems, while electrical engineers design them.

Job Duties


  • Ensures electrical systems in buildings are safe and functional.
  • Repairs faults, tests, and inspects wiring and equipment.
  • Lays cables and connects sockets, switches, light fittings, and appliances.

Electrical Engineer:

  • Develops and designs electrical systems.
  • Manages power generation, transmission, and distribution.
  • Ensures the smooth operation of lighting, heating, and ventilation services.

Skills Required


  • Proficiency with hands-on tasks.
  • Excellent problem-solving abilities.
  • Basic mathematics knowledge.
  • Strong attention to detail.

Electrical Engineers:

  • Strong design skills.
  • Knowledge of engineering science and technology.
  • Proficiency in computer operating systems.
  • Ability to apply mathematical concepts to design and development tasks.

Education and Qualifications


  • Complete the City and Guilds Diploma in Electrical Installations via college courses or apprenticeships.
  • Pass the AM2 assessment after obtaining a Level 3 Diploma.
  • Obtain an ECS card to work on construction sites.

Electrical Engineers:

  • Obtain a degree in electrical or electronic engineering.
  • Pursue a Level 4 or 5 National Diploma.
  • Alternatively, complete an engineering apprenticeship.

Salary Expectations

Electrical Engineers:

  • Entry-level engineers earn between SAR 7,000 and SAR 12,000 per month.
  • Senior engineers can earn up to SAR 25,000 per month or more, depending on experience and qualifications.


  • Apprentice electricians typically start from SAR 3,000 to SAR 5,000 per month.
  • Experienced electricians can earn between SAR 7,000 and SAR 15,000 per month.

Considerations When Choosing Between Being an Electrician or an Electrical Engineer

Preferred Work Environment:

  • Electricians: Spend most of their time on-site or in homes performing repairs or installations.
  • Electrical Engineers: Typically work in offices but also visit sites for inspections or supervisory roles.

Interaction with People:
  • Electricians: Need strong people skills to work alongside other tradespeople and interact with clients.
  • Electrical Engineers: Have less direct public interaction but regularly liaise with clients, oversee technicians, and conduct technical training.

Passion for Innovation:

  • Electricians: Focus on implementing and maintaining existing systems.
  • Electrical Engineers: Drive the development of new electrical systems and products, contributing to technological advancements like smartphones and electric vehicles.


Both electricians and electrical engineers play vital roles in the electrical industry, each offering unique challenges and rewards. Choosing the right path depends on your skills, interests, and career aspirations. Electricians enjoy hands-on work and direct client interactions, while electrical engineers thrive on innovation and system design. Understanding these differences can help you make an informed decision about your future in the electrical industry.

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