Similarities and Differences EE/EET

Electrical Engineering and Engineering Technology – Similarities and Differences

It is apparent that many ELE and EET graduates are employed as “engineers” of one sort or another. What is not so apparent are the differences (and similarities) in the EET and Electrical Engineering degree programs and the nature of the jobs obtained by program graduates. Some reference to the history of the programs is required to fully appreciate the current programs.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s the ‘space race’ and similar efforts to be technologically first internationally, caused engineering programs to center on creating graduates who were targeted at making new discoveries for the benefit of mankind and the progress of technology. As a consequence, the engineering programs became more and more conceptually (theoretically) based, or a shift toward engineering science. That is, they relied primarily on a mathematical basis to teach and to learn. After all, if the graduate is expecting to discover that which does not exist, he or she cannot very well work with it as a part of their education. The conceptual basis as the learning methodology continues today.

A large portion of the available engineering positions need conceptually based engineers. As industry continues to progress, more and more technicians are needed with hands-on abilities to create electronic products and industrial control systems based on electronic systems. This type of engineer is often referred to as an “engineer practitioner” or “electronics technician”.

An Electrical Engineering degree is the more traditional path to a professional engineering career and is the form of degree most typically offered within engineering colleges across the nation and most recognizable by other engineering professionals across the globe. EE programs typically require more math, science and core engineering theory than is required in the EET program. In the event that you may want to pursue graduate studies or research in the future, the EE program will give you the greatest versatility in choosing among opportunities.

Electrical Engineering Technology focuses primarily on the applied aspects of engineering aimed at preparing graduates for practice in industry. For those who may have struggled a bit with math and science courses in high school but are still interested in a career in applied Electrical Engineering, an EET degree is an alternative. Other students are simply more interested in applied production and construction than in design, development, prototyping and analysis.

Thanks to Purdue University and the UMaine College of Engineering for some of the language paraphrased here.