What difference in education occurs between two graduates, one with an Engineering Technology degree (be it Civil, Mechanical, Electrical...) and the other with the equivalent Engineering degree "proper?"

Assuming both degrees are 4 year degrees and both are able to become PEs, how do potential employers feel about the different degrees? Is there a difference in pay?

What options does the graduate with an ET degree have to advance his/her education? For example, can one earn a masters with an ET degree?

I'm looking for advantages/disadvantages of either degree in terms of employability and career progress, from the point of view of an engineer who has hired people with these backgrounds.


One is training to be an engineer and one is training to be a technician.

The best way to see the differences are to look at the course curriculum for each:

both are able to become PEs

This depends on your local rules for becoming a PE. Also note that being a PE isn't required for a lot of ME & EE engineering jobs in the USA because they fall under industrial exemption. Canada and other countries where Engineer is a protected title have different rules.

I was hoping to get answers from the point of view from an engineer who has hired people with these backgrounds.

I haven't directly hired both but I've interviewed both and personally the question comes down to what is needed. To me it's like asking if you should go to a Dentist (DDS) or a Medical Doctor (MD), they both share the word "doctor" but they are different jobs with different training.

If I need a technician I wouldn't hire an engineer. If I needed an engineer I wouldn't hire a technician.

Like all jobs and majors the longer you are out the less it matters as knowledge learned on the job overshadows schooling. So 5-10 years down the road both could have the potential to end up in the same spot.

Anecdotally engineers make more than technicians but it still comes down to company and location.

Edit: I want to point out that I'm using technician/technologist interchangeably here. I've heard it both ways but I know some areas may be separate jobs. The wiki on technologist is pretty good.

And don't pick your answer based on which one makes more. It's irrelevant since I know a lot of people that have tried to force their way through one way or the other and ended up hating their education/jobs because of it. I would explore both and see which one you like better.

  • $\begingroup$ Course titles are misleading. When I was working on my BSME, I helped my friend who was working on a BSMET. His course titles were similar to mine but the technology programs were MAJORLY watered down. When I see somebody with a technology degree, I know they did not get anything like what the engineering curriculum requires. Five or ten years down the road, things level out a bit but the degree will always read the same. Anybody that went through the rigor of an engineering program will see that and know, possibly in the back of their mind, that this person is not a "real" engineer. $\endgroup$ Jun 15 '18 at 4:13

IMHO Engineering Technology degrees focus on Application engineering whereas engineering degrees are very scientific based. A review of the web links from @JedF support this fact

A quick compare of the above two curriculum's indicate the inclusion of course like Product and Program Management in EET curriculum and an absence of such courses in its counterpart. Based on my interaction with peers following EET programs it was quite evident the EET curriculum focuses more on laboratory base hands on study approach whereas the contemporary EE programs were more scientific base curriculums.

These support the claim that EET programs are aligned with application engineering where as the contemporary EE programs are aligned with industries requiring deep technical analysis. Both programs add value to the engineering discipline.

From an employability stand point for the most part EET degree candidates excel in hand on base work environment where as contemporary EE degree candidates excel in research oriented work environments. Good example would be that EET degree based would perform a required resistance calculation to an accuracy of 2 decimal places and use a 10% tolerance resistor where as a EE degree based engineer would do a same calculation to 10 decimal places and use a 1% tolerance resistor. Both get the job done but slightly different approaches.

From an education standpoint there are many Masters in Electrical Engineering Technology programs. One such is the Masters in Electrical Engineering Technology Program at Purdue University.

Unfortunately, contemporary EE degree candidates attain a slightly higher starting salary but there are many EET degree engineers who have obtain MBA’s and have gone on to hold executive leadership positions in reputable organizations.

At the end of the day what matters most is not the letter after your name, but what you do with those skills. There are many with and without letter after the name that has made a significant impact to the engineering discipline as well as society. Some of them are

I don’t own any apple products, but when I learnt the passing away of Steve Jobs it gave me goosebumps. People left flowers in front of Apple stores. To me that was a confirmation of the impact Steve Jobs had made in the society.

Besides obtaining an engineering degree it is also important to

  • Develop soft skills
  • Develop Leadership skills
  • Develop Communication skills
  • Have the ability to work in a team
  • Be respectful and considerate toward others

The above skills will have a significant impact on your career after you obtain your educational credentials.

If you can spare 75 minutes, I suggest watching this youtube video Last Lecture by Professor Randy Pausch.


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