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Electrical Engineer vs. Civil Engineer: Which Has the Best Job Prospects?

written by: N Nayab•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 11/4/2010

Civil and electrical engineering are two of the oldest and most popular branches of engineering sciences. Read on to find out electrical engineer versus civil engineer job prospects.

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    Electrical Engineering versus Civil Engineering Job rospects Civil engineering ranks among the oldest of all engineering professions and entails design and supervision of roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, water supply and sewage system construction, repair, and improvements.

    Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment such as electric motors, machinery controls, lighting, wiring, power generation, and the like in buildings, utilities and other places. Electrical engineers also design the electrical systems of automobiles and aircraft.

    Both electrical and civil engineering job require an engineering degree with the relevant specialization.

    Image Credit: geograph.ie/NIgel Cox

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    Wages

    When comparing electrical engineer versus civil engineer job prospects, electrical engineers enjoy a slightly higher wages, but civil engineers have more opportunities.

    According to the information released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11, the number of electrical engineers working in the United States stand at 151,660, as of May 2009. They earn a median hourly wage of $41.47 and an average annual salary of $86,250.The bottom 10 percent of electrical engineers earned an average of $53,510 annually and $25.73 hourly, whereas the top 10 percent of electrical engineers earned an average of $126,810 annually or $60.97 hourly.

    The same statistics show the number of civil engineers working in the United States at a much higher figure of 259,320. Civil Engineers enjoyed a median hourly wage of $39.03 and an average annual wage of $81,180 in May 2009. The bottom 10 percent of civil engineering jobs had a pay of $49,620 annually and $23.86 hourly, whereas the top 10 percent of civil engineering jobs had a pay of $118,320 annually or $56.88 hourly.

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    Job Prospects

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that demand for electrical engineers would experience little or no change through 2018. Although the decade should see a huge demand for electrical engineering items such as electric power generators or transmitters, international competition pegs projects employment growth within USA to remain at a modest 6 percent.

    Civil Engineering jobs, however, face bright prospects through 2018, with an expected growth rate of 18 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate the demand for civil engineering jobs to increase much faster than the average for all occupations through 2018. The major requirement for civil engineers comes from the need to design and build infrastructure and buildings to cater to the growing population.

    Comparing electrical engineering versus civil engineering job prospects, civil engineering seems to hold more prospects compared to electrical engineering. The demand for civil engineers, however, remains directly linked to the state of the economy. A booming economy usually manifests itself in construction activities whereas construction activities receive a major setback during times of recession. Civil engineering jobs are also region specific.

    Of the jobs in civil engineering, 50 percent of them are architectural, engineering, and related services work, 25 percent in the government, and the rest in the construction sector. Electrical engineering jobs, though having lower growth prospects are wider in scope.

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    References

    1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11. Retrieved from www.bls.gov on 31 October 2010.
    2. CareerPlanner.com "Job Outlook for Engineers." http://www.careerplanner.com/Job-Outlook/Engineers.cfm. Retrieved 31 October 2010.