If you are deciding between majoring in engineering or accounting, you might want to know more about what each major has to offer. This post will show you the key facts about each major and help you to decide which would be a better degree for you.

At a glance:

Payscale reported
average pay
Ease of finding a jobModerate/GoodGood
Types of jobs
you can qualify for

Project Manager
Marketing manager
Account manager
Operations manager
Financial analyst
Software engineer
Mechanical engineer
Civil engineer
Project engineer
Structural engineer
Electrical engineer
Industrial engineer
Chemical engineer
Difficulty of the
Key things to noteOften necessary to
complete the CPA
exam to progress
into senior positions
and to get the more
lucrative jobs. A
master’s degree will
also help significantly.

Lower level bookkeeping
roles are likely to become

Has good overall job prospects.

Can be a path into a number of
different fields including finance
and business.
One of the best paying
bachelor’s degrees.

Can give good job
prospects with just
a bachelor’s degree.

Good job satisfaction.

The jobs you will
qualify for will depend
a lot on the specific
type of engineering
degree you choose.
Source for engineering salary and jobs
Source for accounting salary and jobs

There are many things to consider when deciding between the two degrees. Also, there are other things to consider if you do decide to major in either of them such as what classes you should take.

Details about a degree in accounting

Below are some details about the accounting major.


According to payscale, the average pay of someone with a bachelor’s degree in accounting is $70,762. This is higher than most other majors but lower than the average reported pay in engineering. This is likely to be because engineering can qualify you for a number of high-paying jobs at the entry-level.

Something to consider is that completing the CPA exam and getting an accounting master’s degree will increase your earning potential significantly.


A degree in accounting should give you good opportunities with just a bachelor’s degree. This is because the degree can qualify you for a number of accounting roles and it can also qualify you for roles in related fields such as finance and business since accounting knowledge is useful in many business applications.

However, a lot of the more lucrative accounting roles require you to be a CPA and most people that become a CPA also get a master’s degree in accounting.

Jobs that you can qualify for with a bachelor’s degree in accounting can include:

  • Accountant
  • Account manager
  • Financial analyst
  • Tax manager
  • Financial advisor

Some other jobs that you can get with a master’s degree would include:

  • Forensic accountant
  • Managerial accountant
  • Auditor
  • Chief financial officer


An accounting degree can be difficult especially in the junior and senior years when the classes become more specialized. Overall, accounting is generally considered as a moderately difficult degree. When compared with an engineering major, you can expect accounting to be easier.

Things to consider

If you are thinking of majoring in accounting, it could also help to minor in finance. This is because many people with accounting degrees end up in finance. Getting a finance minor should help you when looking for jobs within finance. Getting an internship, in the field, could also help a lot.

If you want to go far in accounting, it would help you to complete the CPA exam as soon as you are able to. This is because many of the more desirable jobs require that you have completed the exam.

While accounting is a degree with good job opportunities, it can still be competitive. With that being the case, it would help you a lot to try to get some summer internships while you are completing the degree.

Details about a degree in engineering

Below are some details about the engineering major.

It can pay well

According to Payscale, the average salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree in engineering is $85,100. This makes engineering one of the highest paying degrees available.

Engineering is also a major that will give you good job prospects with just a bachelor’s degree. This is because engineering degrees tend to be applied to multiple specific job roles meaning that you should be reasonably well prepared for certain jobs without needing too much extra training. It is also common for people with engineering degrees to find work in other mathematical fields such as data analytics and data science.

However, many of the better jobs will require a master’s degree. Getting one will also improve your long-term pay prospects. However, this can also be said for most majors.

Something to consider is that the average salary will vary depending on the specific field that you are intending to enter. You can look here to see what the median and average pay is for each of the different types of engineering degrees.

Also, the job progression and working hours will depend a lot on the specific field you want to enter.

Before choosing an engineering degree, it would help a lot to do lots of research on the specific type of engineering degree that you are interested in and to make sure that it has good job prospects. It would also help to make sure that it is something that you would be interested in doing.

Job prospects are projected to improve

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is expected that there will be a total of 139,300 new jobs by 2026 when compared to 2016. You can look here to see how each of the different types of engineering jobs are projected to improve.

Many people with engineering degrees go down the software engineering route. These jobs tend to pay well and be less demanding unless there are deadlines coming up.

With that being the case, picking up a minor in computer science will help to broaden your job prospects significantly. At the very least, it would help to make sure to take computer science algorithms and data structures since that is what gets tested in software engineering interviews.

The types of jobs you can expect to qualify for will depend a lot on the type of engineering degree you choose and the electives you choose.

But you can expect to qualify for jobs such as:

  • Mechanical engineer
  • Civil engineer
  • Project engineer
  • Structural engineer
  • Electrical engineer
  • Industrial engineer
  • Chemical engineer

If you also take computer science classes you could also qualify for software engineering roles. You might also qualify for roles in data science, machine learning and data analysis if you learn programming (in Python), take computer science electives and also complete projects related to machine learning and data science.

It can be difficult to get a high GPA

Engineering majors are, usually, majors with a high dropout rate. There are many possible reasons for this but one main reason is that an engineering major is more challenging than people would expect.

Engineering makes use of lots of mathematics. In engineering, you will need to learn, single and multivariable calculus, linear algebra, discrete math and differential equations as well as some physics. These can be difficult classes that will require a lot of time spent studying. Many students are not willing to put the necessary amount of time into studying for these classes so they end up not doing very well in them.

Another thing to consider is your level of interest in the subject. If you are interested in engineering then you will likely have an easier time motivating yourself to continue studying when you are struggling.

Engineering degrees will often require more credits

Another reason that people have a hard time doing well in engineering is that it will often require more credits to graduate than some of the other majors.

This means that you will likely have to take more classes in each semester as an engineering major and you will have to spend more time studying.

Alternative degrees

There are a number of alternatives if you are thinking of getting an engineering degree.

The alternatives can include:

  • Computer science
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Computer engineering
  • Physics

Things to consider

Since the different engineering degrees will be more applied to specific job roles and can qualify you for a range of jobs, they should give you good job prospects.

However, it can still be difficult when job searching especially right after graduation so it could help a lot to improve your job opportunities by also taking classes from another well-paying discipline such as computer science.

Bottom line

Most engineering degrees can qualify you for good jobs with just a bachelor’s degree. The jobs are often engaging, come with high job satisfaction ratings and good pay. Also, an engineering degree can help qualify you for math-heavy jobs such as data science and machine learning if you choose the right classes or even get a computer science minor. Additionally, engineering jobs will typically be less customer-facing when compared to many accounting jobs.

An additional way to improve your job prospects would be to minor in another degree that also has good job prospects such as computer science. Doing this could help you to qualify for more programming type roles and could help you when applying to graduate school for things such as machine learning or computer science. This would give you very good job prospects since both computer science and engineering will qualify you for many jobs and you might find that you prefer the CS jobs.

However, you can expect an accounting degree to qualify you for a number of different jobs especially if you complete the CPA exam and get a finance minor. Also, an accounting degree will require a lower time commitment, this should help to give you the time to apply for summer internships and to complete projects related to the jobs that you are interested in.

Ultimately, both majors come with good job prospects. The main focus of your decision should be on which one you can see yourself enjoying the most in the long run. I would recommend doing lots of research into what the jobs, each major can qualify you for, are like and see if that is something you would enjoy doing.


I created and currently manage College Corner. I received a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. My goal is to help current students do better in college and to help future students plan for college. You can read more about me and my website here.