If you are deciding between majoring in electrical engineering or biology, 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:

Electrical EngineeringBiology
Reported
average pay
$92,227$71,112
Job opportunitiesGoodModerate
Types of jobs
you can qualify for
Systems engineer
Radio frequency engineer
Electrical engineer
Controls engineer
Software engineer
Lab assistant
Physician assistant
Biomedical engineer
Nurse
Physical therapist
Veterinarian
Optometrist
High school teacher
Difficulty of the
major
HardHard
Key things to noteA very employable
bachelor’s degree.

High average pay.

High job satisfaction.

Average predicted job
growth for the next decade.
It can be difficult to find
a job with just a bachelor’s
degree in biology. A
master’s degree or
PhD is often required.

Other easier majors
can be better for
medical school.

The major can become
more employable if
combined with a more
applied minor.

It is a major that can
give good job satisfaction
once you can find a job.
Source for electrical engineering major salary and jobs
Source for biology pay and jobs

There are a number of things to consider when choosing between the two degrees and there are many similarities between them. Below, is details about each major, their differences and reasons to choose one or the other.

Details about a biology degree

Below are some of the key details about a degree in biology.

Pay

According to Payscale, the average pay for a person with a degree in biology is $71,112. This is better than the average across all majors. However, something to consider, is that the average will be being increased considerably by people with master’s degrees and PhDs in biology.

Jobs

Biology can be a somewhat general degree that is not specialized towards specific job roles. As a result, it is often necessary to combine biology with a more applied minor or to get an advanced degree after graduating, in order to make the major more employable.

In a ZipRecruiter survey, it was found that 35% of biology graduates regret choosing the major due to difficulty finding a job without an advanced degree.

With that being said, the major can be a gateway towards jobs in a number of different fields, but it will often require some extra studying to become employable in those fields.

According to Payscale, people with a degree in biology often get jobs as:

  • Lab assistant
  • Physician assistant
  • Biomedical engineer
  • Nurse
  • Physical therapist
  • Veterinarian
  • Optometrist
  • High school teacher

Note that many of these jobs will require at least a master’s degree.

Something to be aware of is that many of the jobs that require advanced degrees do have strong predicted job growth (source). This is encouraging if you are set on getting an advanced degree in biology. However, something to be aware of is that if you change your mind halfway through, it could be difficult to find a job with just a bachelor’s degree in biology.

Difficulty

Biology is a difficult major. The biology classes themselves can be difficult and the major will usually require math, statistics, physics, and chemistry classes. Overall, you should expect to have to put a lot of time into the major. However, When compared with electrical engineering you can expect biology to be less math heavy.

Classes

Classes you can expect to take in a biology major can include:

  • Calculus
  • Statistics
  • Chemistry
  • Introduction to physics
  • Introduction to biology
  • Molecular biology
  • Ecology
  • Genetics

You can look here to see an example degree sequence.

Things to consider

Alternative majors can allow you to enter medical school but also have good job opportunities. In fact, because it can be difficult to get a high GPA in biology, alternative majors can actually be better for medical school because having a high GPA can help a lot.

To get the more desirable jobs, in biology, it is often necessary to get a PhD. If you do choose the major, it would help a lot to consider combining it with a more employable minor in order to improve your job prospects after graduation.

When deciding on whether or not you should major in biology, it would help to consider whether or not you are set on going to graduate school as well and the types of jobs you want. If you are set on going to graduate school and you want a job that will require a master’s or PhD then a biology major would become more worthwhile.

Details about the electrical engineering major

Below are details about the electrical engineering major.

Pay

According to Payscale, the average pay of someone with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering is $92,227. This is much higher than the reported pay for most other majors.

Jobs

According to the BLS, it is reported that the demand for electrical engineers will grow by 5% between 2019 and 2029. This is slightly higher than the average growth across all jobs. They mention that increasing demand for things such as solar arrays, semiconductors and communications technologies will drive demand for electrical engineers. However, they also mention that certain industries are on the decline such as utilities and manufacturing.

The BLS also says that there are around 328,100 electrical engineering jobs in the US. This is a lot compared to many other engineering majors. It means that you should have a slightly easier time seeking a job than alternative engineering majors and you’ll be more likely to find a job in a location you like.

Electrical engineering is a major that will qualify you for a lot of jobs that pay well with just a bachelor’s degree. Jobs you can get with a degree in electrical engineering can include:

  • Systems engineer
  • Radio frequency engineer
  • Electrical engineer
  • Controls engineer
  • Software engineer

Difficulty

Electrical engineering includes a lot of mathematics. The concepts in electrical engineering classes themselves can also be very difficult. With that being the case, you can expect electrical engineering to be a very difficult major.

Classes

Below are some classes that you can expect to take in electrical engineering:

  • Calculus 1, 2, and 3
  • Linear algebra
  • Differential equations
  • Mechanics
  • Electricity and magnetism
  • Thermodynamics
  • Circuit analysis
  • Control systems
  • Signals and systems
  • Introduction to electrical engineering
  • Introduction to programming

You can look here to see an example degree sequence in electrical engineering.

Things to consider

Some jobs can require a master’s degree and a master’s degree can also help with career progression. It would help to consider what specific type of electrical engineering job you would be most interested in so that you can see whether or not it will also be necessary for you to obtain a master’s degree.

Electrical engineering is a major that will require a lot of work. This will likely mean that you will have to sacrifice a lot of free time. It might be the case that you could major in another high-paying major, such as computer science, that does not require as much effort, which will allow you to focus on other things such as internships and social activities without sacrificing your job opportunities.

Conclusion

As mentioned above, an electrical engineering degree should qualify you for many jobs that pay well and have high levels of job satisfaction. With that being the case, an electrical engineering degree is among the best degrees that you can get right now in terms of job prospects.

While electrical engineering is one of the best degrees to get right now, it might still be the case that it might not be for you. It is a degree that involves a lot of mathematics including calculus, discrete math, differential equations, and linear algebra. With that being said, if you are not great at math right now, I would still recommend an electrical engineering major since you can quickly improve your math skills using the website khanacademy.org.

While it can be difficult to find jobs with just a bachelor’s degree in biology, there are still some reasons why you might want to get a biology degree.

The first reason is if you want to get a job that requires a master’s or doctoral degree in biology. If you do, then a bachelor’s degree in biology would be more worthwhile.

Also, if you have a very strong interest in the subject, it would also make it more worthwhile for you to major in biology. However, it would also help to minor in something that is employable at the bachelor’s degree level.

Author

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.