If you are deciding between majoring in electrical engineering or chemical engineering, 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 EngineeringChemical Engineering
average pay
Job opportunitiesGoodModerate
Types of jobs
you can qualify for
Systems engineer
Radio frequency engineer
Electrical engineer
Controls engineer
Software engineer
Chemical engineer
Project engineer
Process engineer
Manufacturing engineer
Production engineer
Environmental engineer
Difficulty of the
Key things to noteA very employable
bachelor’s degree.

High average pay.

High job satisfaction.

Average predicted job
growth for the next decade.
There are only around 32,600
chemical engineering jobs in
the US. This could make it
difficult to find a job and you
will likely need to relocate.

Average predicted job growth.

Good reported job satisfaction.
Source for electrical engineering major salary and jobs
Source for chemical engineering major salary 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 the electrical engineering major

Below are details about the electrical engineering major.


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. It is also significantly higher than the average reported pay of a chemical engineering major.


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


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. You can also expect it to be equivalently difficult to a chemical engineering major which is also a very difficult major.


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.

Details about a chemical engineering degree

Below are some details about a degree in chemical engineering.


According to Payscale, the average pay of someone with a degree in chemical engineering is $81,140. This is similar to the average pay you will find with most other engineering majors and it is higher than most other majors but not electrical engineering. Also, according to the BLS, the median pay of a chemical engineer is $108,770.

Job prospects

The predicted growth rate for chemical engineering jobs is 4%, in total, over the next decade and the number of chemical engineering jobs is said to be 32,600 (source). This means that chemical engineering only has average predicted job growth. Also, compared to other engineering majors, 32,600 is not a lot of jobs. This means that it is more likely that you will have a hard time looking for a job in chemical engineering and that you will be more likely to have to relocate.

However, as mentioned above, the median pay of a chemical engineer is high, so when you do get a job it can pay well. Also, they tend to be relatively secure jobs so you should be able to keep your job for a decent amount of time once you get one. Also, most people find them to be interesting jobs with good job satisfaction.

According to Payscale, common jobs for chemical engineering majors includes:

  • Chemical engineer
  • Project engineer
  • Process engineer
  • Manufacturing engineer
  • Production engineer
  • Environmental engineer


Chemical engineering is a difficult major. It will include a lot of math and physics and the chemical engineering classes themselves can be difficult. Overall, you can expect chemical engineering to be similarly difficult to electrical engineering which can also be a difficult major.


Some classes you can expect to take in chemical engineering can include:

  • Calculus
  • Linear algebra
  • Differential equations
  • Physics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Kinetics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology

You can look here to see an example degree sequence of chemical engineering.

Things to consider

One thing to consider is that chemical engineering is not the same as chemistry. In chemical engineering, you will be focusing more on creating systems to create chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and other products (source). Whereas, a chemist will be more focused on things such as studying substances at the atomic and molecular level in a lab (source).

While other engineering degrees will pay a similar amount and often have a wider job pool available to you, you might prefer chemical engineering because of the types of jobs you can work in. It would help to do a lot of research the types of things you could be working on and to see if it is something you would enjoy.


Overall, both chemical engineering and electrical engineering are majors that have good pay and satisfaction. They both have similar job growth. However, electrical engineering has around ten times the number of total jobs. This means that it should be easier to find electrical engineering jobs. They will also both require a similar amount of study time.

According to the BLS, both chemical and electrical engineers have similar median pay. However, pay scale shows that electrical engineering majors do better on average. This could be because electrical engineering majors have an easier time finding jobs.

When making your decision, it would help to consider what you would most be interested in working on and to choose your major accordingly.


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.