One thing I've noticed in my time since earning my degree is that many recruiters and headhunters do not understand the distinction between Electrical Engineering and Electronics Engineering. As a DeVry graduate, by degree is in Electronics Engineering, and I've found that I've had to explain the difference; that Electrical Engineering deals in moving and manipulating power, while Electronics Engineering deals in moving and manipulating information.

How often have other Engineers seen this confusion in industry? I'd understand if we were still using vacuum tubes to crunch numbers, but silicon chips are everywhere, and digital logic is the primary way of controlling machines now, why do the recruiters not seem to know that one type of EET would be more comfortable with linesman's pliers and the other type prefers a low-wattage soldering iron?

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I see a different difference (sic), between BSEE and BSEET degrees. Typically BSEE = Electrical Engineering (but could be Electronic Engineering as you note). But BSEET = Electronic Engineering Technology, in my experience. I have a BSEET from University of Hartford (CT). At this school, BSEE = College of Arts & Sciences, and BSEET = Ward Technical College (back in 1980). The difference was BSEE having more rigor in requirements for physics, chemistry, transform math, antenna theory and software architecture. BSEET was a contrived invention to train "Technologists", about two-thirds of the way between "Technician" and "Engineer". I got the Associates degree first, worked while pursuing the BSEET, and became de-facto Engineer with the BS plus 4 years concurrent experience. Some of my fellow BSEET graduates entered Engineer positions directly. The difference seems to have been ignored by prospective employers. I have not heard the Electronic versus Electrical question being directly asked; an interviewee's experience dictates suitability for the position.
That's a different description from the one I heard. I was told that the BSEET degrees, such as the ones offered at DeVry, had less math training than the BSEE degree, such as the the ones offered by IIT, but there was more practical, hands=on work. A BSEE would know more formulas than the BSEET, but the BSEET would have more experience in how the components act differently from their 'perfect' mathematical models.
I have a BSEET from Oregon Institute of Technology. The way that they distinguished EE from EET was by using the analogy of saying that if you wanted to reinvent the wheel (do classical theoretical engineering to invent raw technology), that we belonged at Oregon State University earning a EE degree. But, if we wanted to take the preinvented wheel, attach it to the preinvented axel, and ultimately build the car (use preinvented technology to design and create higher level products, aka something useful), then OIT was the place for us.
EE or EET it seems to me that when I'm looking for a job they want programmers. I've got an AS in Pre-Engineering (read LOTS of math) and 38 years of experience ranging from AIMD experience working on the radar systems for the navy's A6 series through product engineer in the custom group at Motorola to 12 years in contract manufacturing supporting functional test in the test engineering group to being the only failure analysis engineer in America for Samsung SEA, yet it seems that every electronics engineering position I see on the job boards wants programming experience. It wouldn't be so daunting if there weren't so many different SW languages to learn. They don't want electronics engineers. They want programmers no matter what your electronics experience level is and how many times you've caught BSEEs really screwing up. To hell with it. I just want to sell my patent and be done with dealing with outsourcing.
As a 24 year BSEET I have obtained three state licenses from Kansas, Michigan & Nevada. Each States licensing board required me to perform an "oral" exam since each board did not understand the differences between BSEE & BSEET. My state licenses are divserse: Controls Systems Engineer (CSE) & Electrical Engineer (EE). I perform both power distribution & instrumentation/controls systems design. The BSEET is ABET accredited, which qualifies it for ALL state licenses. According to ABET the main difference of the two licenses are: "BSEE is preparatory for graduate studies" versus "BSEET is applying existing technologies in creative & new configurations to solve application challenges". Certainly there is less math & science classes, but the BSEET still has differential calculus & physics. I am not saying the BSEET is better than the BSEE or visa versa, they are both applicable industry degrees with overlapping qualifications.
The problem I get a lot is that everyone thinks I'm an electrician. Then I have to explain to them; just because I'm an EE doesn't mean I know the NEC.
Your assessment is slightly off. Having a degree in electrical engineering does not necessarily mean you deal mainly with power systems. You would be hard pressed to find much of a distinction between the two degrees except that electrical will have classes in signal processing, electromagnetics, and communication systems and electronics will have more classes offered dealing with microelectronics. The bigger question is the difference between BSEE and BSEET. You get more hands on lab experience with the BSEET and more theory with the BSEE, but you still will have a hard time finding knowledge that one has but not the other.
This is a common misperception because really America never made the break between an electronic and electrical engineer. As an EE, you could be doing work in the power industry or the semiconductor industry. I find for the most part that people don't even know what an EE does. I remember talking in the gym with some person who asked what I did. I said I was in the microwave industry, and he just looked at me with pity and said that, "I guess there needs to be people who repair microwave ovens as well." I just laughed to myself.
There really is no distinction between an electronics engineer or an electrical engineer. We can work with power, with electronics, etc. You may just need to tailor your resume to your particular field.
In response to Chris,

I tried to volunteer many years back for a local charity, and when they heard I was an EE, they said they needed some rewiring of their building. I told them I wasn't qualified for that. I'm sure they thought my degree was useless!
Joe, how did you get a PE in Michigan???
All of the research that I have done states that MI will not accept a BSEET.
I finished ASEET at DeVry Cols. in 1985 and have been working for large AE firms since that time. I am in the process of completing BSEET but due to MI constraints had planned to just get licensed in OH.

Thanks for asking about this. As I mentioned, every state I applied required me to sit for an "Oral" exam in which all the board members "grilled" me about my power experience, for which I obtained with 9 years at a large A&E firm, Black&Veatch. To get the boards to entertain any idea of talking to me I had to write my state representative of each state and make many citations out of the ABET literature for both the EE and EET, for which all those boards listed as qualifying for their license (ABET). And since the "T" in ABET stands for Technology, I made my case. It took many letters and phone calls . . . it was a pain in the &@?$. Persistence is one of my traits. So, if you really want it, get started and good luck.

Joe, how did you get a PE in Michigan???
All of the research that I have done states that MI will not accept a BSEET.
I finished ASEET at DeVry Cols. in 1985 and have been working for large AE firms since that time. I am in the process of completing BSEET but due to MI constraints had planned to just get licensed in OH.
Andrew, I understand your situation. I graduated in 1982 with a BS-EDET, which essentially is the same thing as a BS-EET today. (EDET = Electrical Design Engineering Technology.) When I entered the program, as a sophomore in the traditional BSEE program, I was told that the difference was EDET was more practically oriented while the BSEE was more research oriented. The programs were identical except that I didn't take the very last Physics and Math courses that the BSEEs did, and did not have as many liberal arts course requirements, but had extra laboratory courses to net the same number of credit hours as the BSEE. People already holding an AS-EET degree could also get into this program and earn a BS after two more years of school instead of three. I was also told that industry was driving the requirements for the EDET program because it was getting too many BSEEs who made excellent designs on paper but could not implement them. The EDET was supposed to take the theory and make practical applications out of it. Applications could be in any branch of electrical engineering -- you could specialize in power, analog circuits, digital circuits, RF and microwave, etc.

I've found that despite the promise that "industry was driving the need for the EDET program" I have always had to explain what an EDET is. (Not complaining, just agreeing with your situation.) You need to sell your education and expertise - particularly how you can uniquely solve problems that others can't. People also confuse my training with an electrician (although I have only seen this from non-engineering people). I've gone along with the flow - I've done enough systems engineering that it's been beneficial to learn the NEC (at least, what effects my installations) and I even held an Unlimited Low Voltage license in the State of Georgia for a while. So it might not hurt to check out the NEC if your job interests include designing or installing electronic systems, particularly in commercial or Government buildings.

The main thing is, yes you will probably always have to explain what your degree is. But, you can also market the skills that it gave you compared to traditional degrees. There will be jobs out there where your education is a better fit than the traditional degree. Meanwhile, check out the coursework that traditional EEs have (and also the NEC) since it never hurts to add to your knowledge base and you might find it useful some day. Best of luck!

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