Engineering vs Medicine: Which Should You Go For?

The Engineering vs Medicine rivalry is a very old one, especially among younger people who are not sure of a particular career to pursue. For most people, while growing up, the choice of a career was limited to just these two – becoming a Medical Doctor or an Engineer and the reason for this is not far-fetched.

Both careers are so important to humanity that we cannot do without either of them. Health is equally as important as Shelter, transportation, electricity, etc which are all products of engineering. In addition to this, both career choices offer a lot of job opportunities and prospects. You will hardly ever go wrong choosing either of them.

The question then is, if asked to choose between both, which one of them will you go for?

In this article, we have x-rayed both career options and noted some of the things we think you should consider when choosing a career between Medicine vs Engineering.


Engineering can simply be seen as the application of economic, scientific, practical, and social knowledge to the design, construction, and maintenance of machines, structures, systems, devices, processes, and materials. Engineering aims at optimization, and cost-effectiveness without any compromise on the quality of the systems. It is safe to say that engineering aims at making life easier, while at the same time, saving money. Engineering is a very practical field that requires a strong IQ level, and problem-solving skills. The engineering field is a very broad one with very many specific specializations in the field with respect to particular areas and applications.

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Major engineering specializations

Students have the opportunity to choose a particular major from these branches and go ahead to specialize in a particular aspect. Some of these major specializations in engineering are mechatronics engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, petroleum engineering, petrochemical engineering, civil engineering, polymer and textile engineering, computer science engineering, materials science and metallurgical engineering, electronics, and communication engineering, etc.


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Medicine is the field that is all about the promotion, restoration, or maintenance, of human health. This is achieved through a series of studies, research, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-ups. Medicine focuses on keeping us alive and healthy to move on with our daily life activities. The four main purposes of medicine are prevention of diseases and injuries, promoting/maintaining health, relieving pain and suffering caused by illnesses, curing the sick and caring for terminal ones, and the avoidance of premature death.

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Major specializations in medicine

The branches of medicine are equally as broad; one can get to choose and specialize in a particular aspect of medicine according to interest and capabilities. Some of the branches of medical fields are;

  • Obstetrics-gynecology
  • Dermatology
  • Neurology
  • Cardiology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Oncology
  • Pediatrician
  • Optometry
  • Dentistry
  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology

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Engineering vs Medicine: Which should you go for?

Unfortunately, the courses are so wide apart that you cannot easily switch sides while retaining your previous certificates as relevant to the other.  I have provided a side–by–side analysis that will help to guide your choice on whether to go for engineering or medicine.

1. Admission rate

The application and admission process into engineering can be exhausting, and critical and requires very high achieving students. A demonstration of solid relevant background is required in courses like physics, chemistry, and mathematics. On the other hand, admission into medicine is rigorous, especially because after graduation, they have the delicate task of taking care of human lives. Generally, the admission rate into medicine is only about 2.4%. Generally, engineers tend to spend less time in school than medical students.

2. Cost of study

This is also affected by the school you choose to go to, the location of the school, whether private or public, the quality of the education at the school, and its ranking, amongst others. Engineering students have been found to pay over 170 000 USD towards tuition over the four years of study in the USA. Medical students will spend an average amount of 198 000 USD on tuition fees in the USA.

3. Post Graduation

After graduation from undergraduate studies, most engineering students go into the fields. Further knowledge and skills are acquired in the field, and generally, unless one wanted to major in academics, they need not return to school. Medicine, on the other hand, leaves the classroom after four years. And, it does not just stop there, they go through three years of intensive training in a hospital with several qualification examinations and onwards from there.

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4. Finding jobs

After school, what most people look out for is a job opportunity. It is a high factor in determining the choice of people when going for a degree. For engineers, there is a wide range of job opportunities available. However, there is so much competition from applicants that reduces the availability of these opportunities speedily. While medicine might not have as many opportunities as engineering, there is barely a chance of having an unemployed doctor. This is because there are more opportunities than professionals unlike the engineering field with more professionals than job openings.

5. Earning Potential

In the United States, engineers have a starting salary of an average of 91 000USD. However, this amount could go higher or lower on the specific aspect of engineering involved and their expertise. For medicine, Primary Care doctors have a starting salary of 200 000USD while specialist doctors tend to have a starting salary of 50% more than that.

6. Challenges

Both during studies and after, there are challenges that can be encountered by students and graduates. These challenges, most of the time, result in a student abandoning the field for a different field. On average, there have been more students abandoning and fleeing from medicine than from engineering. There has been a record as early as three months into the study. This could be for several reasons, not necessarily for difficulty. Reasons such as not being strong enough to withstand the smell of blood and flesh, open wounds, dead bodies, etc. However, if one braves it through, the reward is usually greater.

7. Leisure

It is an easy guess that doctors have way less personal time than engineers. An engineer works for a stipulated number of hours and gets his personal time after that. There is usually no need for him to hang around except for overtime. However, it is not so for medical doctors. Doctors are always on the move and could be called upon in the middle of the night to attend to a medical issue. As students, both engineers and doctors barely have time for social life. However, as graduates, engineers tend to get their lives back while doctors do not. They are usually as busy after school, as much as during.

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8. Passion and Interest

Most students, including their parents, would determine the ideal collegiate course by attempting to estimate the interests and skills of the incoming freshmen learners based on personality tests and cold, hard facts.

Your concerns regarding the right course to take will be significantly reduced if you have a solid knowledge of your interests. You should consider studying medicine if you wish to help people, especially those who are ill.

On the other hand, if math, robots, skyscrapers, or building structures appeal to you, engineering will be your ticket to ride.

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FAQs Engineering vs Medicine: Deciding Between Both

Which is better medicine or engineering?

If you are someone who’s fascinated by technology and how things work, Engineering is the best option for you, however, if you are more concerned about the health and the human body, then you should go for Medicine.

Do engineers get paid more than doctors?

There is not enough data to prove that Engineers earn more than Doctors. However, it’s important to note that while future doctors are still in medical school and residency, engineers are already making money.

Should I go for medicine or engineering?

The most recent inventions and technology often pique the curiosity of all engineering hopefuls.

Therefore, engineering is a wonderful choice for you if you enjoy technology.
However, you should choose medical courses if learning about the human body and health is your strong suit.

Which is more difficult between medicine and engineering?

Engineering is more infamous for its severe and insanely rigorous undergrad requirements.
On the other hand, medical physicians are subjected to a similar test in medical school.
It takes an absurd amount of work to become a doctor of medicine.

What engineering is hardest?

Chemical engineering


While the Engineering vs medicine rivalry isn’t ending soon, it’s important to note that both are great choices for a career with good pay. So, when you consider the individual pros and cons of either, as I have enumerated above, it will help your decision on which to choose.

Good luck!

You might also want to check: Cheapest colleges of medicine in Canada.

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