Whether they trump the inspector or not probably depends on the job or the code rule under interpretation. I've seen it go back and forth until a common understanding/decision is reached.
I've seen the inspector just wanting someone else to sign off on it, maybe getting them off the hook.
I've seen a state electrical inspector (DCA top of the food chain) fail a job over a life safety issue done to plans and specs. He fought it to the end and it didn't change. EE said it was correct and didn't bend to the inspector's interpretation. In the end it was just an interpretation. What could have been a costly interpretation.
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In NJ an EE would still need two years working under a licensed electrical contractor before being eligible to take the test. He wouldn't need an apprenticeship, but then nobody in NJ does. Having the EE degree would take off three years of work experience that you would otherwise need.