Top 10 Jobs You Can Get With An Engineering Degree

From aeronautics to medical science, you’ll be at the forefront of innovation with an engineering degree. Learn about the best careers you can apply to.
(Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash)

(Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash)

Engineering is a field with multiple disciplines and a myriad of specialties. Which kind of engineering you specialize in will determine the jobs that you’ll be qualified for. Most engineering jobs fall into the following disciplines.

  • Civil
  • Chemical
  • Mechanical
  • Electrical
  • Environmental

With over 40 different types of career opportunities, engineers have a wide array of job prospects to choose from. While salaries for engineers are higher than most professions, engineering degrees do require specialized training and in some cases, advanced degrees.

Top Ten Engineering Jobs

1. Petroleum Engineer

Average job salary: $137,170
Required education: Bachelor’s degree required

Petroleum engineers specialize in finding gas and oil resources and developing new methods to extract deposits. A degree specializing in petroleum engineering is preferred although some employers will hire candidates with degrees in other areas of engineering. Many colleges offer 5-year programs that combine specialized coursework for mechanical or chemical engineers so they earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in a shorter time frame.

There are several different kinds of petroleum engineers and their different roles capture the unique complexities in this field. Completion engineers oversee the building of wells while drilling engineers specializing in environmentally safe extraction techniques. Production engineers typically monitor gas production and reservoir engineers calculate how much an underground deposit will yield.

2. Electrical Engineer

Average job salary: $75,219
Required education: Bachelor’s degree required, masters or doctorate preferred

Designing, improving, and producing components for electrical devices of all sorts is the domain of electrical engineering. Electrical engineers often work in teams on complex projects that require coordination across multiple disciplines from software to mechanics. Electrical engineers need advanced skills in math and science and confidence with computers and other technology.

Just like other kinds of engineering, there are specialties that electrical engineers can gain experience in to make them more marketable. From power engineering to signal processing, electrical engineers have specific skill sets that are valuable to certain markets like aerospace or telecommunications.

3. Computer Engineer

Average job salary: $92,046
Required education: Bachelor’s degree required

At the intersection of computer science and electrical engineering is computer engineering. Computer engineers research, design, develop, and test computer systems and components including processors, circuit boards, memory devices, and even networks.

Computer engineers may specialize in either hardware or software applications and can work in areas like information protection, wireless networks, robotics, or even quantum computing. A relatively new field within computer engineering called data engineering deals with jobs that require both data science and computing skills.

4. Aerospace Engineer

Average job salary: $115,220
Required education: Bachelor’s degree required, security clearance may be required

Aerospace engineers develop, test and design aircraft and spacecraft. Within aerospace engineering, there are two distinct career paths or specialties: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering.

Aeronautical engineers work with aircraft and propulsion systems and are experts in aerodynamics. Because aeronautical engineers work with theories surrounding flight and the Earth’s atmosphere, they often need in-depth mathematics and science coursework. Astronautical engineers specialize not in aircraft but in spacecraft such as satellites, sometimes called CubeSats.

5. Chemical Engineer

Average job salary: $104,910
Required education: Bachelor’s degree required, professional certification preferred

Chemical engineering focuses on chemical production, usually as it applies to manufacturing products. Chemical engineers may find themselves designing equipment or processes to safely refine raw materials into chemicals. Chemical engineers usually require advanced coursework in math, chemistry, physics, biology, and economics to be successful in their field of interest.

On the job site, chemical engineering responsibilities often extend beyond the scope of product development. Chemical engineers may be asked to weigh in on aspects of plant operation or conduct employee safety and hazard assessments.

6. Materials Engineer

Average job salary: $92,390
Required education: Bachelor’s degree required

Materials engineers develop and test materials in a wide range of products from medical devices to televisions. Their field focuses on the study of various kinds of materials that can be grouped loosely into five categories: metals, plastics, ceramics, composites, and nanomaterials. Material engineers not only study existing materials but help to develop new ones.

Like other types of engineering, the kinds of work material engineers do depends largely on the industry. Ceramic engineers might work with LCD displays, while plastics engineers can be found working on developing polymers for new applications.

7. Biomedical Engineer

Average job salary: $88,550
Required education: Bachelor’s degree preferred

As the healthcare industry booms, so does the field of biomedical engineering. Biomedical engineers apply the principles of engineering to medicine, often developing biomedical devices such as pacemakers or artificial hips. Some biomedical engineers even work on the forefront of medical science with technologies like stem cell engineering and 3-D printing organs.

Biomedical engineers differ slightly from other types of engineers in that they need to have a good understanding of a broad range of engineering topics in order to integrate those theories into improving human health. Biomedical engineers can specialize in several different areas such as orthopedic implants, medical imaging. or stem cell engineering.

8. Civil Engineer

Average job salary: $86,640
Required education: Bachelor’s degree required

Civil engineers work in both the private and public sectors designing, building and maintaining infrastructure. This includes things like roads, bridges, dams, tunnels, and even sewer systems. You’ll find civil engineering positions in many industries from research and education to construction and aviation.

As with other engineering fields, there are several specialties within civil engineering. Construction engineers manage the design and safety of both large and small construction projects. Geotechnical engineers interact with the earth, designing foundations and ensuring the safety of structures like tunnels, dams, and retaining walls. Structural engineers work hand in hand with geotechnical engineers to assess safety across a broad spectrum of projects from bridges to buildings. Transportation engineers are civil engineers that focus on planning and improving transportation systems such as roadways, airports, mass transit, and harbors.

9. Environmental Engineer

Average job salary: $87,620
Required education: Bachelor’s degree required

Sustainable design and reducing waste and pollution are all within the realm of environmental engineering. Environmental engineers use biology, chemistry, and other scientific disciplines to develop solutions to environmental problems and encourage sustainable approaches across a myriad of industries.

Environmental engineers are involved with finding innovative ways to contain pollution and to mitigate its effects on the public from safe drinking water to air quality. They may design technology or implement measures to control or prevent hazardous waste and pollution from contaminating watersheds, wildlife, and ecosystems.

10. Nuclear Engineer

Average job salary: $107,600
Required education: Bachelor’s degree required, masters or doctorate preferred

As you might suspect, nuclear engineers first and foremost operate and maintain nuclear facilities. Others work developing devices or products that utilize nuclear energy or radiation, including power sources for ships, spacecraft, or medical diagnosis and treatment devices. Finding ways to use radioactive materials safely in industrial settings is the primary focus of nuclear engineering.

While a bachelor’s degree is the only requirement, most nuclear engineers who work in design or research hold a graduate or doctorate degree in the field. Nuclear engineers need to have high-level physics and math skills whether they work in private sectors like the energy industry or public sectors such as government facilities or the military. Training is also available for those who qualify through the US Navy Nuclear Power Plant Program.

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What is an engineering degree?

Engineering requires highly developed scientific, mathematical and technological skills accompanied by a passion for problem-solving. No matter the discipline, those with engineering degrees are often called upon to develop and refine processes, products, structures, and systems. An engineering degree should prepare students to assume the role of innovators and position them with the skills to find unique solutions to complex issues.

Those who graduate with engineering degrees have demonstrated a multitude of skills that employers value, including analytical thinking, data analysis, and research and project management skills. Once they have gained some job experience within their respective disciplines, engineers hold some of the most lucrative job positions across multiple industries.

How long does it take to get an engineering degree?

To become an engineer, you’ll need to hold at least a bachelor’s degree that reflects specialized training within a particular discipline. Increasingly, many fields require a master’s degree for promotion and career advancement. On the job experience and a dynamic portfolio are also highly valued and many engineering students find their career opportunities expand once they’ve participated in an internship program.

The Rantt Rundown

From building bridges to ensuring public safety, engineers perform critical functions across a broad range of industries. Earning an engineering degree requires specialized skills and advanced study, but it guarantees you’ll have access to a job market with plenty of opportunities and a promising future.

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Rantt 101 // Careers / Engineering / Jobs / Tech