Careers in Engineering

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Jobs for Engineers

Students who want to pursue an engineering career can begin by earning a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in the field. Earning a degree prepares learners for various careers in engineering.

Degree-seekers need skills in mathematics and physics to succeed in the field. Some engineering sectors also require biology, chemistry, or environmental skills. Students with an engineering degree can explore a variety of engineering careers to match their interests and skills.

This page explores engineering degrees and careers in engineering. We also include salaries and projected job growth for many roles.

Frequently Asked Questions About Engineering Careers

  • Q. What are the different engineering fields?

    Engineering encompasses multiple fields. Examples include civil, environmental, and chemical engineering.

  • Q. What kind of jobs can I get with an engineering degree?

    Students with an engineering degree often work as engineers or architects. Engineers solve problems in areas such as infrastructure and healthcare.

  • Q. What is the highest-paying engineering job?

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many careers in engineering pay more than $100,000 per year. Professionals who earn these salaries include petroleum engineers and computer engineers.

  • Q. What engineering jobs are in demand?

    The BLS projects higher-than-average job growth between 2019 and 2029 for aerospace engineers, bioengineers, and environmental engineers.

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Career Paths for Engineering Majors
Career Degree Required Career Description Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Aerospace Engineers Bachelor’s Aerospace engineers design aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles. They test prototypes and develop space technologies for space exploration, aviation, and defense systems. $118,610 3%
Agricultural Engineers Bachelor’s Agricultural engineers solve environmental problems. They address issues related to water, power, and pollution. $84,410 2%
Biomedical Engineers Bachelor’s Biomedical engineers design equipment and devices for the life sciences and medical fields. These include diagnostic machines and artificial organs. $92,620 5%
Chemical Engineers Bachelor’s Chemical engineers use chemistry and biology to solve problems involving the production and use of chemicals, food, and drugs. They also design and operate the machines that make these products. $108,540 4%
Civil Engineers Bachelor’s Civil engineers plan, design, build, and operate public and private infrastructure. This includes roads, bridges, and airports. $88,570 2%
Computer Hardware Engineers Bachelor’s Computer hardware engineers design, develop, and manufacture computer elements and systems. $119,560 2%
Electrical and Electronics Engineers Bachelor’s Electrical and electronics engineers design, develop, and build electrical equipment. This includes broadcast systems and vehicles. $103,390 3%
Environmental Engineers Bachelor’s Environmental engineers solve environmental problems like recycling and waste disposal. $92,120 3%
Health and Safety Engineers Bachelor’s Health and safety engineers develop procedures and systems to ensure products do not harm people or property. $94,240 4%
Industrial Engineers Bachelor’s Industrial engineers work with machines, equipment, and workers to streamline production processes. $88,950 10%

Engineering Specializations

The engineering field contains many specializations. Learners can pursue these specializations through majors, concentrations, and tracks. Some specializations require more education than others. In addition, some programs require enrollees to complete more interdisciplinary studies than others.

See below for some potential specializations in the engineering field.

  1. Computer Engineering

    Degree-seekers learn how to design and develop computer hardware or software. Learners who pursue this concentration may work as software or hardware engineers. Software engineers write code and computer programs. Hardware engineers design computer equipment.

    Coursework combines computer science and electrical engineering. Enrollees study coding languages and physics.

  2. Technology Innovation

    This specialization combines several disciplines. Students learn how to design, create, and develop new technologies. These programs focus on building new technologies. They also teach students entrepreneurial skills to create new products.

    Graduates may pursue careers as technicians or engineers. They can work in fields such as robotics or pharmaceuticals.

  3. Manufacturing

    This specialization focuses on systems that integrate workers, materials, energy, and information. Manufacturing focuses on the automated parts of these processes. Learners study statistics and manufacturing systems design. Degree-seekers also explore trigonometry, physics, and chemistry.

    Graduates may work as industrial engineers, technicians, or managers. They can work in offices designing production equipment and processes. They also work in laboratories and factories.

  4. Materials Engineering

    Sometimes called materials science, this specialization prepares students to work as materials engineers or technicians. These engineers develop and test materials that are used in a variety of projects and products.

    Programs require both classroom and lab work. Learners study biology, chemistry, physics, and computer programming. Students need strong analytical, math, and writing skills.

  5. Chemicals and Additives

    This specialization prepares students for careers as food scientists, chemical engineers, or agricultural scientists. Food and agricultural scientists apply their chemistry, biology, and agriculture knowledge to improve and create agricultural processes. Chemical engineers may work with food or drugs, creating products or solving problems with products. These degrees require courses in chemistry, biology, math, and agriculture.

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How Much Does an Engineering Degree Cost?

The cost of engineering degrees varies by school and degree type. The average cost of college in the U.S. in 2021 is $35,720. Students at public universities pay an average of $25,620. Learners spend an average of $53,950 at private universities.

Students who pursue an online engineering degree over an on-campus program often save money. Online learners do not incur commuting or room-and-board expenses. Online schools often also charge less per credit.

Degree-seekers should plan for lab and internship fees. Costs vary by school. Enrollees can check with their advisor or school for specifics.

Certifications and Licensure for Engineering

Students can pursue various licenses and certifications to advance their engineering careers. Licenses and certifications are separate from engineering degrees. Some licenses and certifications require previous degrees or tests.

See below for some certifications and licenses available for professionals with an engineering degree.

The National Society of Professional Engineers provides the PE license. This credential can help engineers who are at least a few years into their career. Applicants must have completed a four-year degree and worked for four years under a PE. They must also pass two exams and earn a license from their state. Only engineers with a PE license can sign and seal engineering plans. The American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists provides this certification to environmental engineers. Candidates need an engineering degree and eight years of experience. They must also take a written and oral test. BCEE certification can help environmental engineers advance their careers and qualify for high-level jobs. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers awards this certification to experienced manufacturing engineers. Candidates need eight years of experience and must pass an exam. This certification can help manufacturing engineers pursue leadership positions.

How Much Do Engineering Majors Make?

Salaries vary depending on an engineer’s experience, job title, and employer. Certifications and degrees can also impact engineers’ earnings. According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, professionals with a PE credential earn about $16,000 more per year than mechanical engineers without the credential.

Some engineer types make more than others. For example, materials engineers earn a median annual salary of $95,640. Nuclear engineers earn a median annual salary of $116,140.

Technicians and technologists earn less than engineers. For example, civil engineering technologists and technicians make a median annual salary of $54,080. These professionals only need an associate degree.

Engineers can earn higher salaries as they gain experience. Software engineers earn an average annual salary of $87,530, while senior software engineers earn $119,480, according to August 2021 PayScale data.

Additional Resources for Engineering Majors

This job board allows aspiring engineers to search for opportunities by job type and location. The site also posts career advice on topics like interviewing and networking. This site provides prospective engineers with information about preparing for school and pursuing licensure. This site provides prospective engineers with information about preparing for school and pursuing licensure. ABET accredits engineering programs at colleges and universities. Most states require graduation from an ABET-accredited program to obtain licensure. NSPE is a membership organization that issues PE certifications. The organization advocates for engineers and holds several events. This organization hosts professional societies in several engineering and technology fields. The group also offers courses for high school, college, and graduate students.

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