There are over 40 different types of engineering careers in 5 different sub disciplines. Learn more about the top engineering career paths, compare the highest paid engineering jobs, view salary ranges for each engineering career, and figure out which is best for you.
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Some of the highest paying careers in the world are found in engineering. Engineering is widely considered as one of the most lucrative and in demand career choices, with multiple engineering disciplines and job types, as well as salaries that can exceed $100k per year once the engineer has some experience behind them¹. Engineers tend to earn in excess of the national average salary and this is expected by some reputable organizations to continue in the future¹. In fact, Engineering degrees make up 10 of the top 17 highest paid degrees at the time of writing¹.
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To become an engineer, you will more than likely need a degree. If you do not yet have a degree or you are looking to advance with a higher degree than you currently have, use our Engineering Degree Finder to quickly get matched to a program. You can also check out the schools below listed with each career. They are some of our most requested engineering degrees that align with the mentioned career, and you can talk with them about getting started with their program. Simply click a listing and request an information packet from them to get more detail on their engineering program. If you are looking for engineering jobs, click here to jump to the jobs search.
The methodology used for gathering the list of careers in engineering was to utilize the US. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics data, combined with reports on salaries, unemployment, and career outlook from reputable sources, such as Universities, Forbes Magazine, US News & World Report, and reputable Engineering associations, such as the National Society of Professional Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. For the list of sources complete with their website, go here.
Here are the current six highest paid engineering careers available and how the future looks for each.
The median starting salary for petroleum engineers is $74,240 ¹, with the mid-career salary of $132,320¹, and with experienced petroleum engineers making around the $186,520 mark¹. Industry groups anticipate many employees will retire in the next decade, just as the global demand for energy is increasing. The demand for petroleum engineers is expected to exceed the number of individuals trained to fill available positions increasing demand.
Internationally and domestically this demand will advance the careers and the salaries of petroleum engineers. There are a number of degrees available for those interested in pursuing petroleum engineering including training online.
Many electrical engineering jobs are tied to designing, testing and supervising the manufacturing of electrical equipment, but some electrical engineering careers consist of designing electronics schematics for commercial and consumer use.
Job growth in these areas is expected to be around 6%, a rate lower than average, through the rest of the decade.
Mid-career salaries for electrical engineers are in the neighborhood of $89,180¹.
The median starting salary for a computer hardware engineer is $63,970¹. This is a relatively new field of engineering and some sources say that there are not enough computer engineers to keep up with demand while other sources say that the job growth for computer engineers will be below the national average. As schools start producing more computer engineers, the job growth rate could potentially slow. A computer engineer can anticipate earning a mid-career salary of $101,000¹. Emerging along with computer and software engineering is data engineering. Sometimes data science degree programs are combined along with engineering or computer science programs, as there is a lot of crossover with coursework.
Most technological breakthroughs are coming in the area of software engineering and not computer hardware, so keep that in mind as well.
A new graduate with a degree in aerospace engineering can expect a starting salary in the range of $65,450¹. With cutbacks in space exploration the Department of Labor expects that the need for aerospace engineers will grow at 5% over the next few years, a slower pace than the average job market. A mid-career salary for an aerospace engineer is $103,720¹.
The median starting for chemical engineers is approx. $94,000¹. Chemical engineers are typically employed in the areas of manufacturing and research. They work not only for chemical companies, but also work in the manufacturing of electronics, clothing, paper, medicine, and food to name just a few.
Chemical engineers can advance their careers from manufacturing plants to technical sales and company management. The market for chemical engineers is expected to be reasonably flat over the next few years. Job growth, however, in closely-related fields, such as biomedical engineering, is expected to be much faster than average job growth according to the US Department of Labor. A mid-career salary of $109,000 is the average.
The median starting salary for a materials engineer is $52,900¹.
Materials engineers work at developing and testing materials used in the production of industrial and consumer products, as well as working with metals and fabrics, and understanding the uses of each in consumer products.
From now to the year 2020, the job growth for a materials engineer position is expected to be around 9% with a mid-career salary of approx. $85,150¹.
All Engineering Occupations – Data
As most engineers are data driven, so are we. Below you will find detailed data – all sortable, filterable, and graphed – on every engineering related occupation in the United States. Our data is gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and combined with US Census Bureau data. It is hand-edited, and we have put hours of work into being able to easily display this throughout our website.
Engineering Occupations - Wages, Employment, and Projections
|Engineering Occupation||Average Annual Salary||Projected % Job Growth - 2012-2022||Projected # Jobs Added - 2012-2022|
|Aerospace Engineering & Operations||$64,310||-0.40%||2,000|
|Airline Pilots & Flight Engineers||$131,760||-6.60%||19,000|
|Architectural & Engineering Managers||$138,720||6.70%||61,000|
|Civil Engineering Technicians||$50,290||0.60%||16,000|
|Computer Hardware Engineers||$110,650||7.40%||24,000|
|Electrical & Electronics Engineering Tech||$60,330||0%||30,000|
|Engineers, All Other||$96,350||3.80%||30,000|
|Environmental Engineering Tech||$51,030||18.40%||7,000|
|Health & Safety Engineers||$84,850||11%||10,000|
|Industrial Engineering Tech||$55,660||-3.20%||14,000|
|Mechanical Engineering Tech||$55,470||4.70%||12,000|
|Mining & Geological Engineers||$100,970||12%||3,000|
|Rail Yard Engineers||$44,810||2.40%||2,000|
|Sound Engineering Tech||$58,670||0.70%||3,000|
If you are looking for a stable and enriching career It’s important to not only consider the highest paid engineering jobs available, but also the engineering fields with the best potential for advancement and employment opportunities. In industries where demand outstrips availability you will find the highest potential earnings along with job security.
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers: Engineer salaries expected to rise – Source
- National Society of Professional Engineers: Engineering Salaries Rise – Source
- US News and World Report: Best Paying STEM Jobs: Engineering – Source
- Forbes: The College Degrees With The Highest Starting Salaries in 2015 – Source
- Michigan Technological University 2015 Engineering Salary Statistics – Source
- PayScale Highest Paying Bachelor Degrees by Salary Potential – Source
- U.S. Department of Labor Statistics Salary Sources: