It is not a secret that engineering programs stand quite high on top of the list of best-paying degrees, regardless of where in the world you live. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the different engineering degrees and disciplines, what they entail, and which tend to provide you with a higher engineering salary.
Keep in mind that all the data is based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest reported numbers. You may also want to take a look at the seven most in-demand types of engineers to get a better feel for the right engineering job opportunities upon your graduation.
13. Architectural Engineer - $50,000 - $90,400
Architectural engineers are responsible for ensuring that the buildings we live in will not take any structural, environmental damage or collapse in a few years and provide the residents with acceptable living standards such as proper lighting, heating, air conditioning, and plumbing. Building a career in Architectural Engineering means dividing your time between working with a variety of CAD software in the office and construction sites.
To be successful as an architectural engineer, you need good communication skills and be able to work well with other architectural engineers as well as civil engineers and the construction crew. Although soft skills requirements are lower in comparison to some other engineering professions, this is still a fantastic career path, especially if you love designing and building various structures.
12. Biomedical Engineer - $50,600 to $92,200
One of the sub-specialties, currently in high demand, is the biomedical engineering degree which is focused on developing medical devices and building biological solutions through technology. Biomedical engineers can choose to work at hospitals, engineering consulting firms, or medical device manufacturing and supply companies.
The 2020 pandemic caused by COVID-19 has created more demand in the job market for biomedical engineers. The biomedical engineering salary naturally goes up when there is more demand and less supply. So, consider this when negotiating your entry salary or promotion. If you already have an engineering degree in the biomedical or biological engineering field, you are right where you need to be to build a brighter future.
11. Civil Engineer – $51,100 - $93,400
Civil engineering graduates are in high demand these days and likely will stay on top of an employer's needs because every big city needs roads, bridges, as well as various transportation facilities, and this is where civil engineers get the most employment opportunities. Embarking on a career in civil engineering takes on a journey to learn how to build all sorts of different buildings and infrastructure components as well as protecting the environment by designing and implementing environmentally friendly projects.
Civil engineering salary may not be the highest, depending on project and location, but its job security is high when you develop advanced skills. This is truer nowadays that many baby boomer civil engineers are retiring at a rapid pace, leaving the younger civil engineers to take on the new responsibilities in civil infrastructure development initiatives through our cities.
10. Mechanical Engineer - $52,500 - $101,600
The type of work and salary of a mechanical engineer vary at times and in different locations. However, since recent years when mechanical engineers began developing software-oriented systems, they are finding better opportunities for advancement.
Building a career in mechanical engineering can include anything from designing small automation solutions to the development of large industrial plants and autonomous vehicles. Mechanical engineers are needed in most industries and can be involved in all aspects of work from research and development to manufacturing, management, and production.
If you’re seeking to build skills that clearly separate you from the competition, then, begin to hone your software development or data analysis skills. You can begin by learning a coding language so that you can get a hold of the basics of process automation. When you enhance your skill set, employers look at your drive for success as well as an aptitude for learning new skills, which makes you an irresistible candidate.
9. Electrical Engineer - $55,000 - $105,000
Despite what some people might think, it is a super exciting career that gives you direct access to cutting-edge technologies. Everyone who is interested in an electrical engineering career needs to keep up with the latest technological advancements which are a challenging part of this field, however, it’s also the reason why you can make so much money as an electrical engineer.
Experienced professionals working in the United States can get quite a nice compensation based on the level of technical knowledge and experience in the field. Some companies pay higher salaries than others, so if you are interested in a particular product or niche, then target those employers and ensure to express your deep desire for becoming an electrical engineer – don’t forget to tell your stories of how you got to develop your passion and enthusiasm to become an electrical engineer.
8. Aerospace Engineer -$58,000 - $107,900
Building a career in aerospace engineering involves doing a wide array of engineering and development tasks ranging from designing parts of aircraft to manufacturing missiles. Aerospace engineering seems quite interesting to study and work in, especially if you grew up with a love for the sky and the stars. Since every aerospace product is completely different, most aerospace engineers focus on just one whether it be satellites, missiles, or commercial planes.
Bear in mind that these positions are usually affiliated with national programs and support, so you will have a close connection with the public sector.
7. Computer Engineer - $58,800 - $112,600
Just think of Mark Zuckerberg and all your questions will vanish in the air. Computer science and computer engineering professionals get paid a lot of money for their labor. Employers are prepared to pay a high annual salary even for college graduates from a computer science or computer engineering program.
The employers in the US and around the world, compensate computer engineers differently and they will base your computer engineering salary on several factors. So, it is worth getting familiar with different data points to have an idea of how much you should expect your engineering salary to be. I recommend you also check Glassdoor Salary as well as the LinkedIn Salary databases to get a solid understanding of how much money computer engineers make in the US or in the company that you desire to join.
6. Chemical Engineer - $65,000 - $116,000
Chemical engineering graduates can expect to start off with about 65K a year. However, if you're planning to work in another country, then you should know that chemical engineering salaries in different countries. Chemical engineers’ responsibilities involve design, development, and production of various products and chemical processes.
If you like chemical engineering, you can choose any niche or product you are interested in, including; pharmaceuticals, energy, food and drink, oil and gas, or plastics. There is a good chance you’ll be able to build a career in these fields.
5. Nuclear Engineer - $67,000 - $118,000
Working with nuclear energy, these engineers deal with the research and development of power generation systems, power storage equipment, and electro-mechanical tools for putting nuclear resources to use, for example, in the fields of medicine and industrial engineering.
Nuclear engineering services are highly sought after (regardless of whether you have a masters or bachelors degree) but is one of the riskier engineering careers you can find, perhaps because the number of locations and businesses that actively hire nuclear engineers isn’t as high as other engineering disciplines, such as mechanical engineering. When considering all the general engineering salaries worldwide, make sure to pay closer attention to nuclear engineering job postings could go by unnoticed.
4. Petroleum Engineer - $100,000 and higher
The most appealing science degree in terms of money is petroleum engineering. As you have already guessed by its name, petroleum engineers search for natural reservoirs of oil and gas resources and then help mine it using standardized engineering methods. If you are considering studying this type of engineering, don’t forget that knowledge of chemistry, math, and geology are also needed.
Nevertheless, if you’re starting your career as a petroleum engineer, you must know that the average annual salaries provided by a company are more than enough to justify the intellectual investment. At the same time, it is a real challenge!
3. Big Data Engineer - $140,000 - $180,000
With technology quickly evolving, organizations have substantial amounts of data to sort through. Big data engineers create the infrastructure to manage, collect, store, and analyze the data for the company to access. This job often requires a degree in computer science or at least a good deal of software engineering experience.
If you are looking for a field that will continue to grow and be in high-demand, data engineering is a safe bet. Especially since we entered the world of COVID-19, healthcare demands have been on the rise.
2. Environmental Engineer - $55,000 - $140,000
This is a great career path for someone who is passionate about protecting the environment and maintaining soil, water, and air quality. A bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering or a related degree such as general, civil, or chemical engineering is what it takes to enter this profession. The environmental engineering salaries are also affected by the location or company you work in.
There are plenty of opportunities for environmental engineers in civil consulting engineering companies as well as construction firms, but you can also pursue a career in the public sector, which will offer more long term job security.
1. Systems Engineer - $60,000 - $75,000
Systems engineers manage and maintain electro-mechanical products and technology systems within an organization, such as security, email, disaster recovery, and networking. Because of technology's role in the world, this is another good option, although, the pay range may not be as high as other engineering disciplines.
No matter which engineering discipline you decide to pursue, with dedication and hard work, you are sure to make yourself a rewarding career.