Engineering Careers

by Jordan Fabel | Last Updated: September 14, 2021

You might want to go into one of these engineering careers because of the high pay. However, this field can also bring quite a bit of satisfaction. A recent survey showed that about 87% of professional engineers were satisfied or very satisfied with their careers.

Those with math and science skills can find plenty of happiness in an engineering career. The right degree and the right training can get you a career you can enjoy.

While choosing a career path is very important, there are many things to consider. The salary, job satisfaction, growth potential, and other factors, to name a few. First, let’s look at some of the top engineering careers.

Careers in Engineering

How to Become an Engineer

If you want to become an engineer, you’ll need the right education and training. An entry-level job in engineering will require a bachelor’s degree. While the preferred degree will be in engineering, a degree in mathematics or physical science might also work for some specialties. You can specialize in a specific area of engineering, as well.

After getting the proper degree, the right license will also be necessary to become an engineer. Passing the state license exams is required, as well. Four years of relevant work experience is also helpful, and your college degree needs to come from an ABET program.

You can advance in your engineering career as you gain more experience. Many engineers start as technicians or with entry-level positions and move up over time.

Highest-Paying Careers in Engineering

Big Data Engineer

With big data becoming a massive industry, engineers in this field have plenty of opportunities. Structuring complex data sets is vital. Big data engineers do exactly that to create system architecture.

If you’re interested in enabling others to utilize and interpret data, this is the career for you. A big data engineer comes with a very high salary. The average salary is about $155K for this engineering career.

Petroleum Engineer

As a petroleum engineer, your job will be to help develop ways to extract natural gas and petroleum from the ground. This career will also work to help create cleaner energy from the materials extracted.

This growing field is expected to grow faster than many other engineering fields over the next ten years. The average salary for a petroleum engineer comes in around $132K.

Aerospace Engineer

Maybe you truly want to say you’re a rocket scientist. A career in aerospace engineering means you will work with aircraft, missiles, satellites, and spacecraft. You could have been dreaming of a job like this since you were a young child. The average salary for this high-paying career is about $113K per year.

Systems Engineer

Managing the technical infrastructure of a business is the job of a systems engineer. You’ll work with both the software and the hardware to ensure the business can move forward without an issue.

Systems engineers need to have good communication skills. They also need to work with technical information. The average salary for a systems engineer comes in around $104K per year.

Electrical Engineer

As an electrical engineer, you can work in many different industries. This type of engineering career gives you the ability to earn a high salary and work with electronic and electrical components.

Depending on the industry you go into, you might work with radars, navigation systems, or electrical motors. You could be in charge of developing communications systems, too.

The average annual salary for an electrical engineer is just under $100K.

Environmental Engineer

Are you interested in helping to save the earth? Maybe you try to live a very environmentally-friendly life, and you want to take it further. This is one of the engineering careers you can feel good about.

Environmental engineers work in construction, earth science, biology, and many other fields. They work to help preserve nature and develop solutions to issues in the environment.

The average salary for an environmental engineer is about $87K per year.

Nuclear Engineer

A rather unique field, nuclear engineering is one of the highest-paying engineering careers. You’ll work to develop and design tools and instruments to help use nuclear energy properly.

As a nuclear engineer, you’ll work at a nuclear energy facility. It’s a complex job and provides plenty of satisfaction for those looking for a challenge. This engineering career pays about $106K per year, on average.

Entry-Level Engineering Careers

Biomedical Engineer

Designing prosthetic limbs, 3D-printed organs, and EMT equipment is the job of a biomedical engineer. This is a very forward-thinking area in the healthcare industry.

Maybe you would love to invent something that will help people. If this is the case, biomedical engineering is one of the top choices. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to enter into this job.

As a biomedical engineer, you won’t need a license or certification, but the hands-on experience can help. The average salary for this position is about $88K, but most entry-level positions will start closer to $50K to $60K.

As you advance in biomedical engineering, you can make a much higher salary. The top 10% in this field make more than $144K per year.

Civil Engineering

As a civil engineer, you will likely work on construction projects. This could include buildings, tunnels, dams, roads, or even bridges. You’ll be responsible for evaluating the building site and the materials.

A civil engineer needs to understand the big picture of the project. While this is the case, you’ll also need to be very detail-oriented.

Civil engineers will need at least a bachelor’s degree. However, many employers will prefer graduate degrees. It’s also necessary to get the right license if you want to move into a senior position.

Environmental Engineer Technician

In this career path, you’ll execute the plans of the environmental engineer. This might include helping to reduce pollution or protect the environment.

It’s common for this career to include plenty of time in a lab. You might be testing water samples or stocking the lab with supplies. You will also be out in the field quite a bit, collecting samples.

The average salary for an environmental engineering technician is about $50K per year. You’ll be a part of a team and a part of cleaning up pollution with this entry-level engineering career.

Chemical Engineer

If you want to work in pharmaceuticals as an engineer, you want to become a chemical engineer. This engineering career path also works in food processing and industrial chemicals. You’ll likely work on the process of manufacturing new chemicals.

Chemical engineers may work with the safety protocols and work to establish the right manufacturing operations. In addition, you’ll likely do routine tests and troubleshoot existing processes and equipment.

The average salary for a chemical engineer is about $93K per year.

More Engineering Careers to Consider

Computer Engineer

Another engineering career to consider is the field of computer engineering. This field includes working with the hardware and software used in computers. For example, you might work with computer games, security systems, or even business applications.

This type of professional is also in charge of troubleshooting and maintaining the existing systems. In addition, you might be working with specific upgrades to help keep the company running well.

The average salary for a computer engineer is about $84K.

Marine Engineer

As a marine engineer, you’ll get to work with some unique equipment. For example, you might work in the water with tankers, aircraft carriers, submarines, or sailboats. You’ll likely work with the electrical, propulsion, refrigeration, and steering systems of these ships.

While the architectural portion of the ships will be the job of the naval architect, as an engineer, you’ll work with the other systems. The average salary for this position is about $80K per year.

Cartographer

This might not seem like an engineering position, but it’s one of the most unique you will find. This position requires a bachelor’s degree. You’ll work with maps and GPS technology.

There aren’t many jobs in this specific area of expertise, but you can earn an average salary of around $65K. As a cartographer, you’ll help people get from point A to point B easier.

What Employers Look For

Most employers want to hire engineers with strong communication and organizational skills. It’s necessary to be able to self-motivate, and most engineers should be very detail-oriented.

Along with the training and the education, engineers should also have the right active listening skills and critical thinking skills. An aptitude for science and math is rather important, too.

Still Considering a Career as an Engineer?

Becoming an engineer can be a very fulfilling career. It can offer a great option for those with skills in math and science. There are many specialties within the engineering field and many careers to choose from.

Before deciding what to major in or which area of engineering to specialize in, make sure you consider the options. There are several great engineering careers to choose from on this list and many others available.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path. I, personally, am the high school dropout son of two teacher parents. So how did I get here? That story is coming soon!