Education

What Type Of Engineer Makes The Most Money

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 15 minute read

An engineering profession may be a good fit if your ideal work entails addressing real-world issues and making a difference.

As a solution architect, you’ll use scientific and mathematical ideas to come up with creative solutions of various types.

Engineers comprehend theory and computations, but their concentration is on applying these approaches to real-world problems and possibilities.

There are a wide variety of engineering occupations, each with particular income potential and path to the profession. On this page, we’ve included the top ten highest-paying engineering positions.

Preparing for the Most Desirable Engineering Positions

Engineering requires a bachelor’s degree at the very least if you want to work in the field. Some engineering positions require a master’s degree, while others don’t require one at all. Engineering students require a solid foundation in math and science. 

In addition to engineering concepts, many engineering majors are required to take coursework in science fields such as physics, biology, and chemistry, as well as math courses such as linear algebra, differential equations, and calculus.

Engineering Jobs with the Highest Pay, Ranked

1. Engineer for Petroleum

The highest-paying engineering position is that of a petroleum engineer. There was a median annual pay of $130,850 recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for petroleum engineers in 2021.

Among the best-paying industries for this vocation, management of firms and enterprises, the median compensation was $165,480. Median wages for all of the highest-earning top job industries were still $123,820.

The highest-earning 10% of petroleum engineers earned more than $208,000 a year in 2021, while the lowest 10% earned less than $78,390, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What are the responsibilities of petroleum engineers?

Getting fuel from oil and gas sources under the Earth’s surface is the primary goal of petroleum engineers.

Engineers working in the oil and gas industry are responsible for developing the extraction strategy, constructing the necessary apparatus, and analyzing the outcomes of extraction activities. 

Oil and gas extraction, mining support operations, petroleum and coal product manufacturing, and engineering services are just a few of the areas where petroleum engineers are needed to get the job done.

Petrochemical engineering studies

Many petroleum engineering programs include at least one course on energy production and the environment because of the tight connection between these two subjects.

Mechanics of solids and statics are just two examples of general engineering mechanics that are studied in a petroleum engineering curriculum. 

Additionally, thermodynamics and phase behavior, as well as petrophysics and the physical characteristics of petroleum fluids, are important.

The foundations of geology and sedimentary rocks, as well as studies in geostatistics, are generally included in petroleum engineering courses.

Prospective petroleum engineers will also study rock formation evaluation, resource economics, and value in the petroleum business, reservoir engineering, reservoir geomechanics, drilling and well completions, and petroleum engineering production technologies and design. 

Expect to learn about geosystem design, transport phenomena, and engineering challenges in the field of geosystems.

2. Engineer in Aerospace

A median income of $122,270 is expected for aerospace engineers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2021.

Workers in aerospace engineering who made less than $77,440 per year were outnumbered by those who earned more than $168,370.

Manufacturing of aerospace products and parts accounted for 33% of the total employment of aerospace engineers, with a median salary of $126,780.

Pay for aerospace engineers who focus on research and development within the physical and biological sciences area is greatest, with an average income of $128,020.

Engineering services, which employed 18 percent of all aerospace engineers, paid the least of all of the major job categories. However, the industry’s median compensation of $120,640 was still at the six-figure level.

What is the role of an Aerospace Engineer?

Engineers in the field of aerospace design creative solutions for airplanes and spacecraft. As a whole, aerospace engineering includes everything from the actual aircraft and spacecraft structures to the propulsion systems, navigation controls, instruments, and communications systems that keep these vehicles in operation.

It is common for an aircraft engineer to specialize in one area of expertise. Aerospace engineering careers can be further categorized into two subcategories.

In contrast to aeronautical engineers, astronautical engineers focus on spaceships and other vehicles that are designed to operate both inside and beyond the Earth’s atmosphere in other words, in space.

Aerospace Engineering coursework

Mechanics pertaining to motion and force are a key topic for aeronautical engineers. Spacecraft aerodynamics, low-speed aerodynamics, and flight dynamics are all common topics for aerospace engineering students to study.

Studying compressible flow in this engineering degree program is very widespread. Electrical and electromechanical systems, feedback control systems, and linear systems are some of the other topics covered in an aeronautical engineering bachelor’s degree.

Students pursuing a career in aerospace engineering must also be familiar with the qualities and performance of aircraft materials.

3. Engineer for Computer 

At the top of the wage scale for engineers are positions in computer engineering and information systems.

Computer hardware engineer is the most prevalent position in the field of computer engineering, however, the work of software engineers is also heavily influenced by computer technology.

This year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a median compensation of $128,170 for computer hardware engineers. The average pay for software engineers was $110,140 in positions such as software developers.

What are the responsibilities of computer engineers?

They are electrical engineers that specialize in the electrical equipment that is utilized in computers. Engineers in the field of computer hardware design the physical components of computers, such as circuit boards and memory devices.

Designing and building computer programs and software applications are at the heart of the field of software engineering.

Software engineers are typically more concerned with the design and development of computer programs and applications than they are with the actual construction of computer hardware. 

Software engineers, on the other hand, work at a higher degree of abstraction than their hardware counterparts.

Rather than writing computer code, software engineers construct precise designs for how a software product should work.

Computer Engineering academic coursework

In order to specialize in hardware or software development, computer engineers must take a variety of courses.

Electrical and electronic systems are the primary focus of hardware engineers, whereas computer science and sophisticated programming abilities are the primary focus of software engineers.

4. Engineer in Nuclear 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nuclear engineers will earn an average of $120,380 in 2021.

The top ten percent of nuclear engineers make more than $169,000 a year, while the worst ten percent make less than $75,460 a year in this profession.

The federal government, which accounts for 18 percent of the workforce in nuclear engineering, is the lowest-paying of these major job sectors.

Nuclear engineers in this field make an average yearly salary of $100,650, slightly shy of the six-figure level. 

In the scientific research and development services business, the highest median wage was recorded by nuclear engineers approximately 15 percent of the profession.

What is a Nuclear Engineer’s Role?

Nuclear engineers are the people responsible for the creation and production of nuclear energy and radiation. Because of this, they have a significant impact on energy generation.

They are also responsible for medical applications of radiation, including diagnostic imaging procedures that utilize radiation to see the inside of the body and radiation-based therapies for illnesses like cancer.

Unfortunately, the present career picture for nuclear engineers is bleak. Over the next decade, the BLS predicts that the number of employees in this profession will fall by 8%.

This compares to the overall job growth of 8 percent and the 7 percent growth rate for engineering careers. To succeed in this sector, you must be willing to face a very competitive employment market.

Nuclear Engineering coursework

An introduction to nuclear engineering is frequently the first course in this degree program. Nuclear reactor theory and design, nuclear plant systems, nuclear engineering systems design, experiments in nuclear engineering, and materials for nuclear energy applications are all part of this major.

In nuclear engineering, more than one of the primary engineering disciplines is included in the field’s overall structure.

Electrical engineering, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, statics, particle dynamics, and electricity and magnetism are some of the topics that students may expect to learn about.

5. Engineer in Chemicals

A chemical engineer is another of the six-figure engineering occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for chemical engineers in 2021 will be $105,550.

Over $187,430 per year was reported by 10% of chemical engineers, while less than $62,730 per year was recorded by 10% of those in the same field of work.

A chemical engineer’s salary depends heavily on where he or she works. The BLS reported median pay of $152,430 for jobs in engineering services, which account for 10% of the chemical engineering workforce.

Chemical engineers earn the least in the pharmaceutical and medicine production sector, which employs 3% of the profession’s workforce. This industry is expected to bring in $96,220 per year in 2021.

What do chemical engineers perform?

When it comes to the creation of novel chemicals and chemical processes, chemical engineers combine their knowledge of chemistry and the other life and natural sciences as well as their engineering skills to come up with creative solutions.

Chemical engineers are involved in a wide range of items, from food, medicine, and textiles to fuel, energy generation, and electronics, all of which include chemicals.

Chemical Engineers’ Coursework

Students interested in a career in chemical engineering should know that they will need to complete additional courses in chemistry, including courses in physical chemistry, organic chemistry, chemical practice, and an advanced level of chemical principles.

Chemical engineering materials, the design and operation of the chemical engineering process, chemical engineering analysis, biochemical engineering, separation processes, and mass transfer and transport processes are among the topics covered in specialized courses for future chemical engineers.

Additional training in chemical reactor design and analysis is recommended for students.

6. Electrotechnical Engineer

The median pay for electrical and electronic engineers in 2021 was $101,780, according to the BLS. The BLS also makes a distinction between the occupational titles of an electrical engineer and electronic engineer.

To put it another way: by 2021, electronics engineers will make $104,820 more on average than electrical engineers. 

The highest-paid 10% of electronics engineers earned more than $166,890, and the lowest-paid 10% earned less than $73,630.

Electrical engineers in the 90th percentile earned more than $162,930 a year, while those in the 10th percentile earned less than $62,360.

The navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing business is the most lucrative for electronics engineers, with median compensation of $ 128,560 per year.

This field’s lowest-paying top employer, telecommunications, with a median income of $100,290 per year in 2013. 

Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences industries is the highest-paying engineering profession for electrical engineers, with an average income of $125,080. 

The lowest-paying top employment industry for electrical engineers, and engineering services, received a median compensation of $99,330.

Electrical and electronics engineers may expect to make six-figure salaries during the duration of their careers. Some even make more than that.

What are the responsibilities of electrical engineers?

When it comes to electrical and electronic systems, there is a lot of overlap between the two specialties.

Both fields are connected with electricity in some form, but an electrical engineer is normally more focused on the generation and distribution of electrical power on a wider scale, whereas an electronics engineer is typically more focused on electronic devices and equipment.

Engineers in the closely related fields of electrical engineering and electronics engineering are primarily responsible for developing new products, equipment, or processes for use in electrical systems or electronic devices.

Electrical Engineering coursework

In order to graduate with a degree in electrical engineering, students should anticipate studying courses in the principles of electric circuits, electronic devices, and energy.

Electrical engineering bachelor’s degree programs frequently require students to complete coursework in digital logic design and microcontroller design.

It is important for electrical engineering students to understand electromagnetics in wireless systems, continuous and discrete signals, and systems.

7. Engineer for Biomedical

In 2021, the BLS estimated the median pay for bioengineers and biomedical engineers to be $97,410. Biomedical engineers may expect to make well over $100,000 per year.

Though just 10% of biomedical engineers make less than $60,680 a year, the top 10% of earners in the sector make over $154,750 annually.

At $108,690, the median compensation of bioengineers employed in the production of navigational equipment was more than that of any other top-paying occupation.

With a median salary of $62,650, bioengineers employed by colleges and universities were the lowest paid.

What is it that biomedical engineers do?

An engineer specializing in biomedical engineering designs and develops solutions based on medical knowledge.

U.S. News & World Report has listed biomedical engineering as one of the finest STEM careers for many biomedical engineers because of their desire to serve others and make a difference.

The work of biomedical engineers includes the development of diagnostic and therapeutic tools, equipment, and procedures.

Biomedical Engineering coursework.

Professionals in biomedical engineering and innovation must first have a thorough understanding of the human body and its processes. Anatomy and physiology of the human body are all included in this broad field of study.

It is also helpful for students of biomedical engineering to take courses in topics like biomechanics, cardiovascular mechanics, transport, and biokinetics.

Biomedical signal and imaging, biomaterials and computation, bioimaging, tissue engineering, and immune engineering are some of the specializations in this subject.

8. Geoscientists and Engineers

For mining and geological engineers in 2021, the BLS stated that the median pay was $98,090. While the highest-earning workers in this industry made more than $162,720 per year, the lowest-earning workers earned less than $48,690.

A median yearly wage of $95,300 was earned by geological engineering experts working in metal ore mining, one of the lowest-paying industries.

The average income for geological engineers in the oil and gas extraction business is $131,020.

What is it that geological engineers do?

Mineral deposits are located under the Earth’s surface by geological engineers, who then devise plans for their exploitation. Geotechnical engineers create a variety of mines and processes for extracting minerals from the earth.

Geological Engineering coursework

Structural geology, minerals, crystallography, stratigraphy, and sedimentation, as well as igneous and metamorphic petrology and rock mechanics, are all necessary prerequisites for anybody interested in a career in geological engineering.

In addition, students should have a solid foundation in fluid mechanics, metallurgical thermodynamics, engineering geophysics, and computer-aided design (CAD).

Graduates in geological engineering should learn about geotechnical engineering, petroleum drilling, and production and environmental geoengineering during their studies.

Aspiring geological engineers should take advantage of fieldwork and hands-on design projects to get vital experience.

9. Engineer in Mechanical

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median income for mechanical engineers in 2021 was $95,300. With an average salary of $136,210, mechanical engineers are among the highest-paid workers in the country.

Only $102,050 was paid to mechanical engineers by scientific research and development services, while only $79,770 was given to mechanical engineers who worked in the equipment manufacturing business.

What are the responsibilities of mechanical engineers?

Almost every application of engineering that involves movement or motion may be classified as mechanical in scope.

For example, biological applications of mechanical engineering might include robotics, automobile engines, electricity grids, and other mechanical systems.

Mechanical engineering academic coursework

Students in mechanical engineering programs learn about computer-aided design processes, material characteristics, thermodynamics, the transmission of heat and energy, and the mechanics of matter – both fluids and solids – in a comprehensive course of study.

There are several optional courses in mechanical engineering that allow students to focus on specific fields, such as robots or motor vehicles, as well as machine theory and engineering design.

10. Engineer in Civil

In addition to civil engineering, environmental engineering is a subfield of civil engineering. The median salary for civil engineers in 2021 was $88,050, while the median salary for environmental engineers was $96,820.

What are the responsibilities of civil engineers?

Roads, bridges, and buildings are all in the purview of civil engineers, who specialize in both planning and construction.

Environmental engineering is a subdiscipline that focuses on engineering design work that is utilized to tackle environmental issues.

A few examples of the types of systems environmental engineers work on are renewable energy generation and garbage disposal.

Civil Engineering academic work

Courses in civil engineering include courses in statics and dynamics, structural engineering, and structural analysis, as well as soil mechanics and hydrology.

Environmental engineering can be a specialization within civil engineering or a standalone degree program that focuses on environmental sustainability and the chemical and microbiological concepts of environmental engineering.

Coursework in environmental science, including soil science, and rules on environmental protection are required in environmental engineering degrees.

Other Forms of Engineering Professions

As far as technical professions go, they aren’t the only ones. Agricultural engineers, materials engineers, and industrial engineers are more options.

According to the professional description, an agricultural engineer specializes in finding solutions to problems in farming and agriculture.

Product, process, and technological innovations in the field of agricultural engineering may be developed by agricultural engineers. 

While agricultural engineers’ employment growth is anticipated to be slower than normal between 2020 and 2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that this occupation has a median compensation of $82,640 per year in 2021.

Engineering materials engineers study raw materials and current combinations of materials in order to find new ways to utilize them in their work.

To tackle difficulties in medical, building, computer technology, and even sports, materials engineers work with current materials to create new compounds. 

Additionally, materials engineers may devise more effective techniques for processing and testing materials, resulting in reduced loss of time, product, energy, or money.

There were 25,100 materials engineers in the United States in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

The typical salary for materials engineers was $98,300 per year as of 2021. Despite the fact that materials engineers may expect an 8% job growth rate over the next ten years, such an increase would only result in 2,100 new positions.

With a projected job growth rate of 14 percent between 2020 and 2030, industrial engineering was one of the most sought-after engineering careers in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Industrial engineers are concerned with enhancing the efficiency of manufacturing and industrial operations. In 2021, the BLS predicted that industrial engineers would earn an average income of $95,520.

Engineering Management Positions

The highest-paying engineering career in engineering management, which you may pursue if you wish to move up from any of these positions.

Engineering managers are responsible for both project management and supervision. In the year 2020, the average yearly compensation for engineering managers was estimated to be $152,350 dollars.

There is a demand for talented engineers to take on managerial responsibilities in all technical fields. A master’s degree is often required for aspiring engineering managers.

Graduate programs in engineering management emphasize the development of leadership and administrative abilities among its students.

What are the top engineering professions?

In order to compile our list of the highest-paying engineering positions, we looked just at the median annual salary for each position.

The opportunity to make a good living, or simply a good life, is a crucial aspect when deciding on a job, but money should not be your only concern.

As a whole, engineering positions pay significantly more than the average for all occupations. The BLS reported median annual pay of $79,840 for all architectural and engineering positions.

To put it in perspective, the BLS estimated that in 2021 the average wage for the whole workforce in the United States would be $58,260. In terms of an hourly rate, the national average is $28.01.

While some engineering careers pay more than others, all of them provide considerable earning potential and the ability to utilize your knowledge and talents for real-world innovation, not simply academic and theoretical contemplations.

All of the occupations in engineering. However, earning potential that surpasses the national average income has no negative impact on workplace happiness, even if high salaries don’t necessarily correlate with high levels of job satisfaction,

As you consider a career in engineering, think about what kinds of technical talents you love utilizing on a regular basis and what kinds of issues you’re most eager to solve. It’s a question of preference.

Do you like manufacturing circuits out of real stuff, or creating computer programs from computer code? Climate change and other environmental challenges, or public health issues, are you more interested in addressing? 

Do you like to develop computers, test medication therapies, build planes and boats for space exploration, find safe methods of using and safeguarding important yet dangerous materials, or design building projects?

There is no one correct response to any of these questions. Fortunately, the 10 highest-paying engineering occupations contain a wide range of specializations, each of which needs a distinct set of technical abilities.

Demand for various engineering occupations

Additionally, what else should you keep in mind while deciding on a profession in the engineering field? Consider the employment market and expected growth rates, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

It might be beneficial to know ahead of time if a profession is increasing at an average, above-average, or below-average rate so that you can better prepare for your career.

The most in-demand engineering positions in 2020 were rising at above-average rates, while the employment prognosis for many engineering roles was commensurate with the average growth rate.

However, some technical positions, such as nuclear engineers, were predicted to experience a considerable reduction in employment possibilities between 2020 and 2030.

Your Individual and Professional Goals

Employees should anticipate spending a third of their time at work (on workdays). Choosing a career that excites you is the best way to spend the majority of your waking life.

There are many different kinds of engineers, but they all use the same basic tools: mathematics and the natural and physical sciences.

Building blueprints, circuit boards, chemical solutions, and machine assembly are all examples of what you may do in this field.

Do you have any misgivings about working in the oil and mining sectors, or do you prefer to solve environmental problems? 

However, these aims aren’t mutually incompatible, since petroleum engineers and mining and geological engineers frequently attempt to increase the efficiency of this activity and minimize its negative impact on the natural environment. 

Engineers are shaping the future, thus prospective engineers should think about both the broad picture and the minutiae of what a typical day of work will look like while picking their career path.

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