Regardless of what products you buy and use, somewhere in the design and manufacture process involves at least an engineer of one type or another – sometimes many different types of engineers each working on their own piece of the total project.
Top 7 Engineering Careers with the Highest Salaries
However, like most of the STEM fields, there is a shortage of engineers. So, if you are undecided about a career and analytical by nature, studying to become an engineer would be a great career choice. And it can also be one of top paying majors of the STEM fields. While there are many different types of engineers, here are the seven that pay the most, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
1. Petroleum engineering
- Median Pay – $130,850
- Projected Growth – 8%
- Employment Change (2020 – 2030) – 2,200
Even as alternative and renewable energies are growing, make no mistake about it, the world still runs on oil (and will continue to do so for at least a couple of decades to come). Just look at our fuel prices!
In this job, petroleum engineers look for methods to improve the discovery, extraction, transportation, and refinement of crude petroleum and natural gas. Jobs in this field can be working in an oilfield, on pipeline construction, in an oil refinery, or doing environmental response.
2. Industrial engineering
- Median Pay – $95,300
- Projected Growth – 14%
- Employment Change (2020 – 2030) – 40,000
This type of engineer examines how companies can improve both their production efficiency and use of resources to create the most efficient (and profitable) production line in their business. This includes examining how workers, machines, materials and energy all affect production and how to best tailor these resources to lower the cost of a product while still maintaining the quality.
3. Biomedical engineering
- Median Pay – $97,410
- Projected Growth – 6%
- Employment Change (2020 – 2030) – 1,100
This type of engineer uses engineering principles, along with science, to design and create devices used in conjunction mainly with the human body. Although there is also some biomedical engineering done for animals.
Jobs in this field and range from designing software to run medical equipment, to making replacement parts for the body – both internal and external.
Biomedical engineers can also specialize into, biochemical, bioinstrumentation, biomaterials, clinical, genetic, rehabilitation and systems physiology.
4. Chemical engineering
- Median Pay – $105,550
- Projected Growth – 9%
- Employment Change (2020 – 2030) – 2,400
Chemical engineers focus on the experimentation, design, fabrication, and mass production of chemical compounds. They not only do they use chemistry during the course of their work, but also biology, physics, and of course, math. Jobs can range from working with fuels, food, drugs … basically anything that is made from a combination of chemicals.
5. Marine engineering
- Median Pay- $93,370
- Projected Growth – 4%
- Employment Change (2020 – 2030) – 400
Marine engineers use engineering principles to design, build and maintain ships that operate both on the water and underneath. Their work usually involves designing and building the systems on a ship, such as propulsion, electrical, refrigeration and steering. A subbranch, known as naval architecture, work on designing the form, structure and stability of the hull itself.
6. Aerospace engineering
- Median Pay- $122,270
- Projected Growth – 8%
- Employment Change (2020 – 2030) – 5,100
Aerospace engineers design and test machines that fly, including aircraft, spacecraft, satellites and missiles. As in many other engineering fields, this type of engineer can specialize in fluid flow, structure, guidance, navigation, control, propulsion and instrumentation.
Aerospace engineers often are also experts in related fields, like thermodynamics, materials, celestial mechanics and acoustics … just to name a few of the specialization fields.
7. Environmental engineering
- Median Pay- $96,820
- Projected Growth – 4%
- Employment Change (2020 – 2030) – 1,900
This type of engineer not only uses the principles of engineering as one would expect, but they also use soil science, biology and chemistry to come up with solutions to environmental issues.
Typical jobs vary from working on hazardous waste management, designing more efficient wastewater treatment systems, studying climate change and minimizing ozone depletion … basically anything that can, does or will affect our environment.
Engineering Offers Many Different Career Options
Gone are the days of students mainly choosing to become a civil, mechanical or electrical engineer. Now there are numerous other engineering fields and specializations to choose from, making the field more exciting (and rewarding) than ever.