Highest-Paying Jobs for Engineers

When you spend years in colleges and universities studying to be the best, you want to make sure that the salary can justify any student loan debt you incur.

The field of engineering offers numerous ways to pay back your student loans and create a very comfortable life for yourself with your degrees in hand.

Much like any other field, there are a number of careers in engineering to choose from, and each presents its own salary. What are the best engineering jobs that can score you the largest paycheck possible?

In order to help you prepare for what’s to come after your degrees, AdvisoryHQ put together this engineering jobs list for the highest-paying engineering careers. If you want to know how much you could make and what your job responsibilities would be, all you need to do is take a closer look at these best engineering jobs in the detailed review sections below.

Where will your education take you when it comes to engineering careers? Find out what you could be qualified to do in the breakdown below.

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6 Best Engineering Jobs | Brief Comparison

Engineering Careers

Median Annual Wage

Median Hourly Wage

Aerospace Engineer$107,830$51.84
Chemical Engineer$97,360$46.81
Computer Engineer$111,730$53.72
Materials Engineer$91,310$43.90
Nuclear Engineer$102,950$49.49
Petroleum Engineer$129,990$62.49

Table: Top 6 Best Careers in Engineering | Above list is sorted alphabetically

Why Choose Jobs in Engineering?

With so many different fields available to choose from, why do so many college students tend to gravitate toward the latest engineering jobs? To see why engineering jobs have become so popular among college students and recent graduates, we decided to take a closer look at the statistics regarding the top engineering jobs.

The statistics are now showing that there are close to 1.6 million positions and jobs for engineers available in the United States. This number bodes well for students and qualified individuals who want to find lifelong careers in engineering. It shows great job stability and employment opportunities for the right candidate. 

Not only that, but the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics is estimating that graduate engineering jobs could grow by as much as 10% over the next few years. Careers for engineers continue to look promising for the future as well.

Another reason that many individuals are investigating the top engineering jobs is no doubt because of the salary. These engineering jobs require a higher education and more advanced skills than many positions, which certainly pays off. The average hourly wage among all of the jobs in engineering comes in at an impressive $47.19.

best engineering jobs

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Even better, the average annual salary for the latest engineering jobs comes to more than $98,000.

There are also considerations to be made for how diverse the job responsibilities can be with any of these best engineering jobs. When you look at the big picture, there are three major areas where all of the graduate engineering jobs tend to fall:

  • Civil engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Industrial engineering

Careers in engineering still tend to be a male-dominated area with statistics showing that approximately 80% of engineering graduates are men. Likewise, approximately 20% of graduates are non-resident aliens with the other roughly 80% being United States citizens.

Engineering careers have the ability to offer steady and well-paying professions for a diverse group of qualified individuals. Where can you make the most money with engineering careers? Take a look at the specific areas of study you may want to consider in the sections below.

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Detailed Review—Top Ranking Best Engineering Jobs

Below, please find the detailed review of each job on our list of careers in engineering. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these jobs for engineering to score so high in our selection ranking.

Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineering jobs are highly sought-after and well-paid positions for the right candidate who doesn’t mind an extensive education. Jobs for engineers in the area of aerospace can have a multitude of job responsibilities, ranging from developing new models to designing new technology:

  • Design new aircrafts, missiles, or space crafts
  • Develop or test new technologies for aviation, defense, or space exploration
  • Work with commercial airlines, fighter jets, helicopters, or space crafts
  • Working with missiles and rockets

The job outlook for these latest engineering jobs is slightly in decline compared to several of the other fields. Between 2014 and 2024, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting a 2% decline in employment opportunities.

The salaries for these best engineering jobs are definitely a prime reason to consider obtaining the appropriate qualifications. The median pay was around $51 per hour in 2015, with an annual salary of $107,830.

One of the other things to mention in regards to aerospace engineering careers is the extensive education required. There is a minimum requirement of a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering or a related field.

Depending on your specific area of work and your jobs in engineering, you may need a security clearance as well. This standard applies mostly to those who aim to work with missiles, defense systems, or other aspects of aerospace engineering careers within government sectors.

Chemical Engineer

Chemical engineering jobs offer some of the most varied employment opportunities of any of the other careers in engineering listed in our review. While the name may lead some to believe that most work is completed within a laboratory setting, you may be surprised at the variation involved in these top engineering jobs:

  • Food processing and production
  • Pharmaceutical production and development
  • Environmental health and safety
  • Design and construction
  • Pulp and paper production

The Global Home of Chemical Engineers points out that these best jobs in engineering are responsible for things many of us take for granted. For example, they produce the synthetic fibers that many of our clothes are constructed of and work to control pollution.

The specific job responsibilities of a chemical engineering career are difficult to predict because they encompass so many important aspects of daily life.

Because of their importance to society, jobs for engineers who specialize in this area are expected to grow by 2% over the coming years. By 2024, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be 34,900 jobs for engineers available with this title.

The median hourly wage for these careers in engineering comes in around $46.81. The annual wages according to the 2015 median pay was estimated to be $97,360.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recommends having a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering as well as field experience. Students who have the opportunity for internships may have an easier time obtaining one of these careers in engineering in the future.

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Computer Hardware Engineer 

A computer hardware engineer is one of the most popular options when it comes to the top engineering jobs. It gives potential candidates that ability to work at the forefront of the technology industry and provides plenty of employment opportunities and jobs for engineers:

  • Design and develop more effective production and functionality of hardware
  • Troubleshoot issues with hardware
  • Analyze needs and be able to make suggestions for the right computer software for individuals and companies
  • Review for technical accuracy and design

Additionally, these jobs in engineering have a job outlook that is slightly elevated compared to some other engineering careers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the outlook for these best engineering jobs is estimated to increase 3% between now and 2024.

The median hourly wage for these jobs for engineers is relatively high at $53.72. Those employed within these jobs for engineers could expect a median annual salary of $111,730.

Those interested in obtaining one of these engineering careers will want to considering getting their bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. However, several jobs may also allow you have a degree in electrical engineering or computer science. It’s recommended that those who want these careers in engineering should look for an ABET-accredited program.

careers in engineering

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Materials Engineer

One of the “lower-paying” engineering careers on our engineering jobs list, a materials engineer still maintains a prized position among high-paying careers in engineering. Many companies hire materials engineers in part because of their flexibility to create any number of products.

The primary job responsibility in these engineering careers is to improve existing materials or find new ways to utilize them effectively. They may even work to develop new materials for specific purposes across all industries: agricultural, nuclear, construction, chemical, and more.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the vast majority of these best engineering jobs are within the manufacturing industry.

Over the course of the next seven years, there’s expected to be little to no change in the number of available employment opportunities for these jobs for engineers. At the last survey, there were roughly 25,300 positions available for qualified candidates.

Keep in mind that the average salary for this type of position is $43.90 per hour with a median annual salary of $91,310.

To obtain one of these careers for engineers, you should be prepared to have a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering at a minimum. It can be helpful to have advanced degrees. However, these graduate engineering jobs will also want to see field experience, so be sure to take advantage of internships and other opportunities as available.

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Petroleum Engineer 

Engineers who are interested in several of the top areas among engineering careers may want to consider becoming a petroleum engineer. According to one source, the job responsibilities and duties tend to fall into all three of the major categories (mechanical, chemical, and civil). The actual list of responsibilities for these jobs in engineering include:

  • Evaluating reservoir sources for oil and gas
  • Managing drilling activities
  • Putting recovery systems in place

Others who are working in these engineering careers may be involved in designing treatment facilities or doing research in a laboratory. Advanced computer programs can help to simulate the actual work that must be done in these best engineering jobs.

The growth rate for a petroleum engineer is expected to increase at a faster than average rate. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics currently estimates that it will increase by 10% for an additional 3,400 employment opportunities created between 2014 and 2024.

At this time, the median annual pay is $129,990 and the median hourly wage is $62.49. This makes becoming a petroleum engineer one of the highest-paid professions among the best engineering jobs.

Much like some of the other minimum education requirements, candidates should be prepared to obtain a degree in a relevant subject. A petroleum engineering degree is preferred but a mechanical or chemical engineering degree could suffice. As with most positions, field experience is highly valued in the form of internships, field credit from academic studies, and other endeavors.

jobs for engineers

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Conclusion—Top 6 Best Engineering Jobs

If you want to know where the best careers for engineers are, these six positions are the highest-paying professions in the industry. These best engineering jobs are well-paid options for the right qualified candidate who doesn’t mind doing the work to earn their education.

Whether you want flexibility for your future engineering careers or a multitude of potential job responsibilities, many of these jobs for engineers can suit any type of personality. Choose to work with development and design, testing, management, and more with the options on our engineering jobs list. The possibilities are almost endless.

Individuals who want a long-term career with one of the best engineering jobs available will certainly want to consider some of these top engineering jobs. Which one will ultimately suit you the best?

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