Engineering is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of jobs. This occupation covers jobs working in the depths of the ocean or reaching out to the stars. Some engineers build and maintain our nation’s essential infrastructure, while others work on microscopic organisms. If you’re considering the exciting career of engineer, you may want to learn more about the most rapidly growing engineering disciplines, such as civil, mechanical, industrial and electrical engineering.
One branch of engineering that is expected to see a lot of new jobs is civil engineering. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this field is expected to gain 32,200 new jobs by 2026. Civil engineers are the ones who come up with, build, supervise and maintain infrastructure projects. They also oversee and construct roads, buildings, airports, bridges, and water systems. According to the BLS, 48 percent of civil engineers work in engineering services, while 22 percent work with state and local governments. Civil engineers working for government entities typically work in offices, while those that work in construction might spend most of their workday outside to oversee the construction project. Other civil engineers may work from their car or truck as they travel to different sites.
The reason for this job growth is partially due to the growing population. More people means a greater need for new and updated water systems. Also, existing roads, bridges, buildings, and other structures are starting to age and will also need to be replaced or repaired.
The best way to get into this growing occupation is to take advantage of co-op programs in college. These programs allow students to take on full-time paid positions lasting for six months or more while they gain hands-on work experience participating in real-life engineering activities. In addition to work experience and wages, students can also earn academic credit. While a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering is usually enough to get a job, to stand out in the job market, students should consider pursing a graduate degree and earning a professional engineer (PE) license.
Civil engineers enjoy a median salary of $84,770 along with a bright professional future, according to the BLS.
Mechanical Engineering is another field of engineering that is expected to have a lot of new opportunities. The BLS expects to see 25,300 new jobs by 2026. These engineers work with mechanical devices, testing current devices and creating new ones. A wide range of industries hire mechanical engineers. In fact, this variety of industries contributes to the number of predicted new jobs. About 22 percent work in the industry of architectural and engineering services, while 13 percent work in machinery manufacturing and 12 percent work in transportation equipment manufacturing. Regardless of their industry, mechanical engineers typically enjoy an office workspace, though they may need to travel to worksites.
To get started as a mechanical engineer, you will need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. However, students may want to consider a five-year program. Accelerated BS/MS degree programs in mechanical engineering allow undergrads to complete a master’s degree with just one additional year of study. Whichever path you choose, you will want your program to be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) so that you can become a licensed professional engineer.
In addition to job growth, mechanical engineers also enjoy a salary of $85,880, according to the BLS.
Industrial engineers seek out ways to make production process more efficient. They find ways to combine workers, machines, materials, information, and energy used to make a product or services so that any wastefulness is removed. The BLS states that 18% of industrial engineers are employed by transportation equipment manufacturing, 13% are employed by professional, scientific, and technical services, and 13% are employed by computer and electronic product manufacturing and by 2026, there will be 25,100 new hires. These engineers will either work in offices or the settings they are tasked with improving.
The first step to becoming an engineer is earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering. While a bachelor’s in industrial engineering would be the most straight forward path, industrial engineers can find work with degrees in a variety of other engineering backgrounds such as mechanical, manufacturing, or general engineering. Experience is important so finding a co-op programs would be good to look into and going into a 5-year degree program to earn a master’s degree allows one to become a college professor.
The BLS reports that industrial engineers overall have a median salary of $85,880, with those in the computer and electronic manufacturing industry enjoying a median salary of $94,120.
Electrical engineers design, develop, test and supervise the manufacturing of new electrical equipment. These engineers help design the electrical systems located in automobiles and even aircraft. Electrical engineers will mostly likely find jobs in engineering service firms, working on projects that involve electronic devices and systems. About 16,200 new jobs are anticipated by 2026, according to the BLS.
To enter the field of electrical engineering, you will need a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or a related field, such as electrical engineering technology. Some colleges offer co-op programs that allow future electrical engineers to gain work experience during their education. Those that may want to move onto educational or research and development prospects will need a graduate degree. They might choose to enroll in an accelerated dual degree program that will enable them to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in five years.
According to the BLS, electrical engineers enjoy a median salary of $95,060, which is slightly higher than the median wage for all engineers.