Can Engineers Get Rich?
Engineering is a wide-spread field full of opportunity and offers many niche careers that can suit even the most specific interests.
On top of this benefit, engineers are some of the best paid workers anywhere in the world and engineers can expect to make much better money than their peers with an equal education level. If you have ever wondered how engineers are making the big bucks, you are not alone.
Can engineers get rich? A survey done in 2014 by Chef stated that most engineers can expect to become millionaires over the course of their working life. The current median salary for an engineer varies per type of job but can be anywhere from $37,737 to $334,979 per year. This result was taken from a study which compared average incomes of engineers to that of doctors, people working in accounting and finance and holders of MBAs working in the business world.
If you think that engineering sounds like a dream job, read on.
Engineers Make the Big Bucks
Even at the lowest median salary point of $37,737 from the survey referenced above, an engineer is still making far more than their counterparts with similar education.
Do you like to do math? Are you a fan of science and love to learn? Do you like to work with graphs or to build things with your hands? Are you a fan of collecting data and turning that data into practical things? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be missing out on a rewarding career as an engineer.
Part of the reason that engineers can make such great salaries has to do with the flexibility of their skill set.
Engineering jobs often require problem solving and the ability to sort through large amounts of data.
If you have those skills down pat, you can be a civil engineer and build bridges, or an environmental engineer and help to address public health concerns and problems or be a software engineer and help design and build new technology.
You have the potential to work in many different industries, a factor which is not common to other kinds of specialized work. Doctors, for example, are only ever going to be able to work as doctors, or they could choose to work in the research field. An engineer could begin their career working as a software engineer and end up owning their own consulting company or designing a new app that makes them millions.
Creative jobs often pay very well, but engineers are one step ahead of the curve because they are creative problem solvers who can also do practical things like math and science.
The sector which is growing the most quickly in the current job market is engineering work related to IT jobs. The median average yearly salary for software engineers in the US is $112,000.
There is no chance that modern industry and the modern job market will move away from the use of computer technology, so IT engineering jobs are more secure than almost any other career choice.
|Major||Average Starting Salary|
|Electrical/Electronics and Communications Engineering||~$62.500|
|Management Information Systems/Business||~$60.300|
What Makes Engineers So Successful?
Engineers are uniquely placed for career success because their education and the related skills they learn while they are getting their degree are directly relatable to real life jobs.
Math and science skills are always needed by employers worldwide and the relative lack of employees with advanced math degrees and the skills to do complex statistical work or hands on creation based on data analysis means there is always a demand for those with engineering degrees.
An entry level mechanical engineer can expect to start out making about $54,000 a year. There are not many other jobs out there which can offer that kind of immediate return on the investment someone has made by getting their degree.
Even recent graduates can expect to find the path to a lucrative career relatively straight forward.
Due to grants and other funding to help encourage students to select engineering for their major, many engineering students will come out of college with a job offer already in hand which was made possible by networking offered through their college.
There are not many other degree fields that will reliably lead a recent college graduate right into a well-paying job, but engineering colleges are able to do this consistently.
Supply and demand in the engineering hiring market shows that there is a dearth of engineers available to fill jobs.
Because math proficiency in the US alone is on the decline, anyone looking for a job who can prove that they are capable of higher-level math and data analysis will be given opportunities that many other job seekers will not have access to. Knowledge is truly power, especially when one looks at the salaries and job opportunities available to engineers worldwide.
Which Engineering Jobs Pay the Best
Engineers can do a wide variety of jobs with their degree, but there are certain segments of the engineering job market that pay better than others. Here are the best paying jobs for engineers:
- Petroleum Engineer
- Nuclear Engineer
- Aerospace Engineer
- Software Engineer
- Engineering Management
- Chemical Engineer
- Electrical Engineer
- Biomedical Engineer
- Materials Engineer
- Environmental Engineer
While the top-paying jobs often get the most attention, there is plenty of money to be made doing civil engineering, mechanical engineering or even teaching in the engineering field.
Engineering degrees can also be further enhanced with continuing education and additional certifications to help engineers remain competitive in the job market throughout the duration of their career.
According to Payscale.com, engineers with a PhD earned an average of $122,000 annually compared to those with a master’s who earned $94,000.
Many employers are willing to help foot the cost of ongoing education for their engineer employees and it may be possible to obtain your PhD while you are working and without spending any of your own money.
Engineers are also typically considered for management positions much sooner than their counterparts with the same level of education in other fields.
Higher-level decision making and thinking is a huge part of engineering work on a day to day basis and management requires this type of decision making as well.
Companies often feel completely assured that an engineer they have hired will progress to management quickly because there are plenty of statistics to show that most engineers are highly competent managers.
Engineers can take on management roles that are highly variable, from project management to supervisory positions over a team of other employees.
How Do I Get Started as An Engineer?
Engineering jobs require that you get a degree, preferably a higher-level degree. It is worth checking to see if your local college offers incentives like scholarships to try and obtain engineering students. Often, colleges will be actively trying to recruit engineers each school year. This is especially true if you are female. There is always a major disparity between the number of male students and the number of female students studying engineering at colleges around the world.
Many colleges are encouraged to try and recruit female engineers, which can lead to scholarships and other great benefits for female students in an engineering program of study.
Once you have gotten into a program, you will likely need to pick an area of focus.
There are lots of options available to you within the engineering degree path and you should talk to an advisor or professional engineers about their jobs to try and narrow down your options a bit.
Sometimes going after the jobs that pay the best nationally will not be the right fit for your skills.
It is important to remember that any engineering degree will make you highly eligible for many jobs and for advancement once you have been hired.
You may be able to focus on an area of study that you enjoy and experience just as much success in the long run as you would have had if you focused on an area of study that you were not as passionate about which paid better.
When you are close to graduating, you will likely be offered an internship, which will lead you toward a first job if you want it. As mentioned before, many colleges help their engineering students to be placed in whatever industry they are planning to work in, so you should take advantage of those offers.
Image Credits: https://cen.acs.org/articles/92/i22/Starting-Salaries.html
Filling a Need
Every industry in the US is currently seeking qualified engineers to fill essential positions. The fact that this is the case makes it apparent how few people each year seek to get their engineering degree. If you feel that you could be happy working as an engineer, the sky is really the limit for you once you have your degree.
There is no indication that the need for engineers will be slowing down any time soon. This means that every person who has the necessary skills to get an engineering degree is cheating themselves out of a great career if they do not take the necessary steps to be hired in one of the many engineering fields that are seeking employees.