Engineering Career Guide: Salary and Degree Info

Engineering is a complex process of producing highly technical products or systems that cater to a specific need. It is driven by years of complex research to develop sound technologies. With its primary goal of improving every aspect of human life, engineering continues to effect innovation even in the most minute human activity.

Engineers are committed to ensuring that everything they create is practical, efficient, and useful. They construct bridges, airports, buildings, and develop products for everyday use. They are pragmatic and resolute, especially in decision-making. Their scientific knowledge and decision-making skills make engineers some of the most sought-after professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment growth in the field is projected to increase with more than 140,000 new jobs from 2016 to 2026.

Engineers can apply their knowledge and skills in a myriad of ways, giving them entry to various career paths. The application of scientific and mathematical principles, coupled with years of experience and credentials, set the standard for engineering practice. As nearly all aspects of life are engineered, many are taking an interest in the field and seeking to become professionals in it.

Engineering as a Degree

Engineering covers a wide range of applications across many industries. As a field of study, it emphasizes on Mathematics and Science and Technology to produce efficient and effective solutions to real-world problems. Engineering degree programs provide students with unique and practical skills which are necessary to perform in some of today’s top-tier positions. These programs must be fully accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET). This ensures that the quality of academic instruction meets the worldwide standards set by the commission.

If you want to become an engineer, the first step is earning a Bachelor’s Degree in one of the many Engineering specialties. Choose a degree in Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or Software Engineering, to name a few, and begin a lucrative career in the field. An Associate’s Degree is also a credible academic background for entry-level positions. A Master’s Degree in a chosen concentration will allow engineering professionals to engage in research and development. Earning a Ph.D. in a specialized area in Engineering translates to better career options, especially in the academe.

Types of Engineering Degrees

Associate’s Degree in Engineering

Earning an Associate Degree in Engineering will qualify you as an Engineering Associate in an expanding field of Science and Technology. It can open up many doors for an aspiring Engineer. You can potentially become an Electrical Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, or a Software Engineer. It is a perfect start to endless potential. The associate’s program is designed to give students an overview of what to expect in the field. Full-time students earn the degree in two to three years, and an online associate’s degree requires lesser completion time.

An Associate’s Degree in Engineering focuses on providing students the skills and knowledge of foundational engineering principles. The curriculum exposes students to the fundamental engineering subjects and on a general level, allowing them to discover their niche. Most programs, traditional and online, emphasize relevant engineering principles, including testing, drawing, design, inspection, commissioning, operation, and management of complex system and materials. Generally, the degree centers on project-based learning philosophy which produces industry-relevant, highly-skilled graduates.

Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering

A Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering provides students with a solid foundation in the fundamentals of engineering theory and practice. With an extensive engineering specialty to choose from, there is a career opportunity for every concentration. In the United States, Engineering professionals are some of the highest paid employees. Most of the positions require only a bachelor’s degree to qualify. To become one, you need to be a graduate of an engineering program approved by the state licensure board. Most states require engineering graduates to complete the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam to be considered a licensed Professional Engineer. Educational institutions in the country offer either Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE), or Bachelor of Engineering (BE), or both. Generally, the degree can be completed in three to five years of study in one of any ABET accredited institutions offering Engineering degree programs.

Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) is the most common, and the highly recommended degree for any aspiring engineers. Full-time students earn their BSE in five years or less. Their coursework includes Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics. The bachelor’s program focuses on providing students with technical knowledge and skills for professional practice. Degree holders are independent, critical thinkers and effective problem solvers, economical as well as environmentally and socially aware.

Bachelor of Engineering (BE) graduates gain a comprehensive, theory-based understanding of engineering fundamentals that can be applied to the field. They have a strong conceptual understanding of the science involved in the engineering discipline. Students are proficient in areas such as Mathematics, Statistics, Computer, Information Sciences, and Numerical Analysis. They are invaluable professionals by providing their in-depth knowledge and expertise in a specialized body of knowledge within the complex Engineering discipline.

Graduates of a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering are among the 4.3 million engineers in the workforce whose average annual wage is $109,324.

Master’s Degree in Engineering

A Master’s in Engineering (M.Eng.) is your bridge between a bachelor’s degree and doctoral studies. It focuses on the theoretical and academic side of engineering discipline. Typical courses include Civil Engineering, Plastics, Materials, Software Engineering, or Environmental Engineering. Master’s students are free to choose the area of specialization, but each requires a high level of proficiency in Mathematics and Scientific performance. Also, graduate students are required to complete a capstone project which requires a hands-on project or a dissertation. Typically, a master’s degree program can be completed in two years. The coursework is labor intensive and requires commitment. Master’s degree holders add credibility to Engineering Professionals and provide a leg up in the workplace.

Doctor of Engineering

A Doctorate in Engineering is the terminal academic path for Engineering Professionals. Often, students opt for specializations beyond the limited number of Ph.D. concentrations in Engineering. Instead, they pursue a different educational path to diversify their skill sets. This not only adds more value to their credentials but also brings more career options. Most graduate students choose either a Doctorate in Project Management or a Doctorate in Business Administration. Both programs’ coursework includes highly specialized classes. Completion of an original written dissertation and a successful defense is required for completion. After graduation, Ph.D. degree holders secure executive level positions as well as independence in their practice. The academy is also a viable workplace for doctorate holders.

Engineering Specializations

Now that you have an overview of the different levels of Engineering degree programs, it is best that you explore the various specialties within the field. Listed below are the most common, and highly sought after engineering concentrations. You can earn a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or even a doctorate in most of these areas. It will all depend on the institution offering the engineering program. Learn more about the different Engineering specializations and choose what best complements your interest and skill set.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering is one of the most exciting areas of engineering that focuses on creating innovative technology. It is concerned with the design of different mechanical systems, a critical part of various industries. Mechanical engineering students’ coursework concentrates on thermodynamics, materials science and kinematics, and structural analysis. Bachelor’s degree holders who hold entry-level positions in the field earn $42.00 per hour and an average of $87,370 per year.

Aerospace Engineering

A branch of Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering is concerned with the study of air and space travel. Aerospace Engineers are trained in the design, construction, and operation of various aircraft and aerospace vehicles. They apply the concepts of aerospace dynamics in the design and conceptualization of vehicle shape and structures. Aerospace Engineering requires the application of electrical, electronic and computer systems that control the aircraft, especially the communication systems for operation. According to BLS, an Aerospace Engineer earned a median annual salary of $115,220 or $55.39 per hour in 2018.

Automotive Engineering

Automotive Engineering combines the study of mechanical, electrical and material science to produce and design vehicles. A four-year degree that requires students to exhibit proficiency in the basic principles of engineering, as well as an in-depth understanding of the standards of the modern vehicle design. Undergraduate programs in Automotive Engineering touches on other engineering disciplines, including electrical engineering, environmental engineering, and mechanical engineering.

Chemical Engineering

Undergraduate programs in Chemical Engineering are available in many academic institutions, both on-campus and online. Simply put, it is the practical application of Chemistry. The program coursework typically includes classes in advanced math for chemical engineering, industrial chemical processes, biochemical engineering, and process design. Chemical Engineering students utilize their knowledge of Chemistry, Physics, and Biology to formulate solutions to real-world problems. A Chemical Engineer holding an entry-level position can earn up to an average yearly salary of $104,910.

Environmental Engineering

Environmental Engineering is a growing science within the diverse engineering field. It has become a popular specialization due to today’s environmental climate. The domain uses principles of engineering, chemistry, biology, and soil science to develop tangible solutions to environmental problems. Since garbage poses significant threats to human lives, Environmental Engineers invest knowledge and expertise in their effort to improve recycling, public health, waste disposal, and pollution control. In 2018, professionals in the field earned an average pay of $87,620 per year. This is projected to increase as demands for Environmental Engineers expands across industries.

Materials Science Engineering

Materials Science Engineering is a vital part of ensuring food safety, and the field ensures that plastics, ceramics, metals, composites, and nanomaterials are safe for human contact. Materials Engineers are also concerned with ensuring that materials used in various products and construction meet the standards of mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering. Programs in the field will focus on training students in the development, processes, and testing materials used to create various products. A Materials Engineer employed in an entry-level position can earn up to $92,390 per year.

Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering is a highly technical field of study which emphasizes on developing sound infrastructure. Civil Engineers are a vital part of conceiving, designing, building, supervision, operation, and construction of buildings, bridges, roads, railways, and general construction. They develop strategies and projects to build calamity-proof infrastructure. May civil engineers end up working in planning, design, and development industries after graduation looking at an $86,640 salary per year. Research and education is also a viable source of employment for civil engineers.

Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineering centrally focuses on the study of all forms of energy, including electrical, hydroelectric, wind, and solar power. A degree in the field gives students the experience and academic expertise in technologies and methods. Electrical Engineers are engineering professionals who design and develop safe and efficient electrical systems that run both small- and large-scale machinery. According to BLS, bachelor’s degree holders in Electrical Engineering earn $99,580 per year.

Computer Hardware Engineering

A sub-field of Electrical Engineering, Computer Hardware Engineering combines the fundamental concepts of computer science and electrical engineering. The program will prepare students in research, design, as well as the development and testing of computer systems and components. Computer Hardware Engineers ensure that computer systems are up-to-date and run on the latest computer software. In 2018, a Computer Hardware Engineer earned an average annual pay of $114,600. New areas in the field require professionals to apply concepts in computer hardware engineering to web development, network security, and especially in cybersecurity.

Industrial Engineering

A bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering emphasizes lectures and laboratory practice. Some of the coursework includes classes in statistics, manufacturing systems design, and production systems planning. As professionals, Industrial Engineers are do not waver in devising efficient systems that seamlessly integrate machines, materials, information, and workers. In terms of earning capacity, an Industrial Engineer can earn up to $87,040 per year.

Computer Systems Engineering

Another sub-field of Electrical Engineering, Computer Systems Engineering centers on the analysis, design, and development of computer systems. Unlike Computer Hardware Engineering, this engineering sub-field touches on both computer hardware and software. Computer Systems Engineers easily find employment in telecommunications industries as they are assigned to develop an effective process control interface in the most vital computer systems.

Software Engineering

A relatively new engineering discipline, Software Engineering is a combination of two highly complex study – computer systems engineering and computer science. The study involves the application of a systematic and practical approach to the creation, development, operation, and maintenance of computer systems. Since it is a new discipline, it draws its main theoretical framework from the basics of engineering and the complex field of software systems. Software Engineers are valuable assets to any company, and so they receive sizable compensation akin to a software developer’s annual salary of $105,590.

Engineering Management

Engineering Management perfectly integrates business theories and practice into the technical aspects of engineering. The field has become an integral part of preparing future managers of various engineering sectors. Graduates of the degree are trained to lead and oversee the at all levels and all sub-fields within the Engineering umbrella. Business managers who are also adept and well-versed in the technicalities of Engineering are seen useful in running high-value organizations. With this, Engineering Management has now become one of the top choices among engineering majors, especially for graduate students.

Online vs. Brick and Mortar Engineering Degrees

Now that online education has become increasingly popular, engineering programs have been offered by many online schools. However, due to internship requirements, only a few engineering specializations are available online. Most online academic institutions provide Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering in a blended format. Online engineering programs must be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). In most states, students are required to hold an ABET-accredited degree to qualify as an Engineering Professional and practice their profession. This is also important when applying for licensing. Aside from ensuring the quality of education, ABET accreditation will allow seamless transfer of earned credits from other schools.

A typical online engineering program requires a total of 129 to 130 credit hours for completion. Most full-time students finish the program in 6 years. Admission in Engineering department can be highly competitive. A first-year student applying for any of the engineering programs may be required to supply the admissions officer his or her combined GPA, SAT or ACT scores.

To determine whether online education is for you, you must know that the curricula of most online and on-campus engineering programs are the same. The primary and only difference is the delivery of instructions as well as the testing strategies. Often, the same faculty members lead online classes. Most college and universities also allow their online students to attend on-campus lectures whenever possible. With an emphasis on collaborative learning, distance learners can work with their peers, instructors, and advisers.

Taking your engineering undergraduate degree following a traditional route will allow you more access to various learning opportunities. You can choose from different outstanding STEM courses offered by some of the countries’ top universities. Stanford School of Engineering, for example, offers Bachelor of Arts and Science (B.A.S.) program. This is available for students who have completed both requirements for a B.S. and B.A. degree. B.A.S. degree will show your range as a student and as an Engineering Professional. You have gained holistic academic instructions, giving you the ultimate competitive advantage. On-campus engineering programs take four years to complete, or even less once you already have an associate’s degree.

Financing Your Engineering Education

Funding your engineering studies can be a daunting thought. However, there are many financial aid programs and scholarships to aid both your undergraduate and graduate degree. You should get financial advice from your adviser or your school’s financial aid officer. Colleges and organizations offer scholarships designed to cater to engineering students. These may range from financial support to finance a year’s worth of tuition. The federal government offers several financial aid programs to help students pay for their education costs. Here are some financing programs for you:

ASHRAE Scholarship, awarding financial support ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 annually. This scholarship is awarded to both engineering and pre-engineering students who are currently enrolled full-time in a post-secondary academic institution. Applicants must be pursuing a degree in Bachelor of Science of Engineering program. To qualify, they must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and enrolled in an active ASHRAE Student Branch, or an ABET-accredited program, or any regionally accredited institution or such institution has signed the Memorandum of Understanding with ABET.

Willis H. Carrier Scholarships grants two one-year engineering scholarship to undergraduate students. Financial grant for each amounted to $10,000 and was established by The Carrier Corporation. It was carried out in the memory of the corporation’s founder Willis H. Carrier. He is a pillar in the engineering industry.

Reuben Trane Scholarships is a $10,000 financial grant awarded to three deserving engineering students. The scholarship is good for two years, each year getting half of the total amount. It has been established in honor of Reuben Trane’s memory, and immeasurable contribution to the field of engineering.

Henry Adams Scholarship, pioneered by Henry Adams himself, is a scholarship granted to engineering majors who pursue a career in the field. The award may be used for full-time study at any four-year ABET-accredited college. The successful applicant will receive $3,000 as financial aid.

Federal Pell Grant, a federal grant, available to all students regardless of specialization. Applicants must demonstrate that he or she experiences the requisite level of financial need to qualify. The awarded amount varies based on certain conditions but does not exceed $5,500 per school year. A successful applicant may be able to receive the grant in 12 semesters, and shall not exceed that number. Your college may credit Pell Grant funds to your tuition, or it may be paid to you directly.

Engineering Career Pathways, Information, and Outlook

Engineering Professionals are welcomed by a wealth of options upon graduation. Prospective graduates can follow a career path based on their major, but they will always be a place for an Engineer in any industry. In 2016, there were a total of 180,651 Engineering degree awarded to undergraduate students. Today, 4.3 million engineering graduates and professionals form part of the vital employee cluster in the country. This is projected to grow by 5.13% over the next year. A career in the STEM cluster requires the application of advanced mathematics and sciences through research and design.

According to BLS, there are 140,000 new jobs for engineers which will profoundly impact the employment rate until the year 2026. Generally, the job outlook for the engineering field will depend on your specific sub-field.

An engineering professional earns an average of $109,324 annually, which is growing by 2.23% each year. Among the most common occupations held by an engineer are Miscellaneous Managers, Software Developers, and Applications & Systems Software Engineers. The employment rate in Miscellaneous Managers has been significantly growing at a rate of 4.88%. On average, they earn $108,591 per year. Software Developers, on the other hand, can earn up to $113,529 annually.

Among the many Engineering careers are the following:

  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Automotive Engineer
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Computer Engineer
  • Drafting and Design Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Geological Engineer
  • Marine Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Software Engineer

Petroleum Engineers are deemed to be the highest paid engineering professionals among the careers listed above. According to BLS, they are paid $137,170 per year and $65.95 per hour.

10 Most Common Engineering Occupations

Civil Engineer

Civil engineers work on buildings, ports, roads, railways, buildings, and other public facilities. You are tasked to analyze survey reports, look into maps where construction will take place, oversee costs and that regulations are followed, and monitor for environmental hazards. You will also analyze the soil on which structures will be built on and determine the materials appropriate for this construction. Civil engineers also do cost estimates (expense for labor and equipment against profit) so a finance or accounting background would be an advantage. With technology being a staple in many workplaces, keeping up-to-date with the latest software or equipment will give you a competitive edge.

To qualify, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or civil engineering technology. With 11% projection rate for employment, fresh graduates taking this profession may earn around $54,780 per year.

Industrial Engineer

Industrial engineers work on maximizing resources and minimizing costs of production of a product or delivery of a service. As an industrial engineer, you cover a variety of sectors such as businesses, petroleum, and healthcare. You are tasked to design systems for delivery of goods including looking for manufacturing/processing plants, pay for the workers, and finding efficient methods to move heavy objects or machine parts inside the plant. You will also design ways to maximize productivity using computer, robots, or other machines to cut down overhead costs.

A bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering (but not limited to) and some work experience may land you a good paying job of $56,470 per year for a start.

Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum engineers are the ones planning and designing systems to extract oil and gas from the ground or older wells. It’s important for engineers in this industry to locate and find efficient methods to extract these natural resources with the right machineries and tools. Often times, you will be working with a geoscientist and other specialists in this field. There are four categories under this type: completions engineer (oversee the building of wells), drilling engineers (assess and implement the best ways to drill wells at minimal costs and environmental impact), production engineers (monitor natural reserve’s production), and reservoir engineer (oversee amount of extracted reserves in a particular location). A bachelor’s degree in chemical or mechanical engineering with some work experience or college cooperative-education programs may land you an entry-level job with an average salary of $137,170 per year. 

Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical engineers are in charge of examining, designing, testing, and building devices necessary for building machines and engines. The tasks and industries covered by mechanical engineers are broad ranging from building generators to air-conditioning systems. As a mechanical engineer, you are tasked to design automated systems to bring products or machines from point A to point B using tools, machines, or technology. Mechanical engineers are generally inquisitive and highly use technology in providing real-world solutions.

A bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology is a prerequisite for this job. Expect an annual salary of $56,270 per year starters.

Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineers look into the design and construction of aircraft, satellites, spacecraft, and missiles. You will also be tasked to create new technologies for aviation and building of more efficient spacecraft systems and materials. It’s highly likely that you’ll be collaborating with mechanics such as flight and celestial mechanics as well as other experts in the aerodynamics and thermodynamics department.

Considering you’ll be working in the national defense, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a U.S citizenship.  Starting salary for this job is around $71,640 per year.

Electrical Engineering Technicians

An electrical engineer technician works on maintaining, assessing, implementing, or innovating designs and systems of electric equipment. You will do various testing and technical assistance in upgrading or repairing equipment. You may also need to create systems or machines to provide automation to lower overhead costs by looking into tech solutions.

To become an electrical engineering technician, you need to have at least an associate’s degree in electronics or electrical engineering technology with higher job prospects for those with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. Entry-level positions may get you a $38,110 per year.

Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers work on projects for environmental sustainability. You will look into environmental reports, assess and evaluate facilities for pollution and waste control, securing and updating standard operating methods and permits, quality control assessments, and monitor for compliance of environmental procedures.

You will need to have some practical environmental-related experience and a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering as a prerequisite for the job. Entry-level jobs in this field will earn you $53,180 per year.

Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers take engineering principles in the field of biology and medicine in designing devices, tools, or software for human well-being. Biomedical engineers also work on projects such as 3D printing of human organs as an alternative for real organs is one of their latest breakthroughs. Furthermore, you will also be tasked to do various research, experiments, and innovation in this field of engineering. It’s likely to collaborate with healthcare professionals, patients, and scientists in innovating devices and tools for therapy or treatments when working on a project.

Individuals with an undergraduate degree in engineering (mechanical, electrical, or biomedical) with a background in biological science may consider this field of expertise. On average, entry-level engineers may earn $51,890 per year.

Computer Engineer

A computer engineer works on designing, creating, testing, and researching computer hardware. We have become a global tribe since the dawn of the Internet. Computer engineers are responsible for creating hardware for smartphones and other tech-based devices that provides comfort, convenience, and efficiency from work to our homes.

You will need to have at least an undergraduate degree in computer engineering before you can land an entry-level job. Computer engineers earn at least $66,700 per year.

Chemical Engineer

Using the principles of engineering, chemical engineers apply these in the manufacturing of chemicals, drugs, and other products. Also known as process engineers, your task involves working on chemical processes like oxidation and polymerization. There are specialized fields in this job where you’ll be working on nanomaterials used for various biomedical devices and tools. You have a vital role to play in the creating electronics, clothing, food, energy, and paper hence the necessity of understanding the processes and its implications in the environmental and human health.

To qualify, you will need some relevant experience and an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering or any science-related field (depending on the type of industry you’ll be working in). On average, entry-level chemical engineers earn roughly $64,890 per year.

Other engineering jobs:

  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Automotive Engineer
  • Drafting and Design Engineer
  • Geological Engineer
  • Marine Engineer
  • Software Engineer
  • Technical Drawing
  • Radio Frequency Engineering
  • Patent Engineer
  • Customer Engineer

30 Highest Paying Engineering Careers

Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum engineers focus on planning and designing of devices needed for oil and gas extraction. You will be pioneering the research, testing and experimenting, and evaluate if these natural resources are consistent to the projected amount it should have. You’ll likely collaborate with scientists such as geoscientists and other specialists in strategizing the best method in drilling wells to get these natural resources.

To become a petroleum engineer, you will need an undergraduate degree in engineering (preferably specializing in petroleum). Work experience coming from cooperative-education programs may provide you a better leverage of getting an entry level job.

Petroleum Engineer salary: $137,170 per year

Engineering Group Manager

Engineering managers’ key responsibility is to monitor the engineering department of the company. You will be taking on a leadership role where you will supervise, monitor, ensure quality outputs, and provide timely reports when top executives need it. It’s important that engineering managers have the ability to provide efficient solutions and communicate with fellow team members and top management technical issues throughout the project.

To become an engineering manager, you will need to have relevant work experience in management and at least an undergraduate degree in engineering. Companies may prefer individuals with a background in business or finance.

Engineering Group Manager salary: $135,424 per year

Engineering Supervisor

Your tasks as an engineering supervisor is to oversee projects, implement safety protocols, manage fellow engineers, scheduling, communicating with vendors and customers, sending out payroll, and inspecting quality control of equipment and tools. Most engineering supervisors have earned years of experience in their field and are often placed in senior positions.

The educational requirement will vary but an undergraduate degree in an engineering specialization (e.g. biomedical, mechanical) is a good start. It might give you an advantage if you have a graduate degree in engineering with good communication and management skills.

Engineering Supervisor salary: $116,602 per year

Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineers specialize in designing aircrafts, satellites, rockets, and defense systems. In this job, you will be required to monitor the quality of projects, test and design aircrafts, propose projects that are viable financially and technically, and ensure that environmental standards are met throughout the course of the project. You can choose from two categories: aeronautical (design aircrafts) and astronautical (design spacecrafts).

Aerospace engineers must possess exceptional knowledge in mathematics, science, and technology. You will also need to have at least an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering (or any related field dealing with aerospace design and systems). There’s a high chance you’ll be working in the national defense so having a U.S citizenship is vital.

Aerospace Engineer salary: $115,220 per year

Computer Hardware Engineer

Computer engineers work on computer systems. Your task is to research, create, experiment, test, and monitor these equipment in sustaining organizational tasks, documents, and the likes. You’ll work mostly on processors and computer parts essential for connecting to the Internet and collaborate with software developers throughout the project.

Generally, an undergraduate degree in computer or electrical engineering may land you an entry level job.

Computer Hardware Engineer salary: $114,600 per year

Nuclear Engineer

Nuclear engineers create and design tools, equipment, and systems to derive energy from radiation and nuclear energy. Radioactive materials extracted from these sources are used medically or industrially. You will be evaluating processes and power plants in safekeeping the environment and human life, take proactive or corrective steps during plant shutdowns and emergencies, and create operation instructions in handling or disposing nuclear waste.

Nuclear engineers possess strong research abilities that are scientifically-inclined. Entry level engineers of this specialization need to have at least an undergraduate degree in nuclear engineering.

Nuclear Engineer salary: $107,600 per year

Chemical Engineer

A chemical engineer focuses on application of engineering on creating chemical products, food, fuel, and drugs. You will need to do a lot of research and experimenting as you conceive and create new products to maintain quality of human life. Also known as process engineers, chemical engineers also look into designing of equipment, ensuring that safety measures are maintained throughout the project, and estimate cost of production.

Most companies hire chemical engineers who already had some work experience and an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering or any related field.

Chemical Engineer salary: $104,910 per year

Electrical Engineer

Electrical engineers design and develop devices, equipment, power generation, communication systems, and navigation systems using electrical systems. You will also get to work on designing electrical systems for aircraft and automobile.

To become an electrical engineer, you need to have at least an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. Numerous companies may prefer those with work-related experience such as internships before hiring for entry-level positions.

Electrical Engineer salary: $96,640 per year

Staff Engineer

A staff engineer’s task will vary depending on the discipline he or she chooses to practice on. Industries may range from aerospace, medical laboratories, oil and gas to information technology. Generally, you are required to create products, lead project management until launch, work with fellow engineers or scientists for projects (varies with industry), and supervise teams working on the development of a product.

Companies often require a bachelor’s degree in engineering (specialized industries will require certain disciplines). Certain disciplines such aerospace, biomedical, and chemical engineering positions may require some relevant experience as part of entry-level prerequisites.

Staff Engineer salary: $96,677 per year

Marine Engineer

Marine engineers work on designing and building marine ships, submarines, sailboats, and aircraft carriers. Also known as a marine design engineer or marine mechanical engineer, your task is to create layouts, monitor machineries and equipment for upgrades and repairs, estimate costs for production, and make sure that contractors are delivering goods and services on time.

Marine engineers need to possess strong mathematical skills and critical thinking abilities with at least a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering or electrical engineering.

Marine Engineer salary: $92,560 per year

Materials Engineer

Materials engineers work on developing and testing products used in various commercial, industrial, and medical items. You will be assigned to select composites and properties needed to create a certain product. Aside from this, you are expected to look into financial aspects in procuring raw materials and producing new materials. It’s also important that you implement and monitor quality control as to processes and environmental safety.

To become a materials engineer, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineer or any engineering course with some experience such as internships.

Materials Engineer salary: $92,390 per year

Geological Engineer

Geological engineers assess and evaluate possible places for mining coal and metals. Your task is to locate lands with potential minerals and plan how to take these natural resources in the most efficient manner without harming the environment. You will likely work with mining engineers in your explorations.

Entry-level geological engineers usually require a bachelor’s degree in mining or geological engineering. Exceptional engineers may have the opportunity to go on per-project basis or consultant work.

Geological Engineer salary: $92,250 per year

Automotive Research Engineer

Automotive research engineers seek to improve the performance of cars using engineering principles. Your primary task is to enhance a vehicle’s features such as suspensions, fuels, and aerodynamics. Automotive engineers need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology with some form of work experience such as internships or co-ops.

Automotive Research Engineer salary: $89,758 per year

Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers apply engineering concepts in designing or developing equipment, products, computer systems, software, and other devices used for healthcare. You will be identifying needs from the healthcare sector, create devices to solve management problems or health issues, and educate medical staff on how to operate these devices. You will work with clinicians and other personnel involved in the project.

This job may work best for individuals who are inclined towards biology and health sciences. Companies may prefer graduate degrees in Biomedical Engineering as an entry-level requirement.

Biomedical Engineer salary: $88,550 per year

Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers work on finding solutions for environmental problems. Using engineering principles, you will be working on projects to enhance sustainability and develop strategies to keep the environment protected.  You will also investigate, analyze data, do quality control assessments, and evaluate safety procedures and pollution control for the company.

Environmental engineers need to have at least an undergraduate degree in engineering. Some companies prefer individuals with relevant work experience from internships or co-op programs.

Environmental Engineer salary: $87,620 per year

Mechanical Engineer

Mechanical engineers oversee the design and manufacturing of a wide range of products. Considered as one of the broadest fields for this industry, mechanical engineers design equipment that produces power such as generators, batteries, gas turbines, and internal combustion engines. You will also encounter tasks requiring you to develop machines within the building and handling systems such as conveyors and transfer stations.

Mechanical engineers need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology.

Mechanical Engineer salary: $87,370 per year

Civil Engineer

Civil engineers are the ones responsible for designing, improving, or maintaining public and private utilities and transport systems. You will also submit findings for bid proposals, property descriptions, and environmental implications for a proposed building or construction. Some civil engineers hold senior positions such as an administrator or supervisor in ensuring safety and quality of projects.

Entry-level positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering with higher job opportunities for those with license. 

Civil Engineer salary: $86,640 per year

Hardware Design Engineer

Unlike computer engineers, hardware design engineers work on the designing and developing computer hardware parts. Components such as microchips, scanners, and circuit boards are some parts you’ll encounter when you do prototyping and testing. You’ll be working in a research laboratory in testing these devices.

To become a hardware design engineer, you will need at least an undergraduate degree in computer engineer, electrical engineering, or computer science with some relevant work experience such as internships.

Hardware Design Engineer salary: $85,370 per year

Research and Development (R&D) Engineer

If you’re naturally curious about how things work and have a knack for technology, you may want to take on an engineering role in research and development. As a R&D engineer, you will be doing investigations, creating prototypes, or improve existing ones to enhance human quality of life. This job entails team work among scientists and fellow engineers.

Some companies offer entry-level positions even for those with an associate’s degree in engineering technology.

Research and Development Engineer salary: $85,377 per year

Software Engineer

Software Engineers play an important role in developing programs and applications for various industries. With technology becoming a staple in most companies, software engineers work with programmers, designers, and other personnel involved in creating an application or software program. Software engineers are generally curious on how to bridge technology in making every day human tasks convenient, accessible, and easier.

To become a software engineer, you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering preferably with some work experience in your chosen niche. Some engineers may need to educate other engineers located abroad so if you’re exceptionally good with your craft, you may do this on a per-project basis or per consultation.

Software Engineer salary: $84,230 per year

Robotics Engineer

Robotics engineering focuses on creating robots for automated tasks. Engineers in this field will work on the ‘next best thing’ in tech ranging from toys to developing a robotic extremity to help humans regain their quality of life. Today, robotics and AI are being introduced in various marketplaces around the globe for industrial, medical, or commercial use.

To qualify, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in robotics engineering or any technology-related niches.

Robotics Engineer salary: $82,241 per year

Electronics Engineer

Though many mistake this to be in the same category as electrical engineers, electronics engineers work on electronic components instead of the power generation. You will be responsible for assessing requirements clients need including the costs of developing the plan. With government research, you will likely assess for safety standards of electronic devices used in aviation, computers, equipment, and vehicles to name a few. You may collaborate with fellow engineers, software developers, programmers, and scientists during the course of the project.

Entry-level positions for this job may require at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering with some experience of the niche industry.

Electronics Engineer salary: $96,640 per year

Applications Engineer

An applications engineer primarily works on innovation and technology. As the bridge between the engineering department and customers, you will be using data taken from clients then design or improve existing ones to fit the clientele needs. Applications engineers possess technical skills (programming and coding) and are highly proficient in analyzing and finding solutions to produce client satisfaction.

To become an applications engineer, you need to have a background in programming and an undergraduate degree in engineering under tech-related niches.

Applications Engineer salary: $80,223 per year

Agricultural Engineer

Agricultural engineers focuses on providing solutions for agricultural troubles. Your planning may involve aspects in power supply, environmental implications, site and structure of facilities, and proper storage for agricultural produce. Aquaculture, food processing, farming, and forestry are some aspects you may encounter especially in harvest automation.

To become an agricultural engineer, you will need to have at least an undergraduate degree in biological engineering or agricultural engineering.

Agricultural Engineer salary: $77,110 per year

Systems Engineer

Systems engineer have an almost similar work with a software and hardware engineer only that this job focuses on creating systems specific to a client’s needs. You will collaborate with other engineers, technicians, product development personnel, and programmers in creating digital solutions. You will need to have at least an engineering degree to qualify for an entry-level position.

Systems Engineer salary: $76,648 per year

Mining Engineer

As a mining engineer, your task is in providing plans and directions to those handling the operations. Your role is important since you will be the one estimating the costs for the project including equipment and machinery needed. Mining engineers often work with the operations managers and vendors as well as coordinate with vendors and coworkers in communicating processes effectively.

You will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering with some background on safety management.

Mining Engineer salary: $76,111 per year

Structural Engineer

This is a specialization from civil engineering that focuses on consultant work for engineers and design-build contractors. You will work with architects and design-builders in coming up with a layout. From here, you can look into various building elements such as weight loads and structural systems that serve as the framework for the construction.

To become a structural engineer, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in structural or civil engineering. Some companies may ask for other public safety-related certifications to qualify for the job.

Structural Engineer salary: $73,555 per year

Process Engineer

Process engineers are those that evaluate the processes from manufacturing to end product. Before products reach clients, chemical engineers and process engineers ensure that these are of high quality and safe to use. This is a technical job where you will evaluate chemical interaction, and assess for system performance. Engineers in this niche need to have an extensive background in manufacturing, production, and management especially for senior positions.

Process engineers need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in process engineering or equivalent degree to quality.

Process Engineer salary: $72,139 per year

Manufacturing Engineer

Manufacturing engineers focus on the manufacturing of products in the most efficient and economical way possible. Your task will include designing equipment, devices, and tools providing automation and ease-of-use. There will be instances where you’ll be working with other engineers specializing in aerospace and technology niches for special cases.

To become a manufacturing engineer, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

Manufacturing Engineer salary: $72,135 per year

Product Development Engineer

Product development engineers focuses on designs of products. You will be collaborating with the research team, programmers, and other personnel involved in the creation of the product. From industries such as shampoos, medical devices, computers, and electrical circuits, product development engineers are essential in creating safe and quality products for commercial, manufacturing, or industrial use.

For this job you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering as a pre-requisite. Some with exceptional skills or background on a niche industry may do this on a per-project or per consultation basis.

Product Development Engineer salary: $71,901 per year

Unique Engineering Careers

Formula One Racing Engineer

If you’re a big fan of Formula One, then this is your ticket to getting some of the action. Highly organized and analytical engineers with extensive knowledge on racing automobiles may find fulfilling careers as Formula One racing engineers. You will work as the ‘right hand’ of drivers in the race particularly in evaluating and improving speed and safety. Engineers in this niche need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or electrical engineering with volunteer or work experience in F1 races.

Skate Park Engineer

Being an engineer will not limit you to a single niche industry. In this case, skate park engineers have big responsibilities to fill in terms of safety and efficiency. Skate parks are one of the places we head to for cycling, skate boarding, and roller blading. Your task is to ensure that it’s a safe place for such activities. You will be planning and designing recreational locations such as playgrounds, roads, and snow sport half pipes. If you have a knack for creativity then you’ll definitely enjoy being a skate park engineer.

Social Media Product Manager

For software engineers, working in Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram might just be ‘career dream come true’. As a social media product manager, you’ll be working on creating new ideas that is technically doable. You’ll be part of the team handling investigations on consumer behaviors and trends and create a feasible program. Entry-level jobs for this niche will require at least an undergraduate degree in software engineering with some work experience such as internship.

Sports Engineer

Engineers in the sports arena are focused on designing equipment for the players and evaluate performance of athletes using these sporting goods. You will likely work in sporting goods companies and work with other experts evaluating the quality and safety of the products. To qualify for an entry-level position, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or electrical engineering with exceptional mathematical or material science knowledge and skill.

Robot Designer

Robotics are not far from taking over our household chores—and job in the future. Robot designers specialize in developing machines for automation and convenience. To become a robot designer, you need to be intuitive, creative, and have a knack for collecting and analyzing data. This is a tech-based job so you will need to have a background in Information Technology or software design. Ideally, you will need an undergraduate degree in electrical, mechanical, or software engineering to qualify.

Food Engineer

As the title says, you will be in-charge of handling combinations and safety of food products. It could be as simple as slapping some jelly and peanut butter to creating the next best ‘McDonald’s burger’. Since this job entails handling of chemicals, you will be working on preservation of goods, ensuring food packaging’s safety, and monitoring equipment used in factories. This is an ideal career choice for individuals with a chemical engineering background.

Professional Hacker

While the term ‘hacking’ may seem ominous, professional hackers are the good guys. Also known as Ethical Hackers, your task is to assess government sites and corporations (especially banking sectors) for loopholes in their security systems before any cyber attack happens. Professional hackers are usually pros when it comes to security flaws, programming, and web application architecture. Software engineers may find fulfilling jobs as professional hackers for a government agency.

Preservation Engineer

As a preservation engineer, your task is primarily on preserving old buildings and properties. This is a specialty field of structural engineering where you focus on monitoring the stability of old buildings, plan appropriate methods and renovations, and estimating activity costs. You will likely collaborate with architects and historians throughout the project.

Data Engineer

Various companies are looking into data to analyze customer behaviors, global trends, and business efficiency. Data engineers act like scientists in extracting and evaluating information and turning them into actionable solutions using products or services. This job is ideally for industrial data engineers with a background in IT systems and software solutions.

Fashion Engineer

While fashion and engineering might be an unlikely blend, fashion engineers are valuable in companies that manufacture sportswear, clothing, make-up, and other consumer items. With your engineering background, you’ll be able to design products that are meant for ‘creature comfort’ (such as breathable clothes and lightweight shoes) or design equipment to create ready-to-wear clothing.

Travel Engineering Careers

USAID and Peace Corps

If you have a patriotic streak and would want to serve the country as an engineer, USAID and Peace Corps are two good options. Intended for U.S citizens, you will be taking on various projects that may require you to frequently travel all over the globe. Engineers are expert builders so whether you’re on a mission to help a community rebuilt homes after a natural disaster or help farmers produce better crops, you are not only earning but you’re learning and growing in your career by helping others.

Freelancing

Freelancers are not limited to what they know but also to where they go. When you’ve achieved some success in your career, chances are people are going to hire you for your expertise. Niche-specific engineers excelling in their craft may find sustainable jobs as freelancers that may give travel incentives. If you’re working for a company with various projects abroad, this may give you an opportunity to learn from various cultures and earn at the same time.

Chemical Engineer

A chemical engineer covers numerous industries with a wide set of tasks. It’s predominantly researching and troubleshooting issues from processes, safety procedures, and making hazardous chemicals. If you’re working for a company with branches outside the country, there’s a good chance that you may be doing a lot of traveling. Senior engineers with years of experience in a niche area can also do consultant work or educate personnel as to the processes or use of equipment, quality control, or monitoring safety protocols. You will need at least a bachelor’s degree with some relevant work experience to qualify for entry-level positions.

Materials Engineer

You will be in charge of designing various products from computer parts to biomedical tools. Materials engineers work with the management team and perform numerous site visits to evaluate efficiency and safety of products produced.  It’s not unlikely for engineers with this niche to travel in different countries for a site visit. Exceptional engineers may land senior positions in large corporations handling multiple businesses abroad.

Start-up

If you’re looking for some adventure from grass roots projects, consider applying for start-ups. Some of these start-ups are looking for opportunities to grow in developing countries. Your job may include community work in the fields of manufacturing or agriculture. Engineers looking into this industry will require cultural sensitivity, willingness to learn a different language, and have a high interest and capacity to structure complex processes into simple words for fellow engineers that you might be working with. Some engineers with relevant experience may want to consider this type of job on per project basis.

Environmental Engineer

You can get plenty of action outside your hometown when you’re an environmental engineer. Since your job involves a lot of designing facilities, improving existing utilities, implement up-to-date technology for pollution control, and efficient methods of removing or controlling wastes, it’s not unlikely that you’ll also spearhead projects in other countries. If a company from a foreign nation asks for assistance, you will need to take frequent travels to educate other personnel and monitor their progress.

What are the best traits to have when deciding to pursue a career in engineering?

Engineering education is a solid foundation needed to secure a job in some of today’s most high paying positions. Becoming an Engineer, however, has never been an easy discipline to pursue. It requires a robust set of skills and demands that you take responsibilities in every aspect of your study. To become a successful engineer, you need to demonstrate both soft skills and personality traits necessary to thrive in the field. Many aspire to become an engineer, for you to become a seasoned engineer, you must possess these traits:

Have a firm grasp of Mathematics and Science.  Engineering is a complex course. It requires high-level mastery of mathematical and scientific concepts. Being a diligent learner can make a huge difference in your journey. Make a conscious effort to study and master the concepts required in class.

Be a team player and invest in good working relationships. You can never complete a project alone regardless of its size. A team is vital in making sure that everything is in order. To secure success, you need to exude leadership material by encouraging, empowering, and improving your team members. Being a leader also means becoming a role model for your team, which includes even the higher ranking officials in the organization. Use the resources at your disposal, but ensure efficiency. Have open communication with your team, and give support when needed. Always present reasonable and tangible goals before your boss, your team, and especially your clients.

Develop your communication skills. To become an invaluable engineer, you must demonstrate proficiency in both written and verbal communication skills. It is necessary for seamless interaction with various companies and organizations they work closely with. Dealing with a lot of people requires clear and convincing communication, a vital aspect of every business. Luckily, having excellent communication skills can be learned over time and with proper practice.   

Enhance your critical thinking skills. Engineers are expected to make informed decisions at every stage of project development. Critical thinking skills are crucial in an engineer’s day-to-day affair. Engineers can become invaluable, need to analyze any situation with certainty.

Plan and strategize to ensure long term profitability. Taking action means utilizing information to determine an actionable plan of strategy that will preserve the integrity of your office. Yes, there will be times when you are uncertain or will be time constrained. However, you will find that taking control of any situation and taking action will quickly resolve any conflict.

Trustworthiness is a trait necessary in whatever field you choose to pursue. Reliability is developed over time, something that requires commitment and real effort. Any organization that is built on trust will flourish and attract positive outcomes.

Open-mindedness. A true leader is open-minded and can look beyond the present work and competition landscape. As an engineer, you must not be consumed by small issues. Instead, look at the big picture by assessing the overall impact in your firm.

Risk Management skills. Regardless of how seamless project plans are, you will encounter some issues one way or another. Being prepared to tackle the risk that comes with project management will make you a productive engineer. Engineering professionals carry large-scale projects and being able to effectively manage risks will make a big difference in your career.

How do I prepare myself for an undergraduate degree in Engineering?

Deciding to study an engineering degree is a bold choice. Engineering is known to be a notoriously tricky course, demanding time, effort, commitment, and a strong sense of purpose. But there is no greater joy than reaping the reward of self-fulfillment once you overcome all the challenges in the path to becoming an Engineer. Having pursued the course, you are driven by the goal of finding or creating solutions to any or all of the real-world problems. Leading a life of an Engineering will allow you to be at the forefront of science and technology.

Here are the fundamental steps to take for you to become an engineer:

Prioritize your academics. Engineering classes will mostly revolve on Math and Science. Courses will highlight both foundational and advanced subject areas in Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Thermodynamics. To succeed in your pursuit, invest in Math classes, especially Trigonometry. If your high school does not offer Calculus, take Introduction to College Algebra. Chemistry is always useful Science once you pursue a degree in Engineering. Lastly, take a class in Physics. These classes will be particularly valuable for your seamless transition to college classes.

Ace your SAT. Engineering programs in various colleges across the country are very competitive. The best way to secure a spot by to get that edge. Take time to review for your SAT to ensure that you get a good score. High scores will mean eligibility to the most sought-after engineering programs in the country. Take note that most programs have a minimum GPA requirement. A 2.0 GPA is a good number.

Participate in extra-curricular activities, especially STEM-related activities. A way to demonstrate your unbridled passion for STEM is participating in various extracurricular activities. You can join school clubs like the Engineering Club, Math Club, Physics Club, Coding Club, or even enlist as a tutor for your peers. Join camping trips in robotics to engage with other like-minded individuals. If your High Scholl transcript does not show any STEM-related participation, this could potentially hurt your application. College admission officers will not only look into your grades, but they will also assess your level of commitment, leadership skills, and the potential to contribute meaningful innovation to the field. Involve yourself in Engineering endeavors and utilize your skills to gain a successful career an Engineer.

Acquire real-world experience. Experiential knowledge does not only reflect your willingness to learn; it will also serve as a convincing proof that you can work with a team. Build real-world engineering experience by participating in internship programs available in your area. Volunteer in various engineering firms, even if it is unpaid. Find engineering-related opportunities by inquiring in local companies through email or by only making a call. Another way of earning hands-on experience is by attending conferences or engineering summer camps. Typically, these camps are sponsored by prominent universities to encourage high school students to enroll in the program. Get involved and build a strong portfolio while gaining new knowledge and skills.

Why should I pursue a career in engineering?

Pursuing a career as an Engineering Professional entails that you fully understand what lies ahead. You have to have the resolve to continue regardless of the academic struggle. Prepare yourself to put everything into your 4-6 years of studying Math and Science. During your college days, you will be exposed to ways of combining theoretical and practical engineering concepts. Put, Engineering as a career is a continuous and everlasting process of self-improvement. As you grow as a professional in the field, you gain real-life experiences that will improve your ability in performing your role. If you are not yet convinced as to why you should take the path to become an Engineer, consider the following reasons:

Make a difference. Engineers are working tirelessly to make a difference in the world. They dedicate hands-on expertise in designing railroads, tunnels, airports, schools to cochlear implants for children, limbs for military vets, and ensuring that food containers are safe. These are tangible outputs that you can be proud of as an Engineering professional. There is pride in this body of work, and the possibility of making a positive impact in the world is endless.

Explore your creative side. Being an engineer means getting paid to design, create and innovate new products. They are a part of the pioneer individuals who see product development first-hand. Engineers use their expertise in every project they tackle, regardless of their specialty. Creativity is a tool that they take pride on as they can convert years of academic training into products that aid systematic progress and help the world. Engineers are central to the realization of efforts in making energy more efficient, reducing pollution, preserving wildlife and marine life, to providing irrigation to far-flung communities.

Enjoy lucrative pay. Engineers are some of the country’s highest paid professionals, even the world. One of the reasons why Engineers are paid significantly higher than other professionals is the weight of responsibility they handle. Engineers take charge of human safety. This binds them ethically and legally to be highly technical and only take calculated risks. Based on the most recent data by DATA USA, Engineering majors are paid $109,324 on average per year. Since it is a highly technical science, engineers are bound to institutional standards and work constraints. They need to carry out their responsibilities with utmost care, and tenacity so as not to endanger human lives.

Get comprehensive academic training. An engineer oversees an entire project but cannot complete it on their own. This creates a multiplier effect wherein engineers require the entire workforce to carry out the plan, decide on the design, and improve the output. Overseeing other employees is a risk in itself, and receiving a reasonable pay is a bonus. This requires more training in current management and leadership styles. Continuing education gives engineers an additional advantage, making them an indispensable part of society.

What do I need to do become a licensed engineer?

Every state in the country requires licensure for engineers before they can offer their professional services to the public. Licensed engineers are called Professional Engineers or PE. Most engineering specialty (civil, mechanical structural, industrial and environmental engineering) secure licensing before they enter government service. Here are the steps to becoming a PE:

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited institution
  • Get a passing rating in the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination
  • Complete the requisite years of engineering experience; and
  • Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examination

Securing your license as a Professional Engineer is a remarkable achievement for any engineering graduates. It is an indication that he or she is a dedicated professional who can deliver work which is compliant with global standards. Different states may require additional requirements, but to give you an overview, here are the basic steps in securing your license as a PE:

Step 1: Internship

After passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, you are now classified as an engineering intern. This will open up opportunities for you to gain employment in the industry of your choice. Passing the FE exam indicates that you have fully mastered the fundamental requirements as an Engineer. Also, you are now ready to take the next steps towards the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examination.

Step 2: Obtain professional experience.

Professional experience is required before taking the PE exam. In most states, they need four years of relevant professional experience, working directly under a professional engineer. You can inquire in your college or department for opportunities to gain experience.

Step 3: Look into additional state’s licensure requirement.

As mentioned above, it is under the state’s discretion to impose additional requirements before securing a PE licensure. Each state has its licensure board that takes charge of administering the exam. To know what your state requires for a licensure examination, visit the licensing board’s website.

Step 4: Prepare yourself for the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examination.

The final step in getting licensure is passing the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examination. After which you can practice as a Professional Engineer in your state. There are various state-sponsored review classes where you can take refresher lectures. Preparing for the exam is the best way to secure your success. Browse through the catalog, review previous exams, and take online and self-study review classes. This is an essential step in getting your to license. Make everything count.

Being licensed as a Professional Engineer will distinguish you from the rest of the engineering professionals who are crowding the employment market. Also, this will enhance your employment options. Many engineering jobs require PE licensure to qualify for the position. Among the most exciting parts of being a PE is being able to conduct patent work, becoming an engineering consultant, engage in public safety, and even testify as an expert witness. In today’s economic environment, having the credential will serve you right in the long run. Invest in your professional credibility, begin with getting your PE license.