An impressive 89% of professional engineers report being "satisfied to very satisfied" with their job and 90% recommend engineering as a career path for a young person.1,2 But those are only two reasons to choose a career path in engineering. There are many considerations when choosing a focus, but pay is certainly a key factor in planning for your future.
How much do engineers make?
In general, engineer salary averages are higher than the salary averages of many other professions. This is due, in part, because engineer jobs require a good deal of technical skills and these skills are in high demand as our industries become increasingly reliant on technology.
Upon closer inspection, the salaries for engineering jobs do vary. While today’s mechanical engineering salary average is $87,370 a year, mining and ecology engineers make roughly $92,250 per year and engineering managers have an annual salary of approximately $140,760.3
In terms of median pay and growth potential, these are the 10 highest paying engineering jobs to consider.
1. Environmental Engineer
Working frequently in the construction industry, environmental engineers use engineering skills, earth science, biology and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental issues. Because of the nature of the work, they may spend time on job sites, making this a great career track for those who don’t want to be tied down to a desk job.4 The median pay is reported at $87,620.2.2
2. Biomedical Engineer
Often working in a medical or clinical context, biomedical engineers utilize the principles of engineering to advance medical science by developing tools for medical professionals to better diagnose and treat their patients. Biomedical engineers can expect a median pay of $92,620.5
With a graduate biomedical engineering program ranked in the nation’s top 20 by U.S. News & World Report, Case Western Reserve’s Department of Biomedical Engineering has a reputation for innovation and excellence. Take an inside look at how Case School of Engineering faculty and students are making astounding medical breakthroughs.
3. Systems Engineer
Systems engineers manage the technical infrastructure of a company, maintaining all of the hardware and software required to keep the business moving forward. If you have strong communication skills and an ability to translate technical information to nontechnical teams, consider this career path, which has an estimated average annual salary of $97,902.6
4. Electrical Engineer
Electrical engineers work in a variety of industries, developing electrical and electronic components such as electric motors, radar or navigation systems. They might also be involved in developing broadcasting or communications systems. Median pay in 2020 was reported at $103,390 per year.7
5. Chemical Engineer
With a median pay of $108,540, chemical engineers use hard science in the production of compounds used every day in fuel, food, pharmaceuticals and more.8 Chemical engineering is a great career track for engineers with a background in biology, chemistry or physics who enjoy working on a team to solve big problems.9
6. Big Data Engineer
The rise of big data has provided significant business opportunities, but complex data sets have no meaning if they’re not structured in a comprehensible manner. Enter the big data engineer, tasked with creating the hardware and system architecture that enables others to interpret and utilize data. With a median annual salary of $114,561, big data means big opportunities for engineers.10
7. Nuclear Engineer
Nuclear engineers research, design and develop the tools and instruments needed to utilize nuclear energy.11 They’re responsible for safely directing the operations of nuclear energy facilities and must be comfortable with a high degree of complexity. In 2020, median pay was reported at $116,140, landing nuclear engineers in the top five highest paying engineering jobs.12
8. Aerospace Engineer
Electrical engineers work in a variety of industries, developing electrical and electronic components such as electric motors, radar or navigation systems. They might also be involved in developing broadcasting or communications systems. Median pay in 2017 was reported at $97,970 per year.13
This is one career where you get to say "actually, it is rocket science." Aerospace engineers design and build aircraft, spacecraft, missiles and satellites. Design skills are a must, as well as sharp analytical skills and problem sensitivity.13 Median pay in 2020 was reported at $118,610.14
9. Computer Hardware Engineer
With a median pay of $119,560, this highly technical field involves designing and developing computer systems and components such as processors, circuit boards and memory devices.15 Computer hardware engineering is an excellent field for analytical problem solvers with an interest in mathematics or physics.16
10. Petroleum Engineer
Petroleum engineers develop methods for extracting petroleum and natural gas from the ground, and then use those materials to create energy efficiently and cleanly. With a median salary of $137,300, petroleum engineer is one of the highest paying engineering jobs of 2022.
The field is also projected to grow much faster than the average career over the next five to 10 years.17
Discover Your Next Step
Build the Engineering Career You Deserve with Case Western Reserve University
To land one of these highest paying engineering jobs, you will need the right experience and credentials. Case Western Reserve University, a highly respected research university ranked among the Top Graduate Engineering Schools, can help.18 Designed with working engineers in mind, the online master’s programs in engineering at the Case School of Engineering can help your resume stand out from the crowd.
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from machinedesign.com/community/article/21145043/2020-salary-survey
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from https://www.machinedesign.com/community/article/21182005/facing-the-future
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from businessinsider.com/engineer-salary-how-much-engineers-earn-2019-1
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from onetonline.org/link/summary/17-2081.00
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/mobile/biomedical-engineers.htm
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from indeed.com/career/system-engineer/salaries
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/electrical-and-electronics-engineers.htm
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/chemical-engineers.htm
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from onetonline.org/link/summary/17-2041.00
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from comparably.com/salaries/salaries-for-big-data-engineer
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from onetonline.org/link/summary/17-2161.00
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/nuclear-engineers.htm
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from onetonline.org/link/summary/17-2011.00
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/aerospace-engineers.htm
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/computer-hardware-engineers.htm
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from onetonline.org/link/summary/17-2161.00
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/petroleum-engineers.htm
- Retrieved on March 24, 2022, from usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/case-western-reserve-university-201645/overall-rankings