The path to becoming an engineer comes with challenges and commitments. An engineering-focused education can begin as early as STEM classes in junior high, and it often continues throughout an engineer’s career. Despite the commitment it requires to become an engineer, many are still drawn to the field because they want a career that involves creative problem-solving while also offering a healthy work/life balance and a competitive salary.
Below is a curated list of the highest paying engineering careers, shedding light on those fields that offer an enticing blend of financial remuneration, professional growth, and the chance to be at the forefront of cutting-edge advancements.
16 Highest Paying Engineering Jobs
1. Petroleum Engineers
The job of the petroleum engineer involves designing and developing methods to extract oil and gas from below the Earth’s surface. Petroleum engineers usually travel to the appropriate sites and meet with their colleagues. The median compensation for a petroleum engineer comes in at about $131,000 per year or $63 per hour. In 2021 the industry provided approximately 22,800 jobs, with a job growth prediction over the coming decade of eight percent.
To become a petroleum engineer, you need a BS in petroleum engineering or a related field such as mechanical, chemical, or civil engineering. Ongoing education is also required.
2. Computer Hardware Engineers
A computer hardware engineer designs and develops computer systems and their related components. People in this profession tend to work independently in an office-type setting in computer design or manufacturing. The annual pay recorded in 2021 came in at $128,170, which amounts to $61.62 an hour.
Currently, the hardware engineer profession offers about 77 000 jobs, with a five percent growth expected over the next decade.
Those applying for a position of computer hardware engineer must hold a bachelor’s degree in computer hardware engineering.
3. Aerospace Engineers
The exciting occupation of aerospace engineering involves designing aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, and satellites. An aerospace engineer may find employment with the federal government, research, and development, analysis, design, or manufacturing. An aerospace engineer’s median annual salary is about $122,300 or $59 an hour. Currently, the United States employs about 58,800 of these positions, with a six percent growth rate over the next decade.
This position requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering or another related scientific field. Additionally, the applicant may need a security clearance if the job is with national defense.
4. Nuclear Engineers
Nuclear Engineers address problems concerning the release and control of nuclear energy and nuclear waste disposal through research and development projects. Typically, a nuclear engineer would work in an office setting. The median annual salary is $122,300 or $58 an hour. The next decade could bring an eleven percent decline in the profession. However, due to retirements and nuclear engineers changing to other engineering careers, analysts still expect 700 job openings yearly.
To become a nuclear engineer, you must obtain a Bachelor of Science in nuclear engineering or a related field. Licensure is not required.
5. Software Engineers
The software engineering profession also includes quality assurance analysts and testers. These individuals design computer programs for computer design firms, manufacturers, and software publishers. The overall median salary is about $109,000 or $52 an hour. Software developers typically make considerably more than testers or quality analysts. Currently, over 1,6 million people hold a position as software engineers. This occupation expects to see a 25% increase over the next decade. Software engineers usually work with team members in an office environment.
To obtain a job as a software engineer, you will need a BS in Computer Information Technology.
6. Chemical Engineers
Chemical engineers solve problems involving food, drugs, and fuels using chemistry, biology, and math principles. The median annual salary for this profession is $105,550, or about $51 an hour. Currently, the positions held are about 26, 900 with a 14% growth expected over the next decade. Chemical engineers may work in an office, laboratory, or industrial setting.
Minimally, you need a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering or a related field to obtain a position. Many employers also require that you complete an internship or demonstrate some form of practical experience.
7. Electrical and Electronics Engineers
The job of an electrical engineer involves designing, developing, testing, and supervising the production of electrical products. The median annual salary is $101,780, or about $49 per hour. They may work primarily in an office setting with occasional field trips to observe products.
You need a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and an internship or other practical experience to obtain a position.
8. Health and Safety Engineers
Health and safety engineers use their engineering knowledge and health and safety to prevent accidents, illnesses, and property damage. The median salary for this position is just over $99,000 per year, or about $48 per hour. About 23,600 jobs exist, with a growth rate of about four percent over the next decade.
Most of their time is spent working in an office, although travel sometimes becomes necessary to inspect various work sites.
To become a health and safety engineer, you will need a bachelor’s degree in any engineering discipline or environmental health and safety degree. Practical experience is also desirable.
9. Materials Engineers
Materials engineers are involved in developing, testing, and processing materials used to make many different products. Their median annual salary is approximately $98 300 or $47 an hour. Today, over 22 000 positions exist, with an expected growth rate of six percent over the next ten years.
Materials engineers need a bachelor’s degree in materials science or a related engineering field. An internship or practical experience may also help one obtain employment.
10. Biomedical Engineers
Biomedical engineers use their knowledge of engineering principles and other sciences to develop devices, computer systems and software, and other equipment. The median annual salary is about $97,400 or nearly $47 an hour. There are almost 18,000 positions, with a ten percent increase expected over the next decade. These professionals often work in a manufacturing or research facility.
Minimally you need a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering or bioengineering for employment in this field. Some positions require a graduate degree.
11. Mining and Geological Engineers
Mining and geological engineers ensure the safe removal of minerals for use in manufacturing and utilities by designing efficient mines. Their median annual salary is slightly over $97,000 or about $46.70 an hour. Only about 7500 positions exist, with a growth rate of about two percent over the next ten years. However, about 500 positions open yearly due to retirements and career changes. Mining and geological engineers work on-site in mineral mines, quarries, or oil and gas extraction firms.
Minimally, a bachelor’s degree in mining and geological engineering is required to enter this field.
12. Environmental Engineers
Environmental engineers work on developing solutions to environmental problems by incorporating the principles of engineering, biology, chemistry, and soil science. The median annual salary in this field comes in at about $97,000 or nearly $47 an hour. Approximately 44,000 jobs currently exist, with an expected growth rate of about four percent over the next ten years,
To become an environmental engineer, you need a BS in environmental engineering or a related field, such as civil engineering.
13. Industrial Engineers
Industrial engineers create systems that bring together all aspects of creating a service or product, such as the workers, equipment, materials, energy, and information. The median salary for an industrial engineer is about $95,300 annually or $46 per hour. Over 300,000 of these positions exist with an above-average growth rate of more than ten percent over the next decade. Depending on the project, they may work in a factory or office.
To become an industrial engineer, you need a bachelor’s degree in industrial or electrical. Or mechanical engineering.
14. Mechanical Engineers
Mechanical engineers design, develop, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and other devices. The median annual salary for this profession comes to about $95,300 or $46 per hour. The number of positions is now at nearly 285,000, with a slower-than-average growth rate of two percent over the next ten years. Mechanical engineers may need to visit various work sites but usually work in offices.
A position as a mechanical engineer requires a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology.
15. Marine Engineers
Marine engineers or naval architects design and build ships, aircraft carriers, submarines, and sailboats. Though these professionals primarily work in offices, sometimes their jobs require them to go to sea to test their creations. The median annual salary is about $93,370 or about $45 an hour. The 7600 established positions expect about a four percent growth rate in the next decade.
A marine engineer needs a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering or naval architecture.
16. Civil Engineers
Civil engineers design, create and supervise infrastructure projects and systems. The median annual salary is slightly over $88,000, with a per-hour rate of $42.33. The current positions of about 318,300 are expected to grow at the above-average rate of over seven percent. Civil engineers usually split their work time between an office and a location such as a construction site.
Minimally, you need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering for a position. Many jobs require a graduate degree, and in some States, licensure is a requirement.
Highest Paying Careers Within Engineering Fields
Highest Paying Software Engineering Jobs
- Software Architects create computer applications and programs. Their median salary is $120,730, and they may earn as much as $161,000.
- Back-end Developers build and maintain to enable the user-facing side of a website to work. The salary for this position ranges from $92,000 to $118,856, with a median salary of $104,865.
These software engineering positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in software engineering or a related field.
Highest Paying Mechanical Engineering Jobs
- Powertrain Engineers work with vehicles such as cars and motorcycles. They build prototypes, analyze data and determine viable budgets while projecting timelines. The median national salary for this position comes in at $102,363. This position usually requires a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.
- Instrumentation Engineer’s purpose involves designing, building, testing, and maintaining systems to ensure that other engineering systems function smoothly. The national average salary is about $107,881. A master’s degree in mechanical engineering is needed to obtain a competitive salary.
The mechanical engineering field expects a two percent growth rate predicted over the next decade.
Highest Paying Electrical Engineering Jobs
- Computer Hardware and Electrical Engineers work with all aspects of computer systems. The salary ranges from $79,160 to $254,000. The position minimally requires a BS in Electrical Engineering with graduate degrees and experience, promising higher salaries.
- Artificial Intelligence Engineering centers around creating robots to mimic human behavior when performing menial tasks. The salary ranges from $88,200 to $235,600. This relatively new aspect of electrical engineering promises a rewarding future with advanced degrees and experience in higher-paying positions.
Highest Paying Civil Engineering Jobs
- Director of Engineering boasts a salary range of $167,700 to $205,600. This individual will possess the experience to hire, train, and analyze the performance of other engineers. They also bear the responsibilities of developing policies and ensuring quality control.
- Vice President of Engineering is an executive position that controls much of what happens to a company’s bottom line through strategic short- and long-term planning and collaborating with other leaders. The annual salary range for this type of position falls between $167,700 to $205.000.
These leadership positions typically call for a master’s degree in civil engineering, with years of experience and leadership qualities. The outlook for the civil engineering industry remains positive, with a seven percent growth rate over the next ten years.
Highest Paying Computer Engineering Jobs
- DevOps Engineer requires expertise in Cloud Technology to implement the application and oversee an organization’s transition to the Cloud. Individuals in this position may be involved in desktop applications or game creation. The salary range nationally is between $115 937 and $155 876.
- Software Architects work with clients to create software that meets their specific needs in the way of games or desktop applications. They also take on a leadership or decision-making role in design choices, coding, and technical standards. The salary range for this position is between $125,716 and $172.482, with $140,656 as the median.
Minimally, you need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or computer engineering to gain employment in computer engineering. These advanced positions would require a graduate degree and proven leadership experience.
Highest Paying Chemical Engineering Jobs
- Operations Managers direct the production of the organization. The duties may involve coordinating between the various departments, C-level executives, and shareholders. The salary range for this type of position falls between $64,730 and $152,270 annually, with $97,730 as the median.
- Senior Chemical Engineers take on the role of the senior or leader of the team. This individual would monitor the performance of other team members and ensure quality. The salary for these positions may range from $79.446 to $140,000 annually, with the median landing at $103,568.
A bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, along with experience and proven experience, represent the minimum requirements for these leadership positions in chemical engineering. Chemical engineering denotes a very secure field with a growth rate measuring above average at over 14% over the next ten years.
Highest Paying Aerospace Engineering Jobs
- Thermodynamic Engineers use their knowledge to design, develop, and control thermodynamic testing systems. The annual salary ranges between $76,000 and $165,000, with the median at $110,772.
- Flight Test Engineers work to ensure the safety of aircraft and spacecraft through the use of aviation technologies. The annual salary ranges between $68,000 and $170,000, with a median salary of $106,653.
To obtain an entry-level job in these positions, you need a BS in Aerospace Engineering. Experience and advanced degrees may result in higher-paying positions.
Highest Paying Biomedical Engineering Jobs
- Biomedical Engineer Specialists design products such as artificial organs and body parts. They also work closely with diagnostics. The annual salary for this position ranges between $118,852 and $156.512.
- Research Fellow represents a position in which the individual works independently on biomedical engineering research. This highly qualified individual earns between $153,680 to $198,729.
A master’s degree in biomedical engineering is required for these high-level positions.
Highest Paying Industrial Engineering Jobs
- Plant Utilities Engineering Managers take charge of testing, maintaining, and troubleshooting equipment repairs. They may specialize in electricity, plumbing, or air control industries. The salary ranges between $100,000 to $132,500. Typically, this position requires a master’s in industrial engineering for optimal earning, but skill development and experience are also factors.
- Production Operations Engineers plan, coordinate, and direct the building of cars, computers, and other products. The annual salary range falls between $69 000 to $131,500. Minimally you need a BS in Industrial Engineering to get into the field with a master’s degree highly desired. The outlook for this industry is positive, with an above-average growth rate of over ten percent over the next decade.