What Can You Do With an Engineering Degree? (With 17 Jobs)
Updated March 13, 2023
There are many career options and opportunities for individuals who wish to work in engineering. The type of engineering degree a person has can determine what they can do within the field. Understanding the various degree types and corresponding jobs you can pursue may help you find the right role.
In this article, we explore the different types of engineering degrees, what you can do with an engineering degree and how to obtain the degree.
What are the different types of engineering degrees?
There are a few engineering degree options available depending on your career goals. Here are some engineering degrees to consider pursuing:
1. Associate degree in engineering
Generally, an associate degree in engineering takes two years to complete and covers the basics of engineering required to pursue a career in this field. Associate degrees include introductory-level subjects, such as chemistry, information systems, calculus and physics.
While this degree prepares you for immediate work in the engineering field, it comes with work-type limitations. For example, an associate degree doesn't allow you to earn your Professional Engineering (PE) license, but it can qualify you to work as a research assistant or mechanical technician.
Examples of associate degrees in engineering include:
Associate of Science in pre-engineering
Associate of Science in engineering
Associate of Science in engineering technology
Associate of Science in engineering management
Associate of Science in electronic engineering technology
2. Bachelor's degree in engineering
Obtaining a bachelor's degree in an engineering subject is one of the most popular options for aspiring engineers. Typically, bachelor's degrees take four years to complete, and it prepares students for work as professional engineers.
This degree program provides students with introductory knowledge of engineering and educates them on various specializations within the engineering field, like environmental engineering and petroleum engineering. A bachelor's degree in engineering is required to take the PE license exam. Some examples of bachelor's degrees in engineering include:
Bachelor of Science in software engineering management
Bachelor of Science in computer engineering
Bachelor of Science in applied engineering
Bachelor of Science in engineering
Many bachelor's programs allow aspiring engineers to choose the specialty they focus on throughout the program. Examples of engineering specialties that may be available to study in a bachelor's program include:
3. Master's degree in engineering
Most master's degrees in engineering focus on specialization within the engineering field. These programs allow students to gain a more in-depth understanding of their specialty and focus on advanced concepts within that specialty.
Master's programs are ideal for individuals who wish to pursue a leadership role in their engineering careers. Additionally, this degree type is useful for those who may pursue this role in another country, like the United Kingdom. The U.K. requires a master's degree in engineering to take the country's required exams.
Examples of master's programs in engineering include:
Master of Science in biomedical engineering
Master of Science in systems engineering
Master of Science in product design and manufacturing
Master of Science in structural engineering
Master of Science in mechanical engineering
4. Doctorate in engineering
Individuals who want to work as a college-level professor or as a researcher require a doctorate in engineering. Engineering doctorate programs can take three to six years to complete and qualify individuals for advanced research and inquiry within a particular engineering field. Examples of engineering doctorate degrees include Doctorate in Engineering and Doctorate in Project Management.
What can you do with an engineering degree?
There are several jobs you can do with an engineering degree. The type and level of degree you hold can largely determine the positions you're qualified for within the field. Here are 17 jobs to consider in the engineering industry. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, visit indeed.com/salaries:
With an associate degree
Here are some careers in engineering you can do with an associate degree:
National average salary: $48,871 per year
Primary duties: Mechanical engineering technicians are responsible for helping mechanical engineers design, create, make and test mechanical devices, such as engines and other types of machinery. They assist engineers with sketches and layouts. Their other duties can include analyzing and recording data and writing written reports of their findings.
National average salary: $59,223 per year
Primary duties: Industrial engineering technicians work under industrial engineers. These specialists are responsible for assisting in the implementation of designs to ensure machines and materials are efficient. They conduct studies, assess production costs and plan work based on the engineer's needs.
National average salary: $61,724 per year
Primary duties: Technical writers in the engineering field research, prepare, write and maintain technical documents, such as user documentation, software and systems engineering and testing. They analyze technical information on various engineering products and findings while creating reports and other written material based on the information found.
National average salary: $66,257 per year
Primary duties: Machinists maintain and operate industrial machines, such as milling machines and grinders. They ensure all machine operations follow safety protocols and regularly check equipment to ensure it works properly. These individuals also use manual and CNC machinery, which controls cutting speeds and helps make the required cuts more precise.
National average salary: $69,600 per year
Primary duties: Electronics technicians help set up, repair and maintain electronic equipment, machines and systems. They run performance analyses on various electronic devices and create reports on their findings. These experts can also troubleshoot issues and install system updates.
With a bachelor's degree
Some engineering jobs available to those with a bachelor's degree in engineering include:
National average salary: $77,941 per year
Primary duties: Information technology (IT) consultants assess a company's IT infrastructure and systems and make changes as needed. They diagnose IT issues and create and implement timelines for projects. These experts can also generate technological solutions to meet an organization's IT needs. Additionally, they may assist with minor repairs and maintenance requests occasionally.
National average salary: $85,806 per year
Primary duties: Civil engineers design, build, construct and maintain public and private sector systems, such as airports, roads, bridges and water supply systems. They work to improve the environment in which we live by evaluating if a project is sustainable and how it may affect the environment. Additionally, these individuals work to ensure they finish projects on time and within the allotted budget.
Read more: Learn About Being a Civil Engineer
National average salary: $87,503 per year
Primary duties: Mechanical engineers assess thermal and mechanical devices, troubleshoot issues with these devices and build and repair these devices. They conduct experiments to improve product designs. Additionally, these engineers collaborate with project managers and other team engineers.
Read more: Learn About Being a Mechanical Engineer
National average salary: $92,738 per year
Primary duties: Electrical engineers design, develop and implement electrical equipment and devices, such as motors, power generators and communication systems. They may also manage the manufacturing of these systems and devices to ensure quality standards are upheld. Other responsibilities include operating computer-assisted engineering software and establishing manufacturing and installation standards.
Read more: Learn About Being an Electrical Engineer
National average salary: $93,647 per year
Primary duties: Chemical engineers design, optimize and troubleshoot processes in the production of fuel, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and biologicals. They often work in manufacturing plants to assist in ensuring product quality. These experts also help develop and implement chemical manufacturing processes.
With a master's degree
The following are a few engineering careers to consider pursuing if you hold a master's degree in engineering:
National average salary: $88,785 per year
Primary duties: Environmental engineers prepare, review and improve environmental investigation reports. They design and implement projects that support environmental projection and design technology to support waste management and pollution control. This role can also analyze human influences on the environment and create reports for policymakers based on their findings.
Read more: Learn About Being an Environmental Engineer
National average salary: $92,969 per year
Primary duties: Biomedical engineers design biomedical devices and equipment, such as medical machinery, artificial limbs and internal organs. They analyze and implement solutions to challenges within the biology and medical fields while working to improve the effectiveness and quality of patient care. Other duties include evaluating the safety and effectiveness of biomedical equipment and training clinicians on how to use the equipment.
National average salary: $114,168 per year
Primary duties: A software engineer develops and implements software systems and testing methods. They direct software programming projects and analyze data to coordinate the installation of new software systems. This engineer also monitors the effectiveness of software systems and tests new software to determine its efficiency.
Read more: Learn About Being a Software Engineer
National average salary: $119,325 per year
Primary duties: Senior systems engineers are responsible for ensuring the integrity and efficiency of operations of information or other types of systems. They analyze, implement and maintain complex systems and networks. This role may also regularly perform troubleshooting to ensure these systems are up to par.
National average salary: $132,644 per year
Primary duties: Engineering managers ensure engineering duties and project requirements get fulfilled. They oversee a team of engineers and train new engineering employees. This role also manages project budgets and prepares reports based on a project's progress.
With a doctorate degree
The following are jobs that are available to engineers who hold a doctorate degree:
National average salary: $91,429 per year
Primary duties: Research engineers obtain information, samples and data. These experts also perform testing on the obtained information to determine the best material, method or product to use for the application of the findings. Additionally, they create designs for various ideas and items, like devices or instruments, based on their findings and write grant and research proposals.
National average salary: $94,094 per year
Primary duties: Engineering professors work in colleges and universities and teach courses related to the application of engineering principles and physical laws. They teach general engineering subjects like math and physics while instructing specialty classes such as civil engineering, chemical engineering and industrial engineering. They may also research a particular engineering field and publish their findings in engineering journals.
How do I get an engineering degree?
Here are some steps you can take to obtain an engineering degree:
Decide which degree to pursue. Decide which degree is right for you by researching the engineering field and job title you may like to have after graduation. This may give you an understanding of the degrees valuable for your career goals.
Apply to the university or college. Apply to a school offering your preferred degree. You may apply to a few different engineering degree programs to ensure you get accepted into one.
Complete the degree. Once accepted, you can complete the degree. Depending on the degree you choose, it may take you between two to 10 years to accomplish your education goals.
Take and pass the PE licensing exam. After obtaining an engineering degree, you're eligible to take the PE licensing exam, but this is an optional step. If you pass the exam, you become a licensed engineer and qualified to work as an engineer.
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