What Can You Do With an Engineering Degree? Top 17 Engineering Degree Jobs

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published January 5, 2021

Updated February 22, 2021

Published January 5, 2021

There are a number of career options and opportunities for individuals who want to work in engineering. The type of engineering degree a person holds will largely determine what they are able to do within the field. In this article, we explore the different types of engineering degrees, how to obtain one and the job opportunities for each degree type.

What are the different types of engineering degrees?

There are a few different engineering degree options available depending on your career goals. The following are the available engineering degrees to consider pursuing:

1. Associate degree in engineering

An associate degree in engineering typically 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 type of degree will prepare you for immediate work in the engineering field, it does come with limitations in terms of the type of work you will be eligible for. For example, an associate degree won't allow you to earn your Professional Engineering (PE) license but it will 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. Bachelor's degrees typically take four years to complete and prepares students for work as professional engineers. This type of degree program provides students with both introductory knowledge of engineering as well as educates them on various specializations within the engineering field such as mechanics and civil engineering. A bachelor's degree in engineering is required to sit for the exam to receive a PE license.

Examples of bachelors' 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 course of the program. Examples of engineering specialties that may be available to study in a bachelor's program include:

  • Agricultural engineering

  • Architectural engineering

  • Biomedical engineering

  • Aerospace engineering

  • Construction engineering

  • Mining engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Robotics engineering

  • Safety engineering

  • Software engineering

  • Petroleum engineering

  • Transportation engineering

3. Master's degree in engineering

Most master's degrees in engineering are focused 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.

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 Mechanical Engineering

4. Doctorate degree in engineering

Individuals who want to work as a college-level professor or as a researcher will need to pursue a doctorate in engineering. Engineering doctorate programs can take anywhere from 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 Project Management and Doctorate in Engineering.

What jobs can you get with an engineering degree?

There are a number of jobs you can pursue with an engineering degree. The type and level of degree you hold will largely determine the positions you're qualified for within the engineering field. The following are job options to consider in you're interested in working in the engineering industry:

With an associate degree

The following are careers in engineering that can be pursued with an associate degree:

1. Mechanical engineering technician

National average salary: $44,693 per year

Primary duties: Mechanical engineering technicians are responsible for helping mechanical engineers design, create, test and make mechanical devices like engines and machines. They assist engineers with sketches and layouts, analyze and record data and report their findings.

2. Electronics technician

National average salary: $57,073 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.

3. Technical writer

National average salary: $57,326 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 and create reports and other written material based on the information found.

Read more: Learn About Being a Technical Writer

4. Industrial engineering technician

National average salary: $59,223 per year

Primary duties: Industrial engineering technicians work under industrial engineers and 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.

5. Machinist

National average salary: $61,028 per year

Primary duties: Machinists are engineering professionals who maintain and operate industrial machines. They ensure all machine operations follow safety protocols and regularly check equipment to ensure it works properly.

With a bachelor's degree

The following are a few engineering jobs that are available to those who hold a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field:

1. IT consultant

National average salary: $78,371 per year

Primary duties: Information technology (IT) consultants are responsible for assessing a company's IT infrastructure and systems and making changes as needed. They diagnose IT issues, create and implement timelines for projects and create technological solutions to meet a company's IT needs.

2. Chemical engineer

National average salary: $86,553 per year

Primary duties: Chemical engineers are responsible for designing and troubleshooting processes in the production of fuel, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and biologicals. They often work in manufacturing plants to assist in ensuring product quality. They also help develop and implement chemical manufacturing processes.

Read more: Learn About Being a Chemical Engineer

3. Civil engineer

National average salary: $88,149 per year

Primary duties: Civil engineers are responsible for designing major transportation systems and projects and overseeing the completion of these projects. They 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 ensuring structures are built in an eco-conscious way.

Read more: Learn About Being a Civil Engineer

4. Mechanical engineer

National average salary: $94,922 per year

Primary duties: Mechanical engineers are responsible for assessing thermal and mechanical devices, troubleshooting issues with these devices and building and repairing these devices. They conduct experiments to improve product designs and collaborate with project managers and other engineers that are part of their team.

Read more: Learn About Being a Mechanical Engineer

5. Electrical engineer

National average salary: $94,801 per year

Primary duties: Electrical engineers are responsible for designing, developing and implementing electrical equipment and devices such as motors, power generators, communication systems and other electrical systems. They also manage the manufacturing of these systems and devices and ensure quality standards are upheld. Other responsibilities include operating computer-assisted engineering software, working with customers and other engineers to discuss and create engineering projects and establishing manufacturing and installation standards.

Read more: Learn About Being an Electrical Engineer

With a master's degree

The following are a few engineering careers to consider pursuing if you hold a master's degree in engineering or a related field:

1. Environmental engineer

National average salary: $83,532 per year

Primary duties: Environmental engineers are responsible for preparing, reviewing and improving environmental investigation reports. They design and implement projects that support environmental projection, design technology to support waste management and pollution control, analyze human influences on the environment and create reports for policymakers based on their findings.

Learn more: Learn About Being an Environmental Engineer

2. Biomedical engineer

National average salary: $83,849 per year

Primary duties: Biomedical engineers are responsible for designing biomedical devices and equipment such as medical machinery and artificial limbs and internal organs. They analyze and implement solutions to problems within the biology and medical fields and work 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.

3. Software engineer

National average salary: $107,502 per year

Primary duties: A software engineer is responsible for developing implementing software systems and testing methods. They direct software programming projects, analyze data to coordinate the installation of new software systems, monitor the effectiveness of software systems and test new software to determine its efficiency.

Read more: Learn About Being a Software Engineer

4. Senior systems engineer

National average salary: $114,625 per year

Primary duties: Senior systems engineers are responsible for ensuring the integrity and efficiency of operations of information systems. They analyze, implement and maintain complex systems and networks and regularly perform troubleshooting to ensure these systems are up to par.

5. Engineering manager

National average salary: $127,880 per year

Primary duties: Engineering managers are responsible for ensuring engineering duties and project requirements are fulfilled. They oversee a team of engineers, manage project budgets, train new engineering employees and prepare reports based on the progress of their projects.

With a doctorate degree

The following are jobs that are available to engineers who hold a doctorate degree:

1. Engineering professor

National average salary: $59,052 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 subjects such as civil engineering, chemical engineering and industrial engineering and prepare course material for students. They may also conduct research in a particular engineering field and publish their findings in engineering journals.

2. Research engineer

National average salary: $94,793 per year

Primary duties: Research engineers are responsible for obtaining information, samples and data and performing testing on them to determine the best material, method or product to use for the application of the findings. They create designs for devices or instruments based on their findings and write grant and research proposals.

How do I get an engineering degree?

If you're interested in obtaining a degree in engineering, you'll need to:

1. Decide which degree to pursue

The first step in getting an engineering degree is to decide which degree is right for you. To do so, determine which field of engineering you want to work in and the job title you'd like to have. Then, do some research to see what type of degree is required for that job title. This should give you a solid understanding of the degree that's best for your career goals.

2. Apply to the university or college of your choice

Next, apply to the college or university that offers the degree you wish to pursue. You may wish to apply to a few different engineering degree programs to ensure you get accepted into one.

3. Complete the degree

Once accepted, you'll need to complete the degree. Depending on which degree you choose, it may take you anywhere from two to 10 years to accomplish your education goals.

4. Take and pass the PE licensing exam

After obtaining an engineering degree, you are now eligible to sit for the PE licensing exam. If you pass the exam, you will be a professional engineer and qualified to work as an engineer.

Explore more articles