If you’re looking for a short answer regarding the outlook for the engineering field, it would be: “Not too shabby.”
While engineering jobs aren’t necessarily seen as the most recession-proof positions around, our technology-driven world all but ensures that those with engineering degrees of some kind will always be able to find employment at some level.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of engineering jobs in America is expected to rise 4% from 2014-2024. While this certainly might not seem like that much, the outlook is much more positive once you begin looking at specific types of engineering positions. For example, the field of biomedical engineering is expected to increase by 23.1% in the same time span; environmental engineering will increase by 12.4%; and civil engineering by 8.4%.
On the other side of things, the fields of aerospace engineering, nuclear engineering, and electronic engineering (with the exception of computer hardware specializations) are expected to decrease by up to 4%.
In terms of income, the engineering field is way ahead of the national average. Of the specializations listed on the BLS’ website, civil engineers rank near the lowest in terms of median salary – at about $82k. Computer hardware engineers’ median salaries rank the highest, at around $118k. When compared to the national median of around $31k, it’s pretty clear that engineering can be a lucrative career, regardless of specialty.
Typically, engineering positions require candidates to have earned a Bachelor’s degree in a related program to be considered for hire. To reach the higher salary tiers, individuals will eventually need to earn their Master’s, as well.
However, those working toward a Bachelor’s in engineering can get their foot in the door at certain companies by applying to work as engineering technicians. These positions typically require an Associate’s degree or equivalency.
Once you begin working in an engineering field, you’ll be on track to become a licensed engineer within your state. Though the laws of licensure in each state vary slightly, you typically need to hold at least a Bachelor’s degree, work in the field for a set number of years, and pass certain licensure exams.
Because the engineering field, in general, is quite competitive, you may want to consider working with an engineering staffing agency if you’ve just begun looking for a job. These agencies will consider your skills and specialties, and match you with the position that’s absolutely right for you.
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