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Top Engineering Specialties

by Terri Williams, studioD

Engineering is a good career choice since these professionals are needed to plan, design, develop, test and implement a range of instruments, devices, machinery and equipment, in addition to solving problems related to health care, food and transportation. There are many factors that individuals may consider when classifying a career choice as a “top” job, including work environment and flexibility. However, the top engineering specialties check the boxes on what most people agree are two very important factors to weigh when considering a career: a lucrative salary and a promising job outlook.

Biomedical Engineers

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects average American job growth of 14 percent through 2020, demand for biomedical engineers will increase by 62 percent. In fact, biomedical engineering is the third fastest growing occupation in the country, and it is the fastest growing career requiring a college degree. Biomedical engineers design artificial organs and other body parts, and they design computer software for three-dimensional X-ray machines and other applications. The educational requirement for this job is a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. According to BLS salary data, the annual mean wage for this profession was $91,200 in May 2012.

Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum engineering is the highest paid engineering specialty with a May 2012 salary of $147,470, reports the BLS. And the demand for petroleum engineers is projected to be a respectable 17 percent through 2020 as higher prices may cause gas and oil companies to drill in deeper waters and try new ways to extract oil gas and oil. Petroleum engineers are needed to design equipment and develop plans to remove oil and gas from below the Earth’s surface. A bachelor’s degree in engineering, preferably petroleum engineering, is the educational requirement for this career choice.

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering ranked sixth on the "U.S. News & World Report" list of the best technology jobs for 2013, and it also ranked 17th on the list of the 100 best jobs of 2013. This specialty will only experience a 9 percent growth rate through 2020, but that will add an impressive 21,300 new jobs. Mechanical engineering provides a variety of opportunities ranging from nanotechnology to architecture to remanufacturing to alternative energies. These engineers design and build such equipment and machines as cars, elevators, manufacturing robots and refrigerators. In May 2012, mechanical engineers earned a median annual salary of $84,770.

Civil Engineers

Civil engineer landed in ninth place on the "U.S. News & World Report" list of top technology jobs of 2013, and came in at 26 on the list of the 100 best jobs. The career outlook for civil engineers is 19 percent through 2020, and this job offers a range of designing and building choices ranging from highways to airports to water and sewage systems. The educational requirement is a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. According the BLS, civil engineers earned $84,140 in May 2012.

About the Author

Terri Williams began writing professionally in 1997, working with a large nonprofit organization. Her articles have appeared in various online publications including Yahoo, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report University Directory, and the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago. Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Photo Credits

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