15 Types Of Engineering Jobs

By Chris Kolmar - Feb. 17, 2021
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If you have ever considered being an engineer, you know that there are plenty of options. Engineering is a broad field, with hundreds of job titles that could be the perfect fit.

The first step is to decide what type of engineer you would like to be depending on your interests. From there, getting the necessary education and finding the most popular state for your field will put you on the right path toward employment.

Whether you are deciding if the title is for you or if you’ve already got the experience and just want to explore other subfields, you are in the right place. Find out the different types of engineering jobs that are available and what you can expect.

What Types of Engineering Jobs Are There?

There are quite a few different types of engineering jobs, but most fall under four distinct categories – chemical, civil, electrical, or mechanical.

Chemical engineering is one of the more straightforward tracks, as it deals with how chemicals are processed for various uses. It combines chemistry, biology, and physics principles to provide solutions.

Mechanical engineering is broader, with engineers designing and testing machines of all sizes. They focus on the mechanics of a device, with specialties in aeronautics, manufacturing, automotive, and healthcare.

When it comes to how equipment and devices are wired, electrical engineering comes into play. Using physics and mathematics, electrical engineers focus on designing systems and power stations. Typical jobs might be in telecommunications, energy, or industrial settings, though the options are vast.

Civil engineers play a major role in designing aspects of our everyday lives that we may not realize. This branch is responsible for the planning of public buildings and transportation systems.

Civil engineers might find themselves working on structures like hospitals, highways, or wind farms. This means that they can be employed by energy firms, government agencies, oil companies, and more.

The options are endless when it comes to the individual job titles within each category, but here are 15 types of engineering jobs to get you started:

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15 Types of Engineering Jobs

  1. Aerospace Engineer

    Average salary: $85,000

    What they do: An aerospace engineer falls under the mechanical engineering specialization. The main focus of this profession is aerospace vehicles, including airliners, spacecraft, missiles, and jets.

    Engineers are responsible for the design and overall development of aircraft, conducting testing and computer simulations to ensure that prototypes operate properly.

    Depending on the industry of employment – for example, the federal government versus a manufacturing firm – the additional job responsibilities will vary. The role may include a focus on propulsion, system development, research techniques, or avionics.

    Some of the desired skills and qualifications for an aerospace engineer include a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical/aerospace engineering, security clearance, C++, project management, and SolidWorks.

  2. Agricultural Engineer

    Average salary: $68,000

    What they do: Agricultural engineering falls under the chemical engineering field. Those interested in providing solutions for complex agricultural issues are best suited for this career. An engineer will focus on energy sources, farming systems, biofuels, and food processing.

    Developing sustainable management systems for crops and soil are the main responsibilities, though the engineer may focus on one area more than the other depending on the employer.

    It is also possible to have an advisory role, where your tasks would involve research methods, preparing budgets, and directing teams on quality control of agricultural products. It is possible to work in an office environment though many agricultural engineers may work in the field.

    The most common major for agricultural engineers is not agricultural engineering, and many employers do not request a specialized degree. Instead, an employer may accept an engineering degree in a different field or a bachelor’s related to soil chemistry, earth sciences, or a related discipline.

  3. Architectural Engineer

    Average salary: $78,000

    What they do: Architectural engineering is considered a specialization of the general civil engineering track. They are different from architects, but in many positions, they may work together or collaborate.

    An architectural engineer does not design the exterior of a building, but instead focuses on aspects such as acoustics, ventilation, plumbing, safety, and regulatory compliance. In the field, these engineers will communicate with construction workers, laborers, and project leads.

    It is also possible for architectural engineers to focus on environmental elements that could impact structural elements. Some of the top skills for the position are Python, C++, Java, and project management. Most architectural engineers obtain a bachelor’s in architectural engineering or architecture.

  4. Biomedical Engineer

    Average salary: $74,000

    What they do: A biomedical engineer works in the healthcare industry, ensuring that various types of medical equipment meet quality standards. They may be responsible for installing or repairing an ultrasound machine or designing new types of instruments used for surgery.

    Biomedical engineers will have to design and test models, inspect equipment, and also keep records for quality assurance purposes. Being that the position is in healthcare, engineers also should have patient care skills and knowledge of different regulatory bodies such as the FDA.

    The most common degree when entering this position is a bachelor’s in biomedical engineering, though electrical engineering degrees are also popular.

  5. Chemical Engineer

    Average salary: $83,000

    What they do: Chemical engineers focus on the compounds that are found in food, oil, drugs, gas, and other products. They make assessments to improve the quality and overall safety of chemicals. Their duties include designing plant machinery while also working to understand the efficiency of overall operations.

    Testing and reporting are also crucial to the role, as they provide support to other departments. Chemical engineers have a great interest in chemistry and biology, along with working knowledge of various health and safety standards. You will need a bachelor’s in chemical engineering for most positions in this field.

  6. Civil Engineer

    Average salary: $73,000

    What they do: Civil engineering is one of the major fields of engineering. Civil engineers are responsible for the design of buildings, sustainable water systems, railways, and other types of infrastructure.

    They can take on residential, commercial, or even government construction projects. Determining the cost, quality, and safety of structure materials is also included in their workflow.

    There may be project management duties, where the engineer will oversee the budget, engineers, and vendors involved in a project. Reporting, facilitating bids, and compiling public data are also important.

    The majority of civil engineers will have a civil engineering degree, holding a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

  7. Computer Engineer

    Average salary: $85,000

    What they do: For those interested in coding and hardware systems, computer engineering is a top career field. This position involves the research, design, and development of processors, circuitry, memory, and other tangible elements. They also run tests, execute modeling, and make adjustments to improve technology.

    Though software engineering is closely related to computer engineering, the latter may have similar responsibilities or coordinate depending on the position. Being highly analytical, understanding computer design, physics, mathematics, and electronics is required.

    Many employers require a computer engineering, electrical engineering, or computer science degree.

  8. Electrical Engineer

    Average salary: $79,000

    What they do: Electrical engineers work on the design and installation of various electrical projects, such as GPS, radar, satellites, and even everyday equipment. It depends on their industry, which may include the military, power plants, airlines, and industrial settings. They also help to maintain cost savings and keep projects on budget.

    Electrical engineers need to have a vast knowledge of computer systems, mathematics, physics, and technology in order to create and assemble drawings. Advanced skills in AutoCAD and hardware design are required to successfully understand electrical systems.

    The vast majority of those in this position hold a bachelor’s degree specifically in electrical engineering, with many also holding a master’s in the same.

  9. Environmental Engineer

    Average salary: $70,000

    What they do: Environmental engineers find solutions to problems such as air and water pollution or improper waste disposal. Common issues they combat include climate change and dangerous water quality levels.

    Modeling and assessments are also crucial to this position, which is why engineers may need to have knowledge of programs like AERMOD and AutoCAD. Permitting and compliance management are additional duties, and familiarity with air quality standards, OSHA, and EPA regulations is a must.

    Environmental engineers can work in a wide range of industries, including technology, energy, construction, and manufacturing. Both bachelor’s and master’s degrees are common for this position, with majors in environmental engineering and civil engineering being the most popular.

  10. Health & Safety Engineer

    Average salary: $73,000

    What they do: As the job title suggests, a health and safety engineer is concerned with all aspects of workforce safety. They ensure that facilities, gear, and surroundings are designed with preventative risk measures. Reviewing previous incidents in order to develop or adjust new safety standards is also their responsibility.

    This position can be research-heavy, as compliance recommendations are based on existing practices and reports. Engineers may work with other health experts to examine these environmental and industrial incidents.

    Most positions will require a bachelor’s degree, though an engineering major may not be required. The most common fields of study are environmental science and occupational safety and health.

  11. Industrial Engineer

    Average salary: $77,000

    What they do: Working as an industrial engineer means that you will play a hand in the overall manufacturing process with a focus on production.

    You will design systems to make collaborations between equipment, materials, and coworkers more cohesive. Improving productivity, streamlining processes, and abiding by safety regulations are standard job responsibilities.

    Due to the nature of the job, there are certain skills and qualifications that industrial engineers are likely to have. Six Sigma certification is valuable, along with experience in Time Study, MSSQL, and supply chain management.

    A bachelor’s degree in engineering, supply chain management, or similar is typically required.

  12. Marine Engineer

    Average salary: $81,000

    What they do: Marine engineers are also known as naval architects. They design and build the infrastructure for a wide range of ships. They create layouts for electrical and propulsion systems, as well as technical drawings of steering and other components.

    Engineers will also work to ensure that the testing and actual installation of the equipment meets standards.

    A naval architect, more specifically, may focus on the overall design of the ship and its interior. For example, they must consider how gravity and buoyancy of the waterline impact ship design. Most often, a marine engineer and naval architect will work closely together on layout and production.

    A specific degree in marine engineering, marine systems engineering, or naval architecture may be required depending on the specific job title. Skills that marine engineers must possess include advanced knowledge of physics, CAD, and mechanics of materials.

  13. Mechanical Engineer

    Average salary: $80,000

    What they do: Mechanical engineers have one of the broadest career fields, being responsible for the design and development of numerous devices.

    These engineers may work with thermal devices, engines, air conditioning systems, generators, robots, and more. They will create prototypes, test various systems, and identify any faults in functionality.

    Mechanical engineers oversee the entire manufacturing process, utilizing technology to develop models and systems. An understanding of SolidWorks, AutoCAD, CREO, and Syteline software is common when applying for this job.

    A bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering is typically required, though a Ph. D may be necessary for teaching and research-based positions.

  14. Nuclear Engineer

    Average salary: $86,000

    What they do: Nuclear engineers are at the forefront of developing systems to harness the benefits of nuclear energy. This may include the design and operation of nuclear power plant facilities, or their work may be centered around health and safety. Duties within a plant may be to implement guidelines for disposing of nuclear waste or even ceasing operations when safety hazards occur.

    In the healthcare industry, they may be responsible for constructing safe mechanisms and instruments with nuclear materials. This includes medical uses for radiation, cyclotrons, and reactor cores. Additionally, a nuclear engineer may work in other fields where they focus on designing nuclear power sources for watercraft or aircraft.

    In order to get a job as a nuclear engineer, a candidate must have an engineering degree with a course load that demonstrates advanced knowledge of physics and mathematics.

    A security clearance may also be necessary considering many nuclear engineers work for a governmental agency. Other skills and qualifications include nuclear power, oversight, safety analysis, and project management.

  15. Petroleum Engineer

    Average salary: $106,000

    What they do: A petroleum engineer falls under the nuclear specialization, strongly rooted in physics and chemical engineering.

    These engineers work on the design systems and extraction of crude oil and gas deposits beneath the ground. They may evaluate wells, analyze reservoirs, and ensure that drilling equipment is functioning according to design.

    Petroleum engineers also closely study the geological aspects of crude oil and gas reservoirs. They may also focus on one area specifically, whether it is drilling, natural gas, oil wells, or engineering for the reservoir itself.

    The majority of people in this career field will hold a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering. Being skillful in reservoir characterization, engineering support, and Petrel is highly desirable amongst employers.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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