15 Types Of Engineering Jobs

By Chris Kolmar
Aug. 18, 2022

Find a Job You Really Want In

If you have ever considered being an engineer, you likely know that it has a plethora of career options, as engineering is a broad field with hundreds of job titles that could be your dream job. Whether you are deciding if being an engineer of any kind is the right choice for you or you just want to explore its subfields, you are in the right place.

In this article, we’ll talk through what engineers do, tell you about 15 different types of engineering jobs and what they entail, and explain the four major categories of engineering that all of these jobs fall under.

Key Takeaways

  • Engineers are experts in the science behind the design, construction, and use of the structures, machines, and systems they specialize in.

  • Some of the types of jobs engineers can have include aerospace engineering, agricultural engineering, and architectural engineering, to name just a few.

  • The four major categories of engineering are chemical, mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering.

15 Types Of Engineering Jobs

What Do Engineers Do?

Engineers can have a variety of responsibilities that have to do with the science behind the design, construction, and use of structures, machines, and systems.

Engineers use their knowledge of math and science to design, test, and improve new technology, determine if structures and machines are safe to use, and figure out ways to fix and prevent problems in systems. These are just a few aspects of what engineers can do, as they can go into many different specialties.

15 Types of Engineering Jobs

  1. Aerospace Engineer
    Average Annual 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.

    Find Aerospace Engineer jobs near me

  2. Agricultural Engineer
    Average Annual Salary: $74,000

    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.

    Find Agricultural Engineer jobs near me

  3. Architectural Engineer
    Average Annual Salary: $83,000

    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.

    Find Architectural Engineer jobs near me

  4. Biomedical Engineer
    Average Annual Salary: $76,000

    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.

    Find Biomedical Engineer jobs near me

  5. Chemical Engineer
    Average Annual Salary: $89,000

    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.

    Find Chemical Engineer jobs near me

  6. Civil Engineer
    Average Annual Salary: $70,000

    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.

    Find Civil Engineer jobs near me

  7. Computer Engineer
    Average Annual Salary: $83,000

    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.

    Find Computer Engineer jobs near me

  8. Electrical Engineer
    Average Annual Salary: $74,000

    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.

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  9. Environmental Engineer
    Average Annual Salary: $66,000

    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.

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  10. Environmental safety health engineer
    Average Annual Salary: $70,000

    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.

    Find Health Safety Engineer jobs near me

  11. Industrial Engineer
    Average Annual Salary: $73,000

    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.

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  12. Marine Engineer
    Average Annual Salary: $84,000

    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.

    Find Marine Engineer jobs near me

  13. Mechanical Engineer
    Average Annual Salary: $72,000

    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.

    Find Mechanical Engineer jobs near me

  14. Nuclear Engineer
    Average Annual Salary: $85,000

    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.

    Find Nuclear Engineer jobs near me

  15. Petroleum Engineer
    Average Annual Salary: $109,000

    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.

    Find Petroleum Engineer jobs near me

What Are the Four Main Engineering Categories?

The four main engineering categories are chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical, and most engineering jobs fall under these.

  1. Chemical Engineering

    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.

  2. Mechanical Engineering

    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.

  3. Electrical Engineering

    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.

  4. Civil Engineering

    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.

Types Of Engineering FAQ

  1. How many types of engineering are there?

    There are 20 types of engineering. Some of the most common include chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. From agriculture to architecture, you can find an engineer for it.

    That’s why there are over 40 different engineering degrees you can pursue in college. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to pinpoint an engineering job that sounds interesting to you before you pursue an education.

    Here are some other examples of engineering types:

    • Aerospace

    • Agricultural

    • Architectural

    • Biomedical

    • Computer

    • Environmental

    • Industrial

    • Marine

    • Nuclear

    • Petroleum

  2. Which field of engineering has the highest salaries?

    The petroleum engineering field has the highest salaries. This job provides an average salary of $109,000 per year.

    Petroleum engineering pays so much because it falls under the nuclear specialization, requiring you to have a strong education and experience with physics, chemical engineering, and more. After all, petroleum is essentially crude oil and can be incredibly dangerous to handle.

    The main trade-off for the high pay is handling the design of systems that will have catastrophic consequences if they fail. That’s because these systems extract crude oil and gas deposits beneath the ground, and an engineering issue could cause oil spills.

    Of course, petroleum engineering isn’t the only high-paying engineering field. Others include: chemical engineering ($89,000), nuclear engineering ($85,000), and aerospace engineering ($85,000)

  3. Which field of engineering is the easiest to study?

    Environmental engineering is generally the easiest engineering field to study. That’s because a college major for this field will mostly cover fundamental engineering concepts, as well as ecology and environmental studies.

    For reference, jobs like electrical engineering will have you tackling far more complicated and abstract mathematical concepts.

    As an environmental engineer student, you’ll focus mainly on design projects and research papers. Therefore, unlike other engineering fields, your focus on traditionally difficult subjects like advanced math and chemistry will be limited.

    Further, environmental engineers can land a job with a bachelor’s degree, even if that degree is only for civil engineering. They can also work across various fields, such as technology, energy, construction, and manufacturing.

    If you’re curious, other relatively easy engineering fields include industrial engineering, architectural engineering, and agricultural engineering.

  4. Which field of engineering is the toughest?

    Electrical engineering is generally considered the toughest engineering field to study. That’s because more than any other engineering field, this one tackles highly abstract concepts (not to mention the difficult math classes).

    Unlike other types of engineers, electrical engineers can’t physically see the effects of what they’re designing. That makes studying and designing electrical currents and circuits more difficult than studying and designing a windmill.

    Plus, if you don’t like math, you might want to run. Electrical engineering regularly involves heavy abstract mathematical concepts like partial differential equations.

    Other difficult engineering fields include chemical engineering, aerospace engineering, and nuclear engineering.

  5. Which engineering jobs are the easiest?

    The easiest engineering jobs are the ones that come naturally to you. Because everyone is different, no engineering job is the “easiest.”

    However, when it comes to education and the complexity of tasks, Civil Engineering or Environmental Engineering may be easier than other related fields.

    Civil engineering can be simpler than other engineering fields because it’s a generalized field that covers all of the basics without diving too deep into some more complex aspects of jobs like electrical or chemical engineering. Plus, high demand for the role means it would be easy to land a high-paying state job.

    On the other hand, environmental engineering can be easier because it has open education requirements compared to other engineering fields and works with creative solutions.

    Overall though, no engineering field is inherently easier than another. Odds are, whichever one clicks with you, the most will likely be the easiest.

  6. Which field of engineering is the best for the future?

    The best field of engineering for the future is biomedical engineering. Healthcare is a huge industry in the U.S. (especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic), and new technologies are emerging every day.

    That’s why biomedical engineering was recently named “America’s Top Technology Career” and is expected to continue its rapid growth. Workers in this field are in high demand and get paid a respectable $76,000 per year.

    Other good engineering fields for the future include environmental engineering, aerospace engineering, and civil engineering.

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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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