According to a 2013 survey by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers, salaries for engineers in these fields have continued to rise. The annual income reported for all surveyed engineers was $104,303, which is .8% higher than the previous year, and 4.5% higher than the findings from 2011. With quickly evolving technologies demanding the attention of skilled engineers, it’s expected that this trend of rising engineering management salary figures will continue into the future.
Engineering, however, is a diverse field that constitutes numerous different areas of concentration – not just civil and mechanical engineering. Leadership in any of these specialized professions requires a well-defined understanding of the technical concepts that shape each one. To secure a management position (and the substantial engineering management salary that comes with it), professionals will likely have to choose a single field of focus.
To help you make that choice with regard to earning potential, what follows is a brief overview of some prominent fields of engineering, some insight into what the job involves, and what kind of median salary the occupation offers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Aerospace engineers frequently find work within the aviation or defense field coordinating the design and development of new aircraft technologies. They can also work with spacecraft and satellites to ensure that they’re built to be safe, effective, and in accordance with established plans. The median aerospace engineer salary in 2012 was $103,720 per year.
This field represents the meeting point of engineering and medicine. Biomedical engineers are tasked with addressing problems in the human body, often creating new technologies – including prosthetics, artificial organs, and other machines – that solve these issues. The median biomedical engineer salary in 2012 was $89,960 per year.
Demanding a high degree of expertise in chemistry and biology, the field of chemical engineering focuses on providing insight into better means of manufacturing and modifying chemicals, fuel, drugs, or food. Often, they work to supervise treatment processes that can be harmful to humans, developing safety procedures while monitoring output to drive operational efficiency. The median chemical engineer salary in 2012 was $94,350 per year.
The task of the civil engineer is to design and often supervise the construction of major domestic projects (roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, sewage systems, and water supply infrastructure, for example). Leaders in the field analyze land surveys, ensure compliance to permits and standards, and provide budgetary insight throughout the project. The median civil engineer salary in 2012 was $79,340 per year.
Working with electronic equipment and technologies, electrical engineers design, develop, and test a variety of different devices that range from communications systems to generators. They work with forces of electricity to provide efficient power to a given process or area and work closely with circuitry and wiring to identify and fix problems. The median electrical engineer salary in 2012 was $89,630 per year.
Equal parts engineer and earth scientist, an environmental engineer typically analyzes the impact of a given facility or process on local wildlife and works to improve the harmony between industry and nature. On occasion, they work to solve global issues of public health, like proposing a refining/filtration process for drinking water supplies, or developing new technologies to curb climate change. The median environmental engineer salary in 2012 was $80,890 per year.
Industrial engineers work to eliminate waste from production and manufacturing processes, making factories and plants more efficient. They perform detailed analyses of production schedules, specifications, and process workflows to identify problem areas. The median industrial engineer salary in 2012 was $78,860 per year.
This is considered one of the broadest engineering fields, with mechanical devices of all kinds included within its purview. Some mechanical engineers might be involved in designing new consumer products, while others might work with industrial equipment, engines, and other material handling systems. The median mechanical engineer salary in 2012 was $80,580 per year.
One of the most delicate fields of engineering, nuclear engineers create and assess the systems used to safely handle and treat radioactive materials. They also develop ways that these materials can be used, whether for medical purposes (as in X-Rays and cancer treatment) or as a significant source of power. The median nuclear engineer salary in 2012 was $104,270 per year.
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