Today’s college students likely grew up amid the 2008 financial crisis, which caused widespread unemployment and financial woes for the average family. Thanks to the growth of the manufacturing sector since then, however, contemporary university attendees have better and more lucrative career options.
Engineering has benefited immensely from this manufacturing boom, in every domain from petroleum to mechanical.
As demand has increased for advanced engineering skills, so too has the compensation in specialized fields. Accordingly, here are the five engineering sectors with the best starting salaries.
Petroleum engineers can expect to earn $89,563 out of college, based on the 2016 average projection from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). That’s a whopping 11.1% increase from the 2015 average.
Open positions in the field are expected to grow immensely as the older generation of skilled workers moves toward retirement. Additionally, the tried-and-true petroleum industry requires less continuing education in comparison to other disciplines covered here.
Has a proud relative ever bragged about your computer skills? Maybe it was much ado about nothing; like you wowed with your uncanny ability to send emails with attachments. But that doting family member of yours may have been onto something: Computer engineers can anticipate an average starting salary of $65,606 according to NACE.
What’s more, computer engineers earned a 2017 median compensation of $115,120 a year.
Electrical engineers can expect $66,269 annual average starting salaries. Notably, the job has particularly high demands and variable work hours aligned to business needs. Engineers in this field often design and work on electrical equipment from the ground floor up.
Furthermore, workers with bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering earn an average of $97,970 annually.
Mechanical engineers earn a respectable $65,593 on average for their starting salaries. Typically, this sector requires workers to conceive, construct, and test automated devices and sensors. The median pay for all mechanical engineers is slightly lower than the others on this list, however, at $85,880 per annum.
Rounding out the list is chemical engineering, which pays employees a strong average yearly salary of $69,196 out of college.
The distribution of work for chemical engineers varies greatly and the salaries do, too. Some work in labs or universities, while others toil in office settings. With a median wage of $102,160 a year, though, most chemical engineers have it made financially.
More Fields to Come
Engineering disciplines are being expanded and redefined as the age of artificial intelligence and Internet of Things goes on. As technology advances and traditional education drifts further away from the practical application of knowledge in the workplace, engineering disciplines will diversify even further.
For instance, the new discipline of deep learning engineering pays an average of $147,085 a year.
By no means is this an exhaustive list of the starting salaries for engineers. But it’s a good enough high-level baseline to see just how lucrative the field can be.