Information for this post was taken from the following sources: 1.) Design News Daily Magazine, Rob Spiegel, 2.) Machine Design, “Engineering by the Numbers”, 9 October 2014, 3.), and 4.) The Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

We all are interested in knowing how we “stack up” relative to the average compensation package within our specific discipline.  It’s human nature to want to know.   Most companies do not publish individual salary levels but most publish salaries within “band” levels.  Of course, salaries are dependent upon several factors such as, discipline, number of years within a profession, education levels, number of years with a specific company, company size, company profitability, and certain other markers company specific.   This post will give a very brief summation of salary levels within various engineering disciplines showing the maximum and minimum basic compensation.  I will come back at a later date and provide additional information relative to job satisfaction, demographics for the engineering profession at large and what some feel is the future of engineering in general.  Where are we going as a profession?

Let us now take a very quick look at what Machine Design considers to be the top six (6) engineering disciplines relative to pay grade.


In my opinion, I think Biomedical Engineering is one of fastest growing fields in the engineering profession.  When I was attending the university, in the dark ages, we did not have biomedical engineering. There were EE, ME and Materials Engineering “types” that gravitated to those endeavors simply because they felt compelled to contribute.  Today, several universities offer specific degrees in Biomedical.  An excellent profession to work within.


Chemical engineering has always been an area much in demand due to the requirements of the field.  General knowledge of chemistry is absolutely necessary for success in this discipline. This is certainly one reason the field enjoys a higher entry salary.   The petroleum industry attracts many chemical engineers for obvious reasons.


Years ago, and I do mean years ago, there were two types of engineering; military and civil.  Civil represented all other fields of engineering not practiced within the confines of military needs.  Today, civil engineers perform a great number of tasks including design of structures such as defined by the graphic above.  I feel the $55K entry level is much too low for the work accomplished.


One very good thing about computer engineering hardware and software—they will be with us forever.  There is an increasing demand for software engineers due to advances in the field of mechatronics.   All complex systems benefit from computer-driven software.  I think that is a given.


Some say the coal industry is going the way of the dinosaur.  I think not.  We still need those by-products from coal so mining remains a very desirable profession if not for that reason only.     In addition, geological engineers are employed by most, if not all, petroleum industries for the purposes of exploration.   Conflict minerals; i.e. cassiterite (for tin), wolframite (for tungsten), coltan (for tantalum), and gold ore, must be mined in addition to many other subterranean substance.


Material science is one the most intriguing fields within the engineering profession.   Steel, aluminum, brass, copper, have been with us for centuries but composite materials represent a remarkably fast-growing and fairly new field of endeavor.   Automotive and aerospace companies are investing heavily in material science to improve strength and decrease weight.


Mechanical engineering is one of the oldest fields in the engineering profession and started with the need to produce and deliver power.  Gears, wheels, brakes, pulleys, springs, levers, positioning devices, storage tanks all depends upon stress/strain calculations and measurements in order to provide products that are safe and fulfill needed requirements.


As mentioned above, I will have more relative to the engineering profession over the next few days and keep in mind, these six represent a fraction of engineering opportunities available to an interested individual.  Hope you enjoy this one and it is beneficial to you.

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