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Highest Paying Jobs in Engineering

Posted by Eileen Hoenigman Meyer

Career Advice Expert

April 9, 2019

Engineering seems to be an ever-expanding field, and across the board, engineering jobs are hot.  There’s plenty of variety when it comes to jobs for engineers. Student advisor, author and researcher Andrew Belasco explains that the discipline is comprised of more than 25 areas of study, which each have their own sub disciplines.

Earning a degree in any engineering field is no small feat. Belasco notes: “A gulp-worthy 60% of freshmen engineering students eventually drop-out or change majors.”

For those with the guts and the gumption to earn an engineering degree, the jobs are lucrative and plentiful. “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment growth for these workers, with nearly 140,000 new jobs expected for engineers over the 2016–26 decade.”

According to Glassdoor data, capturing average base pay salary data from nearly 60,000 respondents, engineers across disciplines earn salaries at the following rates relative to their experience:

  • 0-1 years of experience: $67,368
  • 4-6 years of experience: $80,024
  • 10-14 years of experience: $95,239

In Glassdoor’s recent 50 best Jobs in America for 2019, nearly 20 percent of the top-ranked jobs were in the engineering field. Similarly, Glassdoor’s recent 25 Highest Paying Jobs in America revealed that almost half of 2018’s highest paying roles were in an engineering or computer engineering field.

Read on to learn about the highest paying engineering jobs.

What kind of engineering job is right for you?  

There is a tremendous range of opportunities for professionals who have the skillset and the work ethic to pursue engineering degrees. Some engineering roles have traditionally existed, anchoring life in the workplace; other jobs have emerged and evolved as the technology they support has advanced.

Both represent excellent professional opportunities, but which kind of engineering jobs make the most money?

Top Engineering Jobs

These jobs represent the top engineering fields that have traditionally dominated the industry landscape.  

Industrial Engineers use their prowess to refine processes. They ensure that human workers and machines are functioning optimally together, and that their company’s operations are smooth and streamlined. They are experts when it comes to harnessing productivity for their professional context.

Average base pay: $54,000-$85,000

Chemical Engineers use chemistry to create and problem solve. Their handy work aids the production of fuel, food, drugs, chemicals, etc.  

Average Base Pay: $59,000-$99,000

Mechanical Engineers design, develop and test machinery, sensors, engines and tools.  Automotive engineers and robotics engineers are both examples of mechanical engineering jobs.  

Average base pay: $57,000-$106,000

Application Engineers examine and refine systems. They find ways to streamline and systemize applications and processes to reduce waste and bolster productivity.

Average base pay: $62,000-$107,000

Civil Engineers take their expertise to the streets, literally. These pros help plan and execute infrastructural plans and designs that make life safe and efficient.  

Average base pay: $62,000-$118,000

Electrical Engineers study, develop, design and refine a wide range of electrical equipment.  Communications systems, radars, motors, and GPS devices are some systems that engage electrical engineers’ attention.  

Average base pay: $67,000-$127,000

Plant Managers ensure that the workplaces they oversee are operating safely and efficiently.

Average base pay: $73,000-$152,000

Petroleum Engineers are experts when it comes to pursuing fuel, and they refine practices that extract oil and gas efficiently.

Average base pay: $84,000-$153,000

Sales engineers are tech pros who help advise their clients about purchases they need to make to keep operations running smoothly. When staff at a factory need to purchase a replacement part for one of their machines, for example, they can’t just buy it off the rack. They need the support of an expert who understands what that machine does and who can help them secure the fitting part.

Average base pay: $68,000-$185,000

Tech Engineering Jobs

While computer engineering is a relative newcomer to the engineering landscape, these designations have quickly become top engineering fields. These roles continue to evolve, creating rich opportunities for job seekers.     

Software developers are the creative powerhouses that evolve and grow new programs and applications. BLS reports: “Employment of software developers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Software developers will be needed to respond to an increased demand for computer software.”

Average Base pay: $58,000-$112,000

Cloud network engineers enable clients to access digital information without having to install separate software. Ensuring accessibility, versatility and security are fundamental to this role.

Average base pay: $49,000-$132,000

Senior software development managers oversee their team in the development of new products. This job requires technical skill, leadership ability and market awareness.  

Average base pay: $112,000-$171,000

Security Engineers screen and test the software that keeps systems safe. They also monitor systems for threats and ensure optimal safety measure to maintain the integrity and security of those systems.

Average base pay: $93,000-$155,000


Engineering is a thriving, lucrative field with plenty of opportunity and variety. It takes a certain kind of student to thrive in this demanding academic environment. Belasco notes that those who succeed as engineers tend to “possess both a passion and an aptitude for figuring out how things work. This combination of innate ability and zeal is essential in a discipline that requires a high level of perseverance and diligence.”

If that sounds like you, then get to work. A rewarding career is waiting for you!

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