The Highest Paying Engineering Jobs

So you are considering a job in the engineering field but you want to maximize your profit potential? The engineering field is a great field to go into, and one can make a good amount of money with a career that is both satisfying and challenging.

There are four main and several smaller branches of the engineering field to choose from, each has its own benefits and some fields pay more than others. Of course, the numbers described below are just averages, but they will give you a good idea of how much each of the various types of engineers get paid.

Chemical Engineering
Focusing on the use of the physical and life sciences such as physics and biology and combining them with mathematics and economics to convert raw materials and chemicals into useful forms on a commercially viable scale, Chemical Engineers deal with such things as biofuel and nanotechnology. As demand for these products becomes higher and higher, this particular branch of engineering becomes more and more valuable. Combine this with the fact that there are far fewer chemical engineers than there are engineers of the other three main branches, and the salary potential is very impressive indeed.

Of the four main branches of engineering, chemical engineering commands the highest salary. On the lower end of the spectrum, chemical engineers can pull off an annual salary of $59,380. The median salary for a chemical engineer is $92,930 annually and the top 10% of chemical engineers make an average of $146,650 per year.

Civil Engineering
Civil engineers design and help build vital structures such as roads, buildings, canals and bridges. There are many subcategories of civil engineering, and civil engineers are needed on all levels. From the roads you drive on to the house you live in, chances are somewhere along the way a civil engineer had a hand in the project.

Because civil engineers provide such essential services, it might come as something of a shock that, of the big four branches of engineering, civil engineers have the lowest annual salary on average. At the lower end of the spectrum, civil engineers have a salary of about $50,370 per year. Median annual salaries for civil engineers run about $77,990, and the top average annual salary for a civil engineer is in the neighborhood of $119,620.

Electrical Engineering
The cellular telephone you probably have in your pocket and the lights making your room bright and shiny are all the end products of the electrical engineering discipline. The electrical engineering field became a recognized field with the commercialization of the electronic telegraph and has been around ever since.

At least in the United States electronic engineering, dealing with computers and other smaller-scale electronics, is generally considered a part of electrical engineering.

At the low end of the salary spectrum, electrical engineers pull down an average of around $54,710 annually, while the median salary is $85,920 annually. The top paid electrical engineers make an average of around $131,660 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical engineering takes physics and marries it with materials science for the manufacture and design of machines and tools and is one of the broadest (and oldest) of the engineering disciplines. They’re also the guys that get to design new guns and mad science death rays.

Just kidding about the death rays. Maybe.

Starting mechanical engineers make around and average of $51,340 annually. The median annual salary for a mechanical engineer is around $79,230 and at the high end of the spectrum a potential mad scientist can look at making an average annual salary of $119,950.

The Other Branches
While the above four are normally considered to be the main four branches of engineering, they are not the only disciplines out there and some of these “smaller” branches actually pay more than the main branch.

Many people may consider these smaller branches to be subbranches of the larger engineering disciplines, but as you can see below, there can be a substantial difference in the average annual salary for a seemingly related engineering discipline.

Naval engineers have an average annual salary that runs from $51,060 to $145,790 with a median salary of around $84,850 annually.

Mining, mining safety and geological engineers’ salaries run $50,620 annually at the low end, rise to $84,300 at the median and cap out at around $136,800 per year.

Nuclear engineers bring in between $67,100 and $147,670 on average per year.

Aerospace engineers can look at an average annual salary of $65,310 to $147,810.

Industrial engineers bring home about $50,350 annually on average at the low end of the spectrum and around $115,340 at the high.

Architectural engineers can look forward to average annual salaries of $39,640 to $120,380.

There’s a lot of money to be made in oil, and petroleum engineers are no exception, pulling down an astounding $69,850 to $172,040 on average per year. The median average annual salary for a petroleum engineer is a nice, respectable $122,280.

So What’s the Best Choice
Although all branches of engineering pay quite well, the best choice if you look strictly at average annual salaries would be to pursue a job as a petroleum engineer with aerospace engineers rank 2nd and nuclear engineers come in at a close third.