With engineers always in high demand, some of the highest salaries in the world are in the engineering field. Workers regularly earn annual salaries over $100,000 in engineering with relatively little experience compared to other professions. Careers in engineering require specialized education, but considering engineer majors regularly earn among the highest average starting salaries, the time and cost pay off. Those who are interested in math and science, have solid problem-solving skills, and the right education can usually secure a solid career in engineering. Several jobs in the engineering field pay extremely well and are worth investigating further.
With a median beginning salary at $103,000 in 2014, petroleum engineers can expect an annual salary of approximately $160,000 with 15 years of experience. The careers for petroleum engineers are flourishing right along with the recent boom in the U.S. oil and gas industry. Job opportunities abound, particularly in the states that produce the most oil. It is common for petroleum engineers with more experience to make well over $200,000 annually. Many positions in this field do not require advanced degrees, but, rather, emphasize job experience, making it an even more lucrative career choice.
Petroleum engineers help locate new sources of oil and natural gas, determine the most effective and efficient extraction methods, and often manage the process on site. A petroleum engineer must have a bachelor's degree in engineering, preferably in petroleum engineering. Manufacturing universities offer geotechnical and petroleum-related engineering programs, and a number of online training programs are also available.
With many U.S. nuclear power facilities aging and in need of repair, the need for qualified nuclear engineers is expected to rise as upgrades are likely on the horizon. Many nuclear engineers monitor nuclear facilities to identify practices or flaws in design or operation that violate safety regulations. Nuclear engineers also research and develop processes and systems to discover other benefits of nuclear energy and radiation. Many find medical and industrial uses for radioactive materials for medical diagnoses and treatments for cancer and other diseases.
Graduates with bachelor's degrees have average starting salaries of $67,000, and nuclear engineers with 15 years of experience have mean salaries of $117,000. Nuclear engineers must have bachelor's degrees in nuclear engineering.
Chemical engineers apply principles of chemistry, biology and physics in a wide variety of industries, such as manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, health care, design and construction, food processing, electronic and advanced materials, biotechnology and environmental health.
Recent graduates with bachelor's degrees in chemical engineering earn median starting salaries of $68,000, and those with 15 years of experience earn approximately $115,000. The top 10% in the field earn median annual incomes of $156,000. The highest-paid chemical engineers are those in the oil and gas industry, earning median incomes of $157,000.
Engineers working directly with aircraft are aeronautical engineers, and those who work on spacecraft are astronautical engineers. Professionals in the aerospace sector apply principles of physics for the design, construction and testing of aircraft, missiles and spacecraft for commercial or military purposes. Responsible for developing new technologies for aviation, defense and space exploration, aerospace engineers usually specialize in areas such as propulsion, vehicle movement or communications.
Aerospace engineers beginning their careers can expect starting salaries of $62,000, and they normally earn approximately $109,000 after 15 years in the field. An aerospace engineer must have a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering or some other field of engineering or science related to aerospace systems. Many positions in this field also require special military clearance and U.S. citizenship to work on projects related to national defense.