Top 13 Highest Paid Engineering Degrees

Top 13 Highest Paid Engineering Degrees

Interesting Engineering recently listed the 13 highest paid engineering degrees. Although the list is American and the salaries are in dollars we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the list and give you some information on each branch of engineering. If you’re interested in studying engineering, check out our extensive list of engineering related courses in Ireland here.

13. Architectural Engineer – $50,000 – $90,400

An architectural engineer ensures that buildings are built and maintained in a safe manner. They commonly work in association with architects and construction companies to monitor the plans and executions of construction projects to prevent dangerous building practices. An architectural engineer may work on new constructions or on renovation projects for existing structures.

Other architectural engineer responsibilities may include:

Collaborating with architects to assist with the design process

Examining blueprints and design sketches to identify any potential safety risks so that they can be rectified prior to construction.

Analyzing design schemes for quality of life concerns, such as a building with insufficient ducts for the HVAC system or improper soundproofing on a home near a busy road.

Assessing the structural integrity of a proposed or active construction project to reduce the risk of erecting an unsafe building.

Working with architects, civil engineers or construction crews to develop solutions to structural problems during construction.

Understanding all government compliance regulations and ensuring that any projects fall within the accepted guidelines and rules.

12. Biomedical Engineer – $50,600 to $92,200

Biomedical engineering is the fusion of engineering expertise with the world of clinical medicine, developing technologies such as laser systems used in corrective eye surgery and systems for analysing blood. Biomedical engineering is key in the development and recreation of artificial organs, limbs and skin. The biomedical engineer will work with healthcare professionals including physicians, doctors, nurses, therapists and technicians.

Other Biomedical Engineer responsibilities may include

Research biomedical problems at the microscopic level to understand disease processes.
Specialists in biomaterials research and select appropriate materials for implantations in the human body such as artificial pace makers, hips, and kidneys.
Biomechanical engineers apply classical mechanics to biological or medical problems to develop such devices as the artificial heart and artificial joint replacements.
Rehabilitation engineers enhance the capabilities and improve the quality of life for people with physical and cognitive impairments through the design and development of prosthetics and assistive technology.
Orthopaedic engineers apply methods of engineering to understand the function of bones, joints and muscles to design artificial joint replacements.
Neuroscience engineers research into the processes involved in cognitive functions and provide objective diagnostic information for a number of psychiatric disorders.
Clinical engineers specialise in the application life cycle of medical equipment technologies, from their input and application management to decommissioning and disposal.

11. Civil Engineer – $51,100 – $93,000

A Civil Engineer designs, plans and oversees construction projects such as railways and roads. Civil engineering is all about improving and protecting the world we inhabit. It involves the planning, design and construction of facilities that we require for everyday living, industry and transport. A career in civil engineering can range from the development of airports, offshore oil platforms, bridges, roads, railways, waste collection and treatment systems, and water supply systems. Civil engineering also aims to solve environmental issues such as air pollution, coastal protection and waste treatment.

Other Civil Engineer responsibilities may include:

Undertake technical and feasibility studies including site investigations.
Use a range of computer packages for developing detailed designs.
Undertake complex and repetitive calculations.
Liaise with clients and a variety of professionals including architects and subcontractors.
Compile job specs and supervising tendering procedures.
Resolve design and development problems.
Manage budgets and project resources.
Schedule material and equipment purchases and delivery.
Ensure projects run smoothly and structures are completed within budget and on time.

10. Mechanical Engineer – $52,500 – $101,600

Mechanical engineers make things work and are involved in design, testing, inspection and manufacturing. They design and develop everything that qualifies as a device or machine, from an item as simple as a can opener to a modern jet aircraft. Mechanical components are found in obvious things like cars, aircraft and big machines, but other things too, like medical devices and equipment for generating energy. Virtually everything you buy or use has had a mechanical engineer involved in its design and production.

Mechanical engineers don’t design quite everything, but they do design the tools and processes that make every tangible product. Robots that weld car bodies, automatic vehicles that feed materials through a factory, and the methods used to melt and shape metals and plastics are all the result of mechanical engineering design and development.

Mechanical engineers are also at the centre of the energy industry. They are creating the innovations that will allow us to access energy from renewable sources, as well as developing technologies to ensure that we use established energy sources efficiently and responsibly. Mechanical engineers are creating high-performance materials for larger, more economical, recyclable wind turbine blades and developing wave energy systems that can survive an Atlantic storm.

The mechanical engineers’ versatility allows them to work in a range of roles including research, design, project management, technical sales, computer-aided engineering, process control, manufacturing engineering, aeronautics, materials engineering and product development. In these roles they serve nearly every industry, including the rapidly evolving energy sector.

Other Mechanical Engineers responsibilities may include:

Using a mix of science and mathematics along with engineering techniques to design, test and create.
Developing detailed designs using a range of computer packages.
Integrating mechanical designs with electrical and electronic system and using specialised computation as a tool to support their work.
Creating, coordinating and monitoring all aspects of production, fabrication and product design.
Performing engineering assignments related to design and analysis for packaging equipment and line systems.
Optimising new systems and upgrades to existing processes and facilities
developing reliability protocols and reports.
Working with maintenance teams to develop and implement preventative maintenance processes.

9. Electrical Engineer – $55,000 – $105,000

Electrical engineers work with electricity in a variety of areas including aircraft and automobiles; broadcasting and communications systems; lighting and wiring in buildings; machinery controls; power generating and transmitting; and radar and navigation systems. They can be involved with the design of new products as well as testing equipment and solving problems. Electrical engineers can also work in automation and communications engineering, microelectronics and technical informatics.

Other Electrical Engineers responsibilities may include:

Design and research work on the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.
Design a range of related devices such as transformers, electric generators, electric motors and power electronics.
Model and design dynamic control systems used in areas such as transport and aviation
Design computers and computer systems.
In telecommunications, facilitate transmission of information across a channel such as a coaxial cable, optical fibre or free space.
Complete maps and technical drawings or specifications of electrical systems.
Incorporate public safety in all designs.

8. Aeronautical Engineer -$58,000 – $107,900

An aeronautical engineer designs, constructs and tests safer and more energy efficient aircraft, missiles, spacecraft, satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). Aeronautical engineers can specialise in: structural design; flight mechanics and control systems; aerodynamics; instrumentation and communication; and manufacturing and maintenance.

Other Aeronautical Engineers responsibilities may include:

Design the body of aircraft, including shape testing, selecting the right materials for manufacturing and strength and structural modelling.
Check the performance of an aircraft in terms of stability and control.
Develop automated control systems for aircraft and test them.
Improve the aerodynamics of moving aircraft through design and testing, ensuring the craft flies smoother and faster.
Supervise the construction of aircraft in line with strict safety and design requirements.

7. Software Engineer – $58,800 – $112,600

A software engineer is responsible for the complete life cycle of a new/modified software product, from research and design to implementation, training and support.

Software engineers are those that make IT systems ‘tick’. Essentially, they write and code both computer operating systems and the software that runs within them. The job title actually covers a multitude of roles, from systems developer to software architect. It’s highly specialised work that requires a good technical background, a thorough understanding of software and hardware, and a strong grasp of mathematical reasoning and coding languages.

Other Software Engineers responsibilities may include:

Depending on the organisation, typical activities include writing and modifying programmes; testing code; diagnosing faults in software; and designing programmes to solve those faults. All of these tasks typically involve a detailed and meticulous problem-solving process. As a result, working hours can be long, particularly when faults need to be diagnosed and fixed by a deadline. However, software engineering is rarely a solitary activity. It’s usually a team effort, with individual engineers often focused on a small aspect of a more complicated whole, with input required from both colleagues and clients.

6. Chemical Engineer – $65,000 – $116,000

Chemical engineers work in a vast range of scientific fields from water and waste water treatment to petrochemicals to generating electricity from biomass to producing our food and drinks to cosmetics and textiles… to name just a few!

Chemical engineering involves the challenge of solving the problems concerned with making and using chemicals and biochemicals. It is based on a mixture of chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics and is responsible for the production of chemicals for use in our everyday lives. Chemical engineers strive to create and develop the best possible methods to manufacture useful products and services. They respond to society’s growing demands for new innovative products and for improved use of our limited natural resources.

Other Chemical Engineers responsibilities may include:

Pilot test new methods for manufacturing products.
Oversee the implementation of those methods in full-scale production.
Develop novel and cost-effective processes for recovering valuable raw materials, such as fossil fuels or anti-cancer agents.
Generate and efficiently mass-produce new medicines.
Produce new, cleaner fuels, from plants or other renewable resources.
Design pollution prevention technologies.

5. Nuclear Engineer – $67,000 – $118,000

Working with nuclear energy, these engineers deal with the research and development of power generation systems, power storage equipment, and electro-mechanical tools for putting nuclear resources to use, for example, in the fields of medicine and industrial engineering.

Nuclear engineering services are highly sought after (regardless of whether you have a masters or bachelors degree) but is one of the riskier engineering careers you can find, perhaps because the number of locations and businesses that actively hire nuclear engineers isn’t as high as other engineering disciplines, such as mechanical engineering.

4. Petroleum Engineer – $100,000 and higher

A Petroleum engineer gauges the production of hydrocarbons (which become crude oil and gas in large underground reservoirs). Petroleum engineering is about devising methods to improve oil and gas well production and determining the need for new or modified tool designs.

Petroleum engineers are concerned with gauging the production of hydrocarbons (which become crude oil and gas in large underground reservoirs). Petroleum engineers identify areas of hydrocarbon accumulation based on geological theory, and advise companies on development and depletion issues surrounding its abstraction from the subsurface reserves.

Essentially their role involves designing and supervising the process of getting oil and natural gas out of the ground and into storage tanks. Experienced petroleum engineers help with research aimed at finding ways to recover a greater percentage of the oil and natural gas that exists in petroleum reservoirs.

Other Petroleum Engineers responsibilities may include:

Testing samples of the oil-bearing rock layers.
Using specialist computer applications and mathematical models to maximise production.
Analysing geological data and interpreting well-logging results.
Preparing reports and maps.
Ascertaining extraction risks and advising on ways to avoid them.
Choosing best methods and equipment for the job and supervising workers who install and operate it.
Monitoring and evaluating reservoir performance.
Developing oilfield production programmes.
Liaising with and advising managerial and technical staff.

3. Big Data Engineer – $140,000 – $180,000

With technology quickly evolving, organizations have substantial amounts of data to sort through. Big data engineers create the infrastructure to manage, collect, store, and analyze the data for the company to access. This job often requires a degree in computer science or at least a good deal of software engineering experience.

If you are looking for a field that will continue to grow and be in high-demand, data engineering is a safe bet. Especially since we entered the world of COVID-19, healthcare demands have been on the rise.

2. Environmental Engineer – $55,000 – $140,000

An environmental engineer assesses and manages the impact that human and other activity has on the natural environment.

Climate change, global warming and the urgent need for sustainable living and development at all levels have underpinned the rapid need for skilled and specialist environmental engineers.

Environmental engineers focus on projects related to natural resources rather than man-made projects and prioritise environmental protection and conservation in design and development projects. Specialisations include power generation and energy supply, relating to the design, development and implementation of new energy systems, such as wave/tidal energy or wind power, and utilities.

Environmental engineering is a wide discipline. It essentially has three main activity areas: waste and water management, industrial waste management and renewable energy/sustainable development. Some graduates can find work with environmental consultancies, most of which are small scale and owner-managed. The recent Irish government initiative to provide grants to households converting to more environmentally friendly sources of energy has cemented the establishment of alternative sources of energy as an essential and viable development. This initiative is set to further develop and widen the career opportunities in the research, design, installation and maintenance of alternative sources of energy, including geothermal, solar, wind, wave and biomass. More research opportunities are beginning to arise in the area of sustainable development in general.

Graduates from a range of disciplines can be employed in this field. Civil and structural engineering is possibly the closest-linked engineering discipline, along with building services, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering.

Other Environmental Engineers responsibilities may include:

Designing and supervising the development of renewable energy/energy saving systems.
Providing environmental consultancy to government agencies and companies.
Reviewing environmental reports.
Conducting site assessments and technical audits.
Advising on reclamation processes and activities.

1. Systems Engineer – $60,000 – $75,000

Systems engineers manage and maintain electro-mechanical products and technology systems within an organization, such as security, email, disaster recovery, and networking.


Sources: Grad Ireland, Interesting Engineering is Ireland’s new online jobs board. Our tools and services give jobseekers the best possible opportunity to find the ideal job.

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