Engineering has long been a competitive discipline with places at universities and colleges being snapped up rapidly. It's also been one of the most profitable disciplines. Salary charts are a good measure of success, and the latest one from NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, shows that engineering disciplines are still commanding the highest entry-level wages.
Seven of the top ten positions in the NACE salary chart are currently occupied by engineering professions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, entry-level petroleum engineers command the highest wages of them all with wages starting at an average of $97,000—nearly $27,000 more than the next profession on the list: computer engineering. The rise in petroleum engineering is likely because of the growing complexities of shale oil drilling.
Chemical engineering is highly paid thanks to the massive number of industrial processes that require bulk chemical conversions, and aeronautical engineering—which includes aerospace and astronautical disciplines—also gets a mention on the salary chart. Rounding off the list are electrical, mechanical, and communications engineering along with engineering technology.
Indeed, the only nonengineering disciplines on this salary chart were logistics and materials management; computer science; and management information systems and business. This highlights engineering's dominance and shows why engineering is one of the best disciplines to go for if you want to have a seriously rewarding career.
This salary chart data is for those with bachelor's degrees only and looks at the data supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US Census Bureau, and Job Search Intelligence. It looks at a total of ninety degrees and ranks them accordingly.
What this means for engineers is that engineering disciplines are in demand, making it easy to negotiate on starting wages. With so many engineering titles featured, it's clear that employers will have to pay the going rate, so make sure you check to see if your offer is in a similar realm. Remember that these are averages only, so a certain amount of variation is to be expected.
Naturally, this means that engineering placements at universities are likely to become more competitive, so if you're considering taking an engineering degree, be aware of this. Don't forget to look at new innovations, such as climate change engineering, and consider what degrees are most likely to benefit from these.
Overall, all the salary chart shows is what's hot now, and this should not be taken as a sign of what will become big in three, five, or ten years' time. An engineering title, however, is always a good thing for graduates, and its lessons are applicable in a wide range of fields.
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