Energy engineers are on the frontline of some exciting technological developments. Mechanical EngineersIf it's versatility you are seeking in your advanced degree, you may want to start searching for graduate schools with a focus on mechanical engineering. As one of the broadest subheadings within engineering (technically referring to individuals who design, build and improve upon machines), it's no surprise that a full quarter of PayScale's Highest-Paying Jobs for Engineering are rooted in the discipline, with the positions ranging from Sales Director (with an experienced median pay of $151,000) to Engineering Design Supervisor (with a salary of $101,000). Employment for mechanical engineers is expected to grow by roughly five percent in the 10 year period between 2014 and 2024, according to BLS, and with the broad range of knowledge imparted in grad programs centered around the area, mechanical engineers can find themselves working in any number of industries, from commercial shipping to aircraft manufacturing.Biomedical EngineersDemand for biomedical engineers is expected to grow 23 percent by 2024.
With the world's growing dependence on technological development, students in computer science programs have a wealth of opportunities when their time comes to hit the job market. Not only is the call for engineers growing every day, so too, it seems, are the financial rewards of these positions. A recent survey performed by compensation firm PayScale sought to outline the most valuable majors for individuals pursuing an advanced degree. Utilizing information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the organization compared the earning potential and job growth opportunities of 120 separate college disciplines and ranked them by criteria ranging from median starting and mid-career pay, to average growth in salary over time and availability of positions in the field.
"These aren't majors that anyone could do. They're hard, and these programs weed people out," lead economist for PayScale Katie Bardaro told Forbes.com. "However, there is high demand for them and a low supply of people with the skills, so it drives up the labor market price."
According to the survey, engineering concentrations made up a full third of the most valuable majors out there. Here are some of the top positions available to those individuals pursuing an advanced degree in engineering.
Grad programs in computer science allow students to learn a wealth of disciplines, and the earning potential for software engineers grants degree-seekers a number of unique opportunities. Tony Lee, the publisher of CareerCast believes that computer science graduates possess a number of highly sought skills that effectively allows an individual to "write their own ticket."
"Software engineers are the rock stars of today's working world," Lee opined in a blog on CareerCast.com, "and even computer systems analysts and web developers can claim some of that recognition, since the demand for IT pros is so deep."
The median entry-level salary for computer software engineers is $66,238, while mid-career professionals earn $114, 970.
The 2016 PayScale report listed the median entry-level salary for computer software engineers at $66,238, with the mean annual salary of mid-career professionals at $114, 970. Furthermore, software developers boast a median entry-level salary of $68,510 and mid-career salary of $108,760. With this stellar starting salary also comes job satisfaction, as the 2016 edition of online jobs site CareerBliss Happiest and Unhappiest Jobs in America report listed Software QA (Quality Assurance) Engineer among the top 10 most satisfying jobs in the U.S. The survey analyzes factors such as workplace culture, opinions of management, user reviews and other intangible factors to produce its rankings, suggesting that a career as a software engineer is not only monetarily rewarding, but professionally fulfilling.
Engineering students that choose to take their talents into the energy world will find the material rewards to be fairly generous. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for petroleum engineers was $129,990 (62.49 p/hr) in 2015, with the job outlook for the 10 year period between 2014 and 2024 growing at an annual rate of 10 percent — faster than the average across all jobs tracked by BLS. PayScale's 2015 survey also listed power engineer (with a median starting salary of $79,900) and energy engineer (a median of $76,600 annually) among the 20 highest paying jobs for engineering majors.
With the growing interest in alternative fuel and energy sources, the field looks to diversify considerably in coming years, meaning there is a lot of room for growth in this sector, particularly for those that love to learn. Opportunities in solar, wind and other renewable energies will be particularly prevalent as the world continues its gradual shift away from a reliance on fossil fuels.
"Even electrical engineers, especially those who work as power engineers, are in short supply," Lee said. "Especially given the growth in the fields of alternative energy and Smart Grid."
If you'd like to use your math and science skills in the medical world, but can't seem to find nursing programs that work with your schedule, you can take your engineering degree and become a biomedical engineer. This position, for which BLS lists the median income as $86,220, invites engineers to be on the frontline of the medical industry, designing, improving, testing and reworking medical devices and associated software. Given that the practical applications of this position could lead to the saving of multiple lives, it should come as no surprise that CNN Money voted biomedical engineering as the best job of 2012.
Modern medicine is a fast-paced industry, and the job prospects for biomedical engineers reflect this truth. Demand for these professionals is expected to grow 23 percent in the 10 year period between 2014 and 2024, which is significantly faster than most positions tracked by the bureau.
Engineering students, in a nutshell, learn how to make things better. By using math and the scientific method to assess a problem and solve it systematically, they have made themselves an integral part of most industries out there. With that kind of job security, it's no wonder many would-be engineers are searching for graduate schools that will give them the skills they need to be competitive in the modern workplace.