Engineering is one of the top-paying careers in the country. But what are the best paying engineering jobs? There are several that may surprise you. While engineering makes up three out of the five most valuable college majors, engineering jobs vary considerably. While some engineers graduate with a specific and tailored degree, most engineers head into their first jobs and let what they learn guide their career path, gaining skills and specializing as they go. For example, hundreds of job options are available with just a mechanical engineering degree. On the other hand, someone with an aerospace engineering degree may find their choices a bit slimmer, but they’ll also enjoy higher demand and potential for a higher starting salary. How much do engineers make? Here are some of the best-paying engineering jobs of 2022.


Automotive Engineers


Car and truck manufacturers, as well as the suppliers that support these manufacturers, employ automotive engineers to design and build entire vehicles or individual parts and systems. Automotive engineers work on the vehicle’s engine design, aerodynamics, performance and fuel efficiency, safety features, and ergonomics. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, approximately 257,900 industrial engineers were employed in the United States, and about 18% worked in the transportation equipment manufacturing sector. To break into the field of automotive engineering, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in automotive, mechanical, electronics, materials engineering, or a related engineering field. A strong background in math and physics is also beneficial. The median salary for automotive engineers in the United States is $88,340.


Computer Hardware and Data Engineers


Computer hardware and data engineering is a relatively new field, which has appeared due to large data sets and tech design growing into a highly competitive field for companies worldwide. Technology engineers develop, design, create and study computer data, hardware, and software. Data engineers design and build pipelines that transform and transport data into an organized format so when it reaches the data scientists or other end users, it is highly usable and understandable. Data engineers focus on data infrastructure, data warehousing, data mining, data modeling, data crunching, and managing metadata. To be a successful data engineer,  you should be able to create software solutions around data.

Computer sciences are vast and varied, leading to a considerable pay range which leads people to ask, “What do technology engineering jobs pay?” Some suggest that big data engineers make on average around $150,000 per year, while computer hardware engineers make around $115,000. Other sources indicate that the median for technology engineers is closer to $90,000. Either way, this is a growing industry eager for new hires. Many engineering majors can find a job to suit their ideal work environment within technology engineering.  


Aerospace Engineers


When people picture the best paying engineering jobs, they include aerospace engineers. These engineers design aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, and similar mechanical devices. This field is highly specialized and has a degree of variety in the different aspects of design vs. manufacture and even research or development. When it comes to pay, aerospace engineers make about $120,000. This job requires a bachelor’s degree, and the field has about 4,000 openings per year. This is a relatively stable job field, with new technologies and explorations occurring regularly. However, this job does depend somewhat on the government, especially in the United States. The privatized sector of aerospace is beginning to take off, but it may be several decades before it grows into a substantial force. This may be one of the ideal positions for engineers in a different engineering field to consider job-hopping in 2022


Nuclear Engineers


A career as a nuclear engineer is technical and filled with discovery. As a growing career field in energy and nuclear systems, it is not a surprise that it is one of the best paying engineering jobs. This career is exciting, but it is not for everyone. It is one of the most dangerous engineering jobs and can be risky even on a day-to-day basis, depending on the exact job you choose. The high risk and intense amounts of study required are part of why this job pays around $105,000 yearly. Most candidates need a bachelor’s degree that focuses on physics and in-depth knowledge of chemical compounds and nuclear fusion/fission. One complication of nuclear engineering is that it may grow in the next few decades or almost disappear with the high risk of nuclear energy vs. other sustainable energy sources. 


The Best Paying Engineering Jobs for You 


While this list includes many engineering careers, other engineering fields like materials, biomedical, and environmental engineering are growing significantly and have a similar pay grade. Engineers have a hold on some of the most high-paying jobs in the country, and as such, there are many opportunities there. Finding a job you love with your degree and experience can sometimes be tricky. Engineers find open fields they hadn’t even imagined they’d qualify for, but they find a career they love. The average salaries are even within these top five best paying engineering jobs. Any answer to the question “How much do engineers make?” will likely not be comprehensive, though, thanks to shifts in the market and leaps forward in technology.  

The best way to get a read on what the market can offer you is to talk to an engineering recruiter. At Brightwing, we focus on core skill sets in markets that we’re deeply connected to. That way, we’re doing what we love with people we know. We know engineering, (as well as IT, financial services, and operations), so if you’re looking for a great paying engineering job, reach out to us today!

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