What Can You Do with an Engineering Degree? (With Salaries)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 24, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

There are many career options and opportunities for individuals who want to work in engineering. The type of engineering degree you hold can largely determine what career path you're able to follow within the field. Understanding the various types of engineering degrees, the specialties, and the associated careers for each can help you plan your education and develop career goals. In this article, we explore the different types of degrees and answer the question "What can you do with an engineering degree?" by listing the various job opportunities you can pursue with each.

Related: 20 Types of Engineering Careers

Types of engineering degrees

Here are the different types of engineering degree options depending on the career you wish to pursue:

Bachelor's degree in engineering

Obtaining a bachelor's degree in an engineering subject can help you pursue a career as an engineer. These degrees are typically four-year programs that prepare students for work as professional engineers. The coursework involves both introductory courses in engineering and education on specializations within the engineering field, such as mechanics or civil engineering. To obtain the professional engineering (P.Eng.) designation, it's essential for you to obtain a bachelor's degree accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB).

Many bachelor's programs allow aspiring engineers to choose the specialty they focus on throughout the course of the program. Here are some examples of engineering specialties that may be available to study in a bachelor's program:

  • agricultural

  • architectural

  • biomedical

  • aerospace

  • construction

  • mining

  • civil

  • robotics

  • safety

  • software

  • petroleum

  • transportation

Master's degree in engineering

Most master's degrees in engineering focus on specialization within the engineering field. These programs provide students with a more in-depth understanding of their specialty and allow them to focus on advanced concepts within that specialty. Many professionals who pursue a master's degree do so to advance their careers and secure leadership roles in the industry. Master's programs may focus on biomedical engineering, systems engineering, product design and manufacturing, and mechanical engineering.

Related: 10 Jobs You Can Get with a Master's in Engineering

Doctorate degree in engineering

Professionals who wish to pursue a career as a university professor or a researcher can pursue a doctorate in engineering. These programs may take three to six years to complete. They can qualify individuals for advanced research and inquiry within a particular engineering field.

Related: PhD vs. Master's: What's the Difference between Them?

What can you do with an engineering degree?

Here are some jobs you can consider if you're wondering "What can you do with an engineering degree?" and are interested in working in the engineering industry:

1. Mechanical engineering technician

National average salary: $53,447 per year

Primary duties: Mechanical engineering deals with the application of principles and laws of nature in the development of technology. These technicians are responsible for helping mechanical engineers design, create, test, and make mechanical devices, such as engines and machines. They use their knowledge of thermodynamics, mechanics, and the effects of force on solids and liquids to assist mechanical engineers with sketches, layouts, data recording, and analysis.

Read more: How to Become a Mechanical Engineer

2. Technical writer

National average salary: $68,082 per year

Primary duties: Technical writers research, create, revise, and maintain technical documents, such as user documentation, software engineering, and systems testing. They analyze technical information on various engineering products and findings and create reports or other materials based on the information found. They write direct and detailed content that assists readers in finding the information they need.

Read more: How to Become a Technical Writer in 7 Steps (With FAQS)

3. Chemical engineer

National average salary: $68,429 per year

Primary duties: Chemical engineering involves the science and industrialization of chemical processing that converts raw materials into products, such as medicine, biologicals, toys, or jet fuel. Chemical engineers design and troubleshoot processes that manufacturers use to ensure product quality. These professionals may also help develop and implement chemical manufacturing processes using chemistry, mathematics, and physics.

4. Mechanical engineer

National average salary: $70,878 per year

Primary duties: Mechanical engineers are responsible for assessing thermal and mechanical devices, building and repairing these devices, and troubleshooting any associated issues. These professionals conduct experiments to improve product designs and collaborate with project managers and other engineers that are part of their team. Mechanical engineers are critical in advancing technology in many fields, including the automotive, aerospace, biomedical, and mechatronics industries.

Read more: How to Become a Mechanical Engineer

5. Civil engineer

National average salary: $75,043 per year

Primary duties: Civil engineering deals with construction and public works, such as roads, bridges, dams, airports, and sewer systems. They design major transportation systems and projects, overseeing their construction and completion. Civil engineers work to improve the environment by ensuring structures get built in an eco-conscious and economical manner.

Read more: What Does a Civil Engineer Do? (Plus Skills and Steps)

6. Electrical engineer

National average salary: $78,568 per year

Primary duties: Electrical engineers design, develop, and implement electrical equipment and devices, such as motors, power generators, communication systems, and other electrical systems. They're involved in electrical project planning, which considers the project requirements and any international, national, or municipal safety rules to ensure quality standards get upheld. Other responsibilities include operating computer-assisted engineering software, working with engineers to create projects, and establishing manufacturing and installation standards.

Read more: What Does an Electrical Engineer Do? (And Requirements)

What can you do with a master's in engineering?

Here's a list of engineering careers you can consider pursuing if you hold a master's degree in engineering or a related field:

1. Biomedical engineer

National average salary: $70,228 per year

Primary duties: Biomedical engineers are medical science professionals who use engineering principles to design devices and equipment, such as medical machinery, artificial limbs, and internal organs. They integrate biology and medicine with engineering to solve problems related to living systems and improve the effectiveness and quality of patient care. Additional duties may include training clinicians, providing technical support, and maintaining equipment and systems.

Read more: What Does a Biomechanical Engineer Do? (Job Titles Included)

2. Environmental engineer

National average salary: $82,152 per year

Primary duties: Environmental engineers use their knowledge in environmental research to prepare, review, and improve environmental investigation reports. They design and implement projects that support environmental projection, design technology to support waste management and pollution control, analyze human influences on the environment, and create reports for policymakers. They may be involved in projects related to climate change, recycling, sustainability, or air quality.

Related: 22 Careers in Environmental Science (Plus Salary Info)

3. Senior mechanical engineer

National average salary: $99,918 per year

Primary duties: Senior mechanical engineers lead the development of mechanical systems, such as vehicles, generators, turbines, and tractors. They work with other senior engineers to produce design prototypes and organize engineering processes. These professionals oversee the research, design, installation, operations, and maintenance of mechanical processes or systems, supervising the resource allocation for engineering projects.

4. Senior software engineer

National average salary: $104,230 per year

Primary duties: Senior software engineers work with and supervise software engineering teams in realizing project goals. They train and manage teams of engineers dealing in the field of computer science or web development. The role of this professional also involves translating business requirements to technical specifications for their team. These professionals use their knowledge of the latest technologies to test and validate developed software through unit testing.

Related: What Does a Software Engineer Do? (With Jobs to Consider)

5. Engineering manager

National average salary: $104,709 per year

Primary duties: Engineering managers oversee the completion of engineering projects, ensuring engineering duties and project requirements get fulfilled. They perform their job by providing leadership and direction, overseeing a team of engineers, managing budgets and resources, and training new employees. These managers supervise the day-to-day operations and prepare reports based on the progress of their projects, communicating achievements or obstacles with senior company staff.

What can you do with a PHD in engineering?

Here are the jobs you can pursue with a doctorate degree in engineering:

1. Research engineer

National average salary: $77,142 per year

Primary duties: Research engineers work in a variety of engineering disciplines to develop products, processes, and technology for organizations, government agencies, or academic institutions. They typically work within a research and development department to obtain information, samples, and data and perform tests to determine the best material or method to develop products. These engineers create designs for devices or instruments based on their findings and may be involved in the writing of grant or research proposals.

2. Engineering professor

National average salary: $97,961 per year

Primary duties: Engineering professors work in universities teaching courses related to the application of engineering principles and physical laws. They teach students civil engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, aeronautical engineering, and electrical engineering specialties and prepare students for their careers. Depending on their role within an academic institution, they may also conduct research in a particular engineering field and publish their findings in industry journals.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organization‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌, ‌and‌ ‌location.‌ Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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