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Engineering Major

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$101,600 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Engineering Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many engineering graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 123,994
Master’s Degree 52,621
Doctor’s Degree 10,868
Associate’s Degree 6,420
Graduate Certificate 2,216
Basic Certificate 1,065
Undergraduate Certificate 398

What Engineering Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, engineering majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Engineering Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in engineering should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Skills for Engineering Majors

A major in engineering prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Abilities for Engineering Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a engineering student include the following:

  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

What Can You Do With a Engineering Major?

People with a engineering degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Aerospace Engineers 6.0% $115,220
Agricultural Engineers 7.4% $77,110
Architectural and Engineering Managers 5.5% $140,760
Architecture Professors 10.5% $86,980
Automotive Engineers 8.8% $87,370
Biochemical Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Biofuels/Biodiesel Technology and Product Development Managers 5.5% $140,760
Biomedical Engineers 7.0% $88,550
Chemical Engineers 7.3% $104,910
Civil Engineers 10.6% $86,640
Clinical Research Coordinators 9.9% $123,860
Computer Hardware Engineers 5.4% $114,600
Cost Estimators 10.5% $64,040
Electrical Engineers 8.6% $96,640
Electronics Engineers, Except Computer 3.7% $102,700
Energy Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Engineering Professors 14.7% $101,720
Environmental Engineers 8.4% $87,620
Fire-Prevention and Protection Engineers 8.5% $89,130
Fuel Cell Engineers 8.8% $87,370
Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists 9.7% $87,040
Industrial Engineers 9.7% $87,040
Industrial Safety and Health Engineers 8.5% $89,130
Manufacturing Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Marine Architects 12.2% $92,560
Marine Engineers 12.2% $92,560
Materials Engineers 1.9% $92,390
Mechanical Engineers 8.8% $87,370
Mechatronics Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Microsystems Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Mining and Geological Engineers, Including Mining Safety Engineers 8.2% $92,250
Nanosystems Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Natural Sciences Managers 9.9% $123,860
Nuclear Engineers 4.0% $107,600
Operations Research Analysts 27.5% $83,390
Petroleum Engineers 15.1% $137,170
Photonics Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Physicists 14.5% $120,950
Product Safety Engineers 8.5% $89,130
Radio Frequency Identification Device Specialists 3.7% $102,700
Robotics Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Software Developers, Applications 30.7% $103,620
Software Developers, Systems Software 11.1% $110,000
Solar Energy Systems Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Telecommunications Engineering Specialists 6.5% $109,020
Transportation Engineers 10.6% $86,640
Validation Engineers 6.4% $96,980
Water Resource Specialists 9.9% $123,860
Water/Wastewater Engineers 8.4% $87,620
Wind Energy Engineers 6.4% $96,980

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering?

123,994 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
22% Percent Women
29% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This major tends to be male dominated. About 78% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of engineering majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Engineering Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 13,682
Black or African American 4,724
Hispanic or Latino 13,446
White 71,090
International Students 13,393
Other Races/Ethnicities 7,659

Geographic Diversity

Engineering appeals to people across the globe. About 10.8% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Engineering Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of engineering students with a bachelor’s degree is $62,900 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $57,500 (25th percentile) and $67,575 (75th percentile).


We don’t know for sure if all of these people took jobs related to engineering so take that into consideration.

Salaries According to BLS

Engineering majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $93,720 to $114,000 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for an Engineering Major  ( 93720 to 114000 )
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )

Some careers associated with engineering require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to engineering have obtained the following education levels.

Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.1%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 2.1%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 3.2%
Some College Courses 3.2%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 5.2%
Bachelor’s Degree 58.4%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 3.7%
Master’s Degree 16.0%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.6%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.7%
Doctoral Degree 5.5%
Post-Doctoral Training 1.3%

Online Engineering Programs

In 2017-2018, 1,174 schools offered a engineering program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 133 10
Certificate (1-2 years) 73 2
Certificate (2-4 Years) 9 0
Associate’s Degree 629 25
Bachelor’s Degree 309 99
Post-Baccalaureate 133 10
Master’s Degree 2,149 392
Post-Master’s 100 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 1,312 31
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 4 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 9 0

Is a Degree in Engineering Worth It?

The median salary for a engineering grad is $101,600 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 155% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,234,000 after 20 years!


You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to engineering.

Major Number of Grads
Computer & Information Sciences 209,723
Biological & Biomedical Sciences 157,997
Engineering Technologies 92,253
Physical Sciences 53,768
Mathematics & Statistics 47,138
Agriculture & Agriculture Operations 37,231
Natural Resources & Conservation 28,567
Architecture & Related Services 17,359
Communications Technologies & Support 15,669
Science Technologies / Technicians 6,550


More about our data sources and methodologies.

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