Engineering Degrees Found To Be Most Lucrative

March 12, 2010

engineerA new report indicates that eight of the top ten best-paid majors are in engineering.

According to the survey, which was conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, petroleum engineering earns the highest starting salary at the bachelor's degree level at $86,220. The only degrees that made the list which were not in engineering were computer science and information sciences and systems.

"Petroleum engineering has been at the top for the last three years," noted Edwin Koc, director of strategic and foundation research at NACE, who was quoted in The Wall Street Journal.

Marilyn Mackes, NACE's executive director, said in a press release that new graduates with technical degrees tend to be in greater demand, and thus earned higher salaries. "There is more competition for their skills," she noted, "driving up their salary offers. . . . in general, candidates with technical degrees have an advantage in the job market."

The Journal notes that the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs in biomedical engineering will increase 72 percent, from 16,000 in 2008 to 27,600 in 2018. Koc explained that the NACE survey did not record enough offers for jobs in this field to include it in the top ten. But that is likely to change.

In a nod to the trend, Harvard's student publication, The Crimson, reported that the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences will create a new biomedical engineering concentration. Early this year, the University of Houston announced the launching of a new biomedical engineering department--the first added to the school's Cullen College of Engineering in more than 35 years.

Other degrees that made the list include chemical engineering, mining and mineral engineering, computer engineering, electrical/electronics and communication engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial/manufacturing engineering and aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical engineering. The lowest earning major on the list was information sciences and systems with a starting salary of $54,038.

Despite demand for highly-specialized engineering majors, NACE noted that the field is not recession-proof: Only 42 percent of engineering majors found jobs in 2009, compared to 70 percent in 2007.

Compiled by Staff

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