Different Types of Engineering Degrees and The Job Outlook For Graduate Engineers

The government Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011, lists 17 different types of engineering degrees and the job outlook for graduate engineers.

These engineers develop solutions for the technical problems of industry by applying principles of science and mathematics. They are the link between consumers and scientific discoveries.

Aerospace engineers work with and often specialize in commercial or military aircraft, spacecraft, or missiles and rockets. They develop new technologies for guidance and control systems or structural design. They also work with production methods. Aerospace engineers will see about average growth in employment over the next 10 years.

Agricultural engineers design agricultural equipment and machinery. They also work with soil and water conservation, crop production and the processing and sales of agricultural products. Agricultural
engineers should have average or a little better employment growth.

Biomedical engineers will also need a background in mechanical or electronics engineering besides specialized biomedical training. They develop systems and products to solve health problems. Their
work ranges from prostheses to medical information systems. They design devices that are used in medical procedures and imaging systems. Employment growth of biomedical engineers over the next 10 years is expected to be 72 percent, much faster than the average.

Chemical engineers solve problems concerning the production and use of chemicals and chemical products. They design processes and equipment for chemical manufacturing. They work with industry in
the use of chemicals and the safety of workers and the environment. Growth in employment of chemical engineers is expected to decline to 2% over the next 10 years.

Civil engineers are needed to design and supervise construction of buildings, transportation systems, and water and sewage systems. They have to keep up with government regulations. Construction design has to take earthquakes and hurricanes and other hazards into account.

Civil engineers are expected to have much faster than average employment growth, 24 percent in 10 years.

Computer hardware engineers design and test any of the hardware components of computers. They're responsible for the manufacturing and installing of computers and computer related equipment.
Computer hardware engineers can expect slow growth in employment, 2% over the next decade.

Electrical engineers design, test, and supervise manufacturing of electrical equipment. This equipment includes lighting and wiring, electric motors, communications systems, and power generation.
They also design electrical systems of aircraft and automobiles. Employment growth for computer hardware engineers is expected to be only 4% over the next 10 years, slower than average.

Electrical engineers design and supervise the manufacture of many kinds of electrical equipment. Electrical engineers will have an employment growth of only 2% over 10 years.

Electronics engineers specialize in technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS), communications systems, control systems, and portable music players. Electronics engineers will have little
or no employment change in the next decade.

Environmental engineers develop solutions to environmental problems. They work with pollution control of air and water. They develop solutions for waste disposal and encourage recycling. They manage hazardous waste, garbage disposal, and waste water treatment. They protect wildlife and the environment. Environmental engineers will have a much faster than average growth of 31% over 10 years.

Health and safety engineers use chemical, mechanical, and systems engineering to prevent possible harm to property and people. They use specialized knowledge to prevent dangers from fires and toxic chemicals. They work with industry to anticipate hazardous products and manufacturing conditions. Health and safety engineers, excluding mining safety, will have average employment growth.

Industrial engineers coordinate materials, machines, energy, and people to make a product or perhaps provide a service. They control quality, efficiency, and productivity. They decide plant locations
and design distribution systems. Industrial engineers will have faster than the average employment growth of 14% over 10 years.

Marine engineers and naval architects design, construct, and maintain ships and boats, and marine equipment. They aren't involved in operation. Marine engineers and naval architects will have slower than average employment growth of 6%.

Materials engineers develop the materials used in manufacturing products. The products may be plastics, metals or ceramics. These engineers create new materials and processes to meet the needs of industry. Materials engineers will have about average growth of about 9%.

Mechanical engineers research and develop tools, machines and engines. They work on machines that produce power and machines that use power. And they design tools that other engineers need in their work. Mechanical engineers will have employment growth of 6% over the next 10 years, slower than average.

Mining and geological engineers and mining safety engineers work with anything concerning mining operations. They find deposits, design and construct mines, and transport the ore. They're
responsible for safety and environmental issues. Mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers, will have faster than average growth of 15% over 10 years.

Nuclear engineers work with nuclear energy to generate power and with radioactive materials used in equipment to diagnose and treat medical problems. They ensure the safe handling and disposal of
radioactive materials. Employment growth for Nuclear engineers is expected to be about average, 11% over 10 years.

Petroleum engineers develop drilling and recovery methods to extract oil and gas from deposits. They work with geologists to determine drilling methods. They design processes and equipment to recover as much as possible of the gas and oil at the lowest cost. Petroleum engineers will have employment growth of 18% over the next 10 years, faster than average employment growth.

Considering the different types of engineering degrees and the job outlook for graduate engineers, job opportunities are expected to be about average in the next 10 years with some specialties seeing more growth than others.

Sylvia Buetow is a retired teacher, writer, author.
She supports online education and the idea of continuing education.