Whether you are keeping your career options open or are set on engineering, you should learn a bit about the various engineering specializations.
While engineers are often lumped into a single group, the truth is different engineers learn and practice vastly different skills, making the engineering field excitingly diverse. The following 13 fields are the most popular and profitable destinations for engineering students.
Aerospace engineers are employed in designing, developing, and producing all manner of air and spacecraft, from the software inside them to the wings that help them fly. Almost any type of engineer can find work in the aerospace industry, but aerospace engineers often have specific graduate degrees in the field.
Sometimes called biological engineering, agricultural engineering aims to make farming and ranching more efficient for everyone. Some agricultural engineers might plan animal environments, others might improve food processing methods, and others still might develop biofuels. Agricultural engineering programs are available at a handful of universities around the country.
Engineering marvels, cars are outstandingly complex machines, and they are only becoming more mechanically and technically astounding. Automotive engineers are almost wholly responsible for the final look and functionality of new cars, so devoted gearheads should seriously consider seeking qualifications for engineering positions in the automotive industry.
Unlike biological engineers, biomedical engineers combine the fields of biology, medicine, and engineering to create solutions that save lives. Some biological engineers work inside hospitals to service complex medical machines, and others work in labs to design prostheses, artificial organs, or other vital medical devices. Regardless of where they work, most biomedical engineers must obtain specialized bachelor degrees, and many proceed to advanced online engineering degrees for extra training and experience.
Chemistry governs the physical world, but chemical engineers have mastery over chemistry. By manipulating atoms and molecules, chemical engineers can create new materials to use in advanced tech. Though this grants amazing power and control over future opportunities, chemical engineering remains one of the most intensive specializations, with rigorous undergraduate programs and long internship periods to ensure engineers are well-trained.
Civil engineers are dedicated to keeping civilization running smoothly. This field oversees the design and construction of physical infrastructure, including roads, bridges, buildings, and sewers. Civil engineers can find work nearly anywhere, but they are particularly in-demand in developing regions as well as areas often struck by natural disaster.
Arguably the fastest-growing engineering specialty, computer engineering is a diverse and exciting field. Engineers can work on tech hardware or develop new software, generally improving tech users’ experiences no matter what.
Because tech is only increasing in importance, computer engineers are often well-paid, and some employers will accept self-taught workers as long as they demonstrate adequate proficiency.
8. Drafting and Design
Competence in drafting and design is essential for nearly all engineering jobs. However, drafting and design engineers are specialized in creating drawings, blueprints, diagrams, models, or other mock-ups to help any client understand potential products. Many drafting and design engineers work as freelancers or consultants, which means the job doesn’t necessarily require any specific engineering degree.
Most things these days require electrical power, from smartphones to buildings, and electrical engineers are trained to provide that power. Often, electrical engineers will work in manufacturing to ensure electrical products are designed properly, but they can also find jobs in other engineering industries, including aerospace and automotive. Like chemical engineering, electrical engineering is an extensive and difficult field, and only the most diligent students find success.
Eager to protect the natural world, environmental engineers closely monitor air, water, and soil qualities and devise methods and means of maintaining or improving them. Some environmental engineers work in the civil sector, organizing systems such as water management, recycling, and waste disposal. Many types of engineers can contribute to the environmental movement and become environmental engineers.
Because the earth is always under human feet, there is no end to the problems requiring geological engineering. Geo-engineers might create solutions for construction sites on different types of soil or grades of slope; they might also analyze soil layers to find valuable materials, including precious metals, minerals, or oil. Most jobs within geological engineering require advanced education, but geo-engineers are usually paid well for their extensive training.
Like aerospace or automotive engineers but for the ocean, marine engineers are responsible for designing and producing watercraft. Nearly every human-made structure on the high seas, from tugboats to shipping vessels to oil rigs, required marine engineering. Marine engineering bachelor programs exist, but more often engineers in this specialty hold alternative degrees and enter the industry later in their careers.
Perhaps the most familiar specialization, mechanical engineering requires knowledge of physics and understanding of motion, energy, and force. Most commonly, mechanical engineers are tasked with harnessing or producing energy and directing its use, which is as equally applicable at nuclear power plants as it is at small research and development firms. Mechanical engineering usually requires only a bachelor degree, but leaders in this field sometimes seek advanced degrees.