The 15 Best Engineering Jobs for the Future

If you have or are considering getting a degree in engineering, there are many subspecialties to consider when finding a job. When choosing a specific career path, career insights help you determine which jobs in …

The 15 Best Engineering Jobs for the Future

If you have or are considering getting a degree in engineering, there are many subspecialties to consider when finding a job. When choosing a specific career path, career insights help you determine which jobs in your chosen field are the best to pursue. Based on job growth projections and average salaries that are higher than the national average salary, there are several job options within the engineering field that offer career stability.

In this article, we discuss 15 of the best jobs in the engineering field for the future to help you determine which jobs to pursue.

What is engineering?

Engineering is a career field that applies principles of science and technology to invent, design, build and use machines, systems, structures and other things that help people solve problems or achieve practical goals. These things constitute “technology,” but early technology didn’t include the computers and electronics many people think of as technology today.

With each new design and invention they create, an engineer contributes to the advancement of technology and shapes the future of the world. The engineering field is vast, with needs in almost every industry. If you enjoy designing and inventing new things to solve daily problems, a career in engineering may be right for you.

15 best engineering jobs for the future

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the engineering field to experience a 4% job growth increase between the years 2021 and 2031, which is about as fast as the national average job growth rate for all occupations. According to BLS data as of May 2021, the median annual salary for careers in the architecture and engineering field is $79,840 which is higher than the median annual wage for all workers of $45,760.

The following list discusses 15 jobs in the engineering field with career insights about the projected growth rate, average salary and primary duties of each job:

1. Civil engineering technician

National average salary: $58,320 per year

Job growth outlook: 0% (Little or no change)

Primary duties: Civil engineering technicians assist civil engineers in planning, designing and building infrastructure projects for commercial, industrial, residential and land development projects. Common duties include determining the size of a structure by reading and reviewing project drawings or plans, testing preconstruction field conditions, observing the work of contractors on a job site to identify design problems, testing construction materials and soil samples. Civil engineering technicians also are responsible for developing plans and cost estimates for constructing systems and operating facilities, ensuring project construction conforms to the design specifications and applicable codes, preparing and maintaining project files, records and reports and documenting project activities and data.


2. Cartographer

National average salary: $61,754 per year

Job growth outlook: 3% (Slower than average)

Primary duties: Cartographers research, collect, measure, interpret, manipulate, store and retrieve geographic data from ground surveys, reports, remote sensing systems, satellite images and aerial photographs. They use this data to create and update thematic maps and charts for design, social, political, cultural, educational and environmental purposes. Their maps help decision-making for regional, urban and land-use planning and zoning and for business decisions involving marketing, geology, engineering and environmental studies.


3. Aerospace engineering technician

National median salary: $73,580 per year

Job growth outlook: 6% (As fast as average)

Primary duties: Aerospace engineering technicians assist aeronautical engineers by operating and maintaining the equipment they use to develop, test, produce and sustain new aircraft and spacecraft. Common duties include building and maintaining aircraft system test facilities, making and installing systems and parts to use in test equipment, operating and calibrating computer systems, ensuring tests run safely and smoothly, recording data from tests, programming and running computer simulations, presenting findings and implications of tests to aeronautical engineers, installing instruments in aircraft and spacecraft and monitoring aircraft systems for quality assurance.

4. Industrial engineer

National average salary: $78,861 per year

Job growth outlook: 10% (Faster than average)

Primary duties: Industrial engineers evaluate the production processes of products and services and look for ways to improve those systems by eliminating waste and creating efficient systems that integrate workers, materials, machines, information and energy. Their job duties include evaluating production schedules, engineering specifications and process flows, developing management control systems, developing methods to maximize efficiency in manufacturing products and delivering services and designing and implementing quality control procedures.


5. Agricultural engineer

National median salary: $82,640 per year

Job growth outlook: 1% (Little or no change)

Primary duties: Agricultural engineers design, develop, test and oversee a variety of systems, machinery, equipment and structures related to farming and agriculture. Their responsibilities may include designing agricultural machinery components and equipment and testing them to ensure they work properly, designing and overseeing food-processing plants and manufacturing operations, planning and directing the construction of rural electric-power distribution systems and designing structures to store and process crops or to house animals.



6. Mechanical engineer

National average salary: $84,834 per year

Job growth outlook: 2% (Slower than average)

Primary duties: Mechanical engineers use the principles of force, energy and motion to design, develop, build and test thermal sensors and mechanical devices and processes. Common duties include designing effective tools, drafting blueprints, constructing and testing prototypes, analyzing test results, investing equipment failures or difficulties to diagnose problems and recommend solutions, improving mechanical technologies, testing theories to find functional ways to use products or procedures and overseeing the manufacturing process for their designs.

7. Marine engineer

National average salary: $85,070 per year

Job growth outlook: 4% (As fast as average)

Primary duties: Marine engineers design, build, inspect and maintain the internal systems that operate vehicles used on the water such as sailboats, ships, submarines, tankers and aircraft carriers. They are responsible for the systems that control power, steering, heating, cooling, ventilation and hydraulics the vehicles need to function properly. They work alongside naval architects, who design and build the architectural structure and form of the vehicles that surround the marine engineer’s systems.


8. Civil engineer

National average salary: $87,181 per year

Job growth outlook: 7% (As fast as average)

Primary duties: Civil engineers design, develop, build and oversee infrastructure projects and systems. They usually work for the government to design and develop the infrastructure of cities and towns such as buildings, roads, tunnels, bridges, airports and dams. The responsibilities of civil engineers include assessing an area’s needs, designing constructions that create a safe and productive function, preparing cost estimates, acquiring permits and ensuring all designs remain compliant with any applicable regulations.

9. Chemical engineer

National average salary: $90,707 per year

Job growth outlook: 14% (Much faster than average)

Primary duties: Chemical engineers combine the principles of chemistry, biology, mathematics and physics to solve problems involving the production or use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food and other products. Common duties include researching to design and develop new processes and equipment for manufacturing, planning and testing production methods and byproducts treatment.

Chemical engineers are also designing and developing processes using controlled chemical processes, planning and designing the layout of equipment, establishing safety procedures for work with dangerous chemicals, ensuring equipment and processes comply with safety and environmental regulations, estimating production costs and directing facility operations.

10. Environmental engineer

National average salary: $91,894 per year

Job growth outlook: 4% (As fast as average)

Primary duties: Environmental engineers research and develop methods to improve and protect the environment. They combine engineering principles with the principles of soil science, biology and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental issues such as pollution, oil spills, wastewater management, environmental remediation, ozone depletion and more. They are also responsible for obtaining permits for their designs, overseeing construction and monitoring and inspecting facility operations to ensure they comply with any applicable regulations.

11. Biomedical engineer

National average salary: $96,635 per year

Job growth outlook: 10% (Faster than average)

Primary duties: Biomedical engineers combine engineering principles with the principles of biological and medical science to design and develop devices, equipment, computer systems and software for the healthcare industry. Their job duties include evaluating, installing, maintaining and repairing biomedical equipment and training medical professionals on the proper use of such equipment. They also prepare technical reports and write research papers and report their findings to colleagues, scientists, the medical community and the public.

12. Safety engineer

National average salary: $98,997 per year

Job growth outlook: 4% (As fast as average)

Primary duties: Safety engineers combine the principles of engineering with current health and safety policies, regulations and industrial processes to develop procedures and design systems that protect people from illness or injury and property from damage caused by chemicals, machinery, software and other products.

Common duties include reviewing plans and specifications to ensure machinery and equipment meet safety requirements, ensuring buildings and products meet health and safety regulations, evaluating the effectiveness of industrial control mechanisms, installing safety devices on machinery, reviewing employee safety programs and conducting inspections of facilities, machinery and equipment to identify potential hazards and make recommendations for corrections.


13. Hardware engineers

National average salary: $103,259 per year

Job growth outlook: 5% (As fast as average)

Primary duties: Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop and test computer systems and their parts such as processors, circuit boards, memory devices, networks and routers. Their duties include designing new computer hardware, creating schematics of computer equipment, testing their designs of computer hardware, analyzing test results and making necessary modifications, updating existing computer equipment to work with new software and overseeing the manufacturing process of computer hardware.


14. Aeronautical engineer

National average salary: $108,875 per year

Job growth outlook: 6% (As fast as average)

Primary duties: Aeronautical engineers direct and coordinate the design, manufacturing and testing of aircraft, spacecraft, missiles and satellites. They also assess proposals for technical and financial feasibility, ensure designs comply with environmental regulations, create and test prototypes of their designs to ensure they function properly, develop acceptance criteria and quality standards and inspect malfunctioning or damaged products to identify the source of the problem and develop solutions.

15. Engineering managers

National average salary: $114,069 per year

Job growth outlook: 2% (Slower than average)

Primary duties: Engineering managers plan, direct and coordinate all activities of an engineering team or company. Their duties include identifying technical goals and making detailed plans for the development of new products, processes or designs, identifying staff, training and equipment needs, proposing budgets for projects and programs, hiring and supervising staff, leading research and development projects, checking the accuracy of their staff’s work, ensuring their staff uses appropriate methods to conduct work and coordinating work with other staff and managers.


The 15 Best Engineering Jobs for the Future