What’s the first thing you think of when someone says rocket ships or skyscrapers? Your initial answer might be “awesome”, but right after that you should think of engineers!

Science Engineering BadgeWithout engineers these kinds of technologies couldn’t exist.

And it’s not just huge projects like these! Engineers also play a role in creating smartphones and apps, in making credits card or Paypal work.

They help build and create every piece of technology we interact with, from a microchip to the Empire State Building!

Since these jobs are so vital, College Choice put together a list of the Best Online Engineering Degrees so that students can jump right into the field!

If you’re looking for all of our Computers & Technology related rankings, we have a separate page for those.

What Do Engineers Do?

Engineers solve real-world problems by using science and math to turn scientific discoveries into commercial applications.

They do this in any number of specialized fields. Nuclear engineers guard and maintain nuclear power plants. Petroleum engineers help us extract oil or natural gas from the ground.

Chemical engineers ensure that the foods and products we buy in the store are safely produced. And software engineers help write code and programs that make computers and the whole tech-based world buzz.

On any given day, engineers might look at how much a robot would cost to make or how much waste a nuclear power plant is going to produce. This means that they’re not only solving the problems of today, but also looking ahead to what might happen in the future!

But no matter what field their in, every engineer needs a sharp mind and strong creative problem solving skills, so that they can turn their classroom knowledge into technologies for the real-world.

How Much Money Can You Make If You Study Engineering?

Engineering as a whole is a highly reliable and often lucrative career path, but the job markets do vary between engineering specialties.

For one specialty, civil engineering, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 24,000 new jobs by 2024. This means that the field is project to grow by around 8%, or right at the national average.

The median salary in 2016 was $83,540. It is possible to enter the field with a Bachelor’s degree, though many professionals find financial and professional benefits in pursuing a graduate degree.

For civil engineers, some of the best opportunities for employment can be found in Washington, Alaska, and Montana, which have the most job openings per 1,000 residents.

And when it comes to pay Alaska, California, and the District of Columbia all offer median salaries of around $100,000!

And when one adjusts for cost-of-living, Tennessee, Texas, and Louisiana offer the best ratios of cost-of-living to median salaries for civil engineers.

Consider these engineering careers and their mid-range salaries:

  •        Nuclear Engineer: $82,770 to $124,420
  •        Aerospace Engineer: $85,500 to $135,020
  •        Chemical Engineer: $76,390 to $126,050
  •        Electrical Engineer: $73,910 to $119,690
  •        Petroleum Engineer: $97,430 to $179,450
  •        Software Engineer: $76,170 to $126,940

What Kinds of Engineering Degrees Are Available?

An Associate’s Degree In Engineering is a two-year degree designed to allow students to quickly enter the field of engineering. Students will choose a specialty to focus on, such as mechanical engineering, which can lead to a job as a technician in their chosen field.

Courses will provide a basic introduction to the engineering sub-field. Mechanical Engineering Technicians earn around $54,000 per year.

At the undergraduate level, student can pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering. Students will choose an engineering sub-field to pursue, such as chemical engineering.

Coursework will cover both general knowledge and engineering specific information, with a focus on the student’s specialty. Students who successfully complete a bachelors program can they become a full-time engineer in their field of work.

As a point of reference, Chemical Engineers make an average of $98,340.

Students looking to continue their education in engineering might consider a Graduate Certificate in Engineering, which further develops the skills and knowledge of an engineer’s chosen sub-field.

These certificates are mostly intended to increase skills and to raise an engineer’s worth at their current or next company.

A Master’s Degree in Engineering is the step that students take when they wish to become senior engineers in their field. Courses taken will be more in-depth and specialized than some of the undergraduate coursework.

Specific numbers vary by company and sub-field, but a Master’s degree will generally increase a person’s salary and likelihood for advancement in a company.

A Doctorate of Engineering (PhD) is also available for those looking to pursue more of an academic rather than professional track for engineering.

Programs will focus on academic research and methodology. PhDs can lead to undergraduate or graduate teaching jobs, or to senior engineering positions similar to the Master’s degree.

What Engineering Specialties Are Available?

There are a host of engineering specialties that students can choose from, some of the most popular of which include Aerospace Engineering.

Aerospace engineers help to design, test, and supervise the creation of aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles. Jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree, with programs focusing on aerodynamics and aerospace structures. The median salary for an Aerospace Engineer is around $109,000

Petroleum Engineering centers around creating methods for extracting oil and gas deposits from below the earth. Petroleum engineering programs will focus on fundamental mathematics, as well as geology and engineering.

Petroleum engineers need at least a Bachelor’s degree, and earn a median salary of around $128,000. Employees tend to move around a lot, as they travel to each potential deposit location.

Another great option is nuclear engineering, which centers around the research and development of the processes, instruments, and systems used to harness the power of nuclear energy and radiation.

Nuclear engineering programs will emphasizes studying nuclear reactions and radiation, radiological and biophysics, and fusion power engineering. Engineers must have at least a bachelor’s degree, and the average nuclear engineer earns around $102,000.

So are you ready to get your degree in engineering? We’ve ranked the Best Engineering Degrees, the Best Online Engineering Degrees, and the Most Affordable Online Engineering Degrees. But if you know the specialty you’re interested in, read on below.

Engineering & Technology

In the 21st century, every company utilizes technology and computers to help organize and execute their most important business decisions. But for this to happen, there have to be people who write the codes and programs that make these moments possible.

Software developers and software engineers help to develop specific apps and to develop underlying systems that run devices or control networks.

The highly-specialized and vital nature of this work has led to the development of an incredibly strong and lucrative job market for software developers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average software developer makes almost $50/hour, which equates to around $102,000/year.

And not only is the job financially lucrative, but because technology is ever expanding, the job market for this career is also expected to grow by 17% over the next decade (Much faster than average).

The technological element of this job also opens up the possibility of free-lance and remote working situations, for those looking for more independent career opportunities.

The most recent CollegeChoice parallels these financial and scheduling benefits by showcasing the Most Affordable Online Masters in Software Engineering degrees, which combines the financial ease of affordability with the flexibility and satisfactions of online education.

Petroleum Engineering

Did you drive a car today? Turn on a lightbulb? Heat your house? Take a shower? Use a Ziploc bag? Chances are, you’ve used petroleum or a petroleum product more than once today, and probably more than once in the last hour.

This is made possible by petroleum engineers, who assess where to drill for oil and natural gas, how to retrieve it, how to refine it, and how to deliver it to people all over the world. Petroleum engineers have changed the face of the globe, and made previously unimaginable luxuries available to millions.

Petroleum engineering is an interesting, challenging job. And it also pays well. According to the federal BLS, the median pay for a petroleum engineer is $128,230 per year.

Positions in the field are also growing faster than average according to the BLS. Especially as petroleum engineers figure out how to extract more oil and natural gas from old, previously obsolete wells, opportunities will continue to expand.

So if you want to break into this field, College Choice has a few relevant rankings to take a look at. To get a feel for the standards of excellence, we have a ranking of the Best Petroleum Engineering Degrees. If you want to combine excellence with affordability, we have a ranking of the Most Affordable Petroleum Engineering Degrees.

Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear Engineering is the field that helps to harness atomic power for electricity, using carefully calibrated combinations of radioactive material and water to produce cleaner, more reliable energy.

As the world moves towards more diverse forms of energy, the demands on nuclear energy for safety and competence only grow, which is why the sector needs smart and well-trained professionals in the field.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nuclear Engineers can expect to earn around $49/hour, which translates to an annual salary of more than $100,000.

Employers offer cooperative-education programs for workers to gain experience in field, before they enter one of the almost 17,000 job nationwide. Engineers work both in normal office settings, as well as on-site performing inspections within the nuclear power plants.

Because of the exciting possibilities of this important field, CollegeChoice has put together a list of the Best Nuclear Engineering Degrees in the country, which includes a diverse array of rigorous and respected programs.

Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineers are complex problem-solvers who use core scientific knowledge (chemistry and biology) along with economics and math to solve real-world problems involving the use of chemicals in fuel, drugs, food, or a host of other places.

These professionals design the means and methods of manufacturers, as well as plan and test production methods.

There are more than 34,000 chemical engineers in the United States today. These workers split time between offices and laboratories, directing on-site operations and solving problems as they arise.

The dynamic and challenging nature of the job is why Chemical Engineers typically make around $50/hour, with an average annual salary of $98,000/year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Chemical engineers need to be well-trained before they enter this field, meaning that students need to be sure that the program they choose will be rigorous and effective. This is why CollegeChoice has compiled a list of The Best Chemical Engineering Degrees.

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