Posted By: Brightwood Engineering Education
Updated: August 18, 2017
Earning an engineering degree is hard work: the course load is focused and challenging, and it often takes more than four years in college to complete. It's a very structured undertaking, and students who complete the requirements are generally highly sought-after job candidates. In addition to formal schooling, the Engineer in Training (EIT) or Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam may be required for some positions. Becoming a Professional Engineer (PE), or earning other types of licensure, further distinguishes one's career. Similarly, certification is the mark of a professional and can help an applicant not only get a job offer, but also command a higher salary. All the blood, sweat, and tears can pay off with a high-paying, intellectually stimulating career.
Just how much salary you make depends on what area of engineering you choose—for example, chemical, civil, mechanical, or electrical—as well as what specialty you select. Following, in alphabetical order, are five excellent entry-level engineering jobs to consider. These choices represent a diverse cross section of engineering opportunities, as well as excellent earning potential. Each offers the potential to learn a role and move on, or to remain in the role and become an expert.
These engineers are involved in the design and development of software for operating systems and network distribution, as well as for compilers. Software engineers instruct a computer, line by line, how to perform a desired function. Generally, they first research the needs of the user, then create computer software or a system designed to meet those needs. Those interested in licensure can take the software engineering PE exam.
This job is a good fit for: Problem solvers who naturally question the status quo.
Salary range: $45,000–$80,000
An engineering analyst uses technology, science, and data to assess whether the processes in place are meeting desired goals. Excellent communication abilities are a must, as well as proficient writing and demonstration skills. Job responsibilities often include identifying problems particular to the project, analyzing data, gathering and digesting feedback, and proposing solutions and final designs.
This job is a good fit for: People who enjoy research and designing solutions.
Salary range: $61,000–$82,000 (payscale.com)
This position requires people who want to focus on a particular industry and become experts on their own company. Field engineers must be thoroughly familiar with their particular industry and be able to advocate for their companies. A field engineer has a mobile job, traveling to different locations to access the status of machinery throughout the company and occasionally at clients' locations. They may also verify prototypes of products, develop test programs and procedures, and inspect products for design flaws.
This job is a good fit for: People who like to travel and those who like to fix things.
Salary range: $52,209–$63,533 (salary.com)
A mechanical engineer (ME) is responsible for developing, designing, and testing new products in the planning stages. This position might create, design, and model complex electro-mechanical systems, sub-assemblies, components, enclosures, molds, and packaging. Much of an ME's time is spent providing engineering-level production support to manufacturing. An ME provides creative input and communications and/or presentations to management, customers, suppliers, or vendors, as well as other members of the engineering team. An ME also provides support for product process and system issues. Job requirements include either a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, a master of science in engineering, or a related degree.
This job is a good fit for: People who enjoy experimentation and solving problems, and can organize engaging presentations regarding their team's solutions.
Salary range: $50,847–$95,795 (payscale.com)
This person is generally the primary point of contact for a project. The project engineer keeps the project on time and on budget, and ensures that the goals are not lost in the shuffle. People-management skills are essential, as well as practical problem solving. Planning, organizing, and controlling all the elements of a project falls to this job function. Additional responsibilities include schedule preparation, pre-planning, and resource forecasting.
This job is a good fit for: People who enjoy working closely with others.
Salary range: $61,772–$75,995 (salary.com)
Remember, an engineering degree is an investment in your future. Creative, hardworking, and smart people will always be in demand to build something, whether it’s bridges, software, transportation, and so forth. Engineers take the knowledge they gained in entry-level positions and successfully apply it to more advanced positions, often moving from one market segment to another. Being an engineer will allow you the unique ability to apply your talents to many different industries…because the world will always need builders.
Getting ready for the FE exam can seem overwhelming, and you may have a number of questions about the test. How should you prepare and what should you expect from this computer-based test? Learn from former test-takers in this free eBook download how to prepare for success.