Top 5 Careers for Engineering PhDs

Graduates with a PhD in engineering are highly knowledgeable in their individual fields of study. A career in engineering is highly lucrative and positions are always in very high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median salary of an engineer in 2016 was $91,010. The BLS also reports that an estimated 41,500 new engineering jobs will be created between 2016 and 2026. Doctorate graduates should take advantage of this boon and consider a job in one of the following sectors in order to be the highest paid in the engineering field.

1. Chemical Engineer

When you go into the field of chemical engineering, you are expected to have a strong understanding of chemical properties. A chemical engineer will use chemicals to create new products or improve on current formulations. Chemical engineers have a wide range of positions open to them. They may work for chemical manufacturers or have a position with electronic, pharmaceutical, or food manufacturers. A PhD in chemical engineering is one of the best engineering degrees for the future because Payscale reports that top earners in the field make $119,000 per year and also bring in $15,000 from bonuses and $10,000 from profit sharing.

2. Aerospace Engineer

As you can imagine, aerospace engineers have one of the highest paying jobs in the field since they have the knowledge and experience to design aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles. The federal government as well as private aircraft companies have job openings within the field of aerospace engineering. The BLS reported in 2017 that the median salary for aerospace engineers was $113,030 annually and job growth rate of 6 percent until 2026.

3. Engineering Management

Engineering management is a specialized field that requires both technical savvy and strong organization skills. Engineering managers head up both small-scale and large-scale engineering projects in an assortment of industries. Due to the high complexity of the job, unsurprisingly an engineering management will be paid one of the highest in field with a base pay of $116,898 per year. Many engineers in this subset might pursue a doctoral degree such as a PhD in Technology Management to stand out in tech industries as a most valuable asset to public and private sectors alike.

4. Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum engineers are responsible for the designing and building of equipment pieces required for oil extraction. The goal of the builds implemented is to extract oil as quickly as possible and to make the machine cost-effective. U.S. News & World Report ranked a petroleum engineer within their list of top 100 jobs with a reported median 2016 salary of $128,230. As many petroleum engineers currently in the field enter retirement age, there’s an expected job growth rate of 15 percent over the next 10 years.

5. Civil Engineer

A civil engineer has one of the most complex, but also rewarding, jobs in the field of engineering. They are involved with the design, implementation, and maintenance of public works projects including roadways, bridges, dams, transportation hubs, and more. The civil engineer position is the 2nd highest rank occupation in engineering jobs and 36th for the top 100 jobs from U.S. News & World Report. According to Glassdoor, the average entry-level pay for a civil engineer is $74,546 annually.