When it comes to “fun” college majors, degrees in art, PE or theatre often tend to come to mind—but not usually engineering. Engineers are often portrayed as serious men and women squinting at blueprints and crunching numbers. However, engineering encompasses many different fields, and some people are surprised to learn that engineers can actually find extremely interesting work and have enviably fulfilling careers.
On top of the possibilities for exciting work, engineering can be a stable and lucrative career path, offering graduates the best of both worlds. Overall, engineering employment is expected to grow by approximately 4% from 2014 to 2024—with some engineering specialties growing much faster than this. If you’ve ever thought about a career in engineering, here are 4 interesting jobs engineering students can pursue after finishing their degrees.
1. Roller Coaster Engineer
Ever wonder who creates those stunning roller coasters at Disneyland or Six Flags? These machines are truly a feat of engineering, and they require a great deal of precision to ensure their safety as well as the thrill factor.
There are several types of engineers that work on amusement park rides, but ride engineers (a specialty within the mechanical engineering field) are responsible for working with designers to ensure that the rides are built to be functional and safe. For specialty theme-based rides, this can take engineers as long as 3 to 5 years to complete a single ride.
Fun Fact: Roller coaster engineers who work for Disneyland are known as Imagineers, and their jobs are about as creative as you can get in this in-demand STEM field.
What’s required: Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, licensure
Average Salary: $88,190
You don’t have to engineer buildings or machines as an engineer; you can engineer plants and animals instead. Bioengineers are responsible for advances in fields like food production and healthcare. Growing new skin and organs, creating genetically engineered plants to be safe for human consumption, and designing artificial joints are all projects bioengineers have been responsible for. This exciting and innovative career path is a great option for people with natural curiosity and a scientific mind.
What’s required: Bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering, or engineering with study in Biology; advanced degrees helpful
Average Salary: $91,760
3. Civil Engineer
“Civil engineering” may sound like one of the most boring jobs in the world, but it doesn’t have to be. Not only are civil engineers essential to global infrastructure, they often get to work on exciting and interesting projects. For example, some of the biggest civil engineering projects in the world have been lavish airports built on artificial islands. The Kansai International Airport in Japan contains a 40 foot seawall and cost $31.9 billion to build.
Civil engineers also work on projects like highways, bridges, and other essential projects that allow us to travel, work, and live. It’s one of the most important jobs to our economy, and demand for civil engineers continues to grow.
What’s required: A bachelor’s degree in civil engineering
Average salary: $89,730
4. Aerospace Engineer
Just about every kid has big dreams of becoming an astronaut, but what most 8-year-olds don’t recognize is how many smart and talented people are needed to support those astronauts in getting them out of Earth’s atmosphere and into space. Space engineers work with the latest, most expensive technology, and are responsible for astronauts’ and public safety while trying to unlock the mysteries of the universe. A knowledge of physics and mathematics are some of the most important skills in a space engineer’s toolkit, and they have to be extremely precise to be successful in the field.
What’s required: Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, physics, or other related field, master’s degree in astronautical engineering or similar, PhD helpful
Average salary: $107,000
Find Your Calling
No matter what your interests, you’re likely to find an interesting career path within the broad field of engineering. However, becoming an engineer requires dedication and rigorous coursework, so you should think carefully about what subjects interest you before you decide to pursue a career in engineering—it’s a long haul through the coursework if you don’t enjoy what you’re studying. If you find your calling, however, you might be able to make an excellent salary while doing fulfilling work. What could be better?
Ryan Ayers has been a consultant for over five years within multiple industries including information technology, medical devices and logistics. Many clients call him the BizTech Guru. He is a freelance writer on the side and lover of all things related to business, technology, innovation and the LA Clippers. Read more from Ryan: @TheBizTechGuru
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