Engineering Masters Degree Jobs & Careers
The field of engineering keeps expanding as industrial methods change, technology moves to the forefront and training becomes more specialized. The acceleration of knowledge development in every scientific and technological academic field means that the workplace for engineers of every type grows more complex. Today there are several categories for civil engineers, where once it was the mainstay of the profession. Some civil engineers have essentially become environmental engineers today because of the change in focus on construction and development. We have assembled what we believe to be top career opportunities in several of the engineering areas of specialization here; that does not preclude other engineering fields or job development spurts because those employment markets change rapidly with new developments and new technologies.
1. Chemical engineer positions always chart near the top for salaries in the engineering field because of the range of industries where chemical engineering is a valuable area of expertise. Companies like DuPont and Dow are constantly looking for engineers with advanced training; the petrochemical industry continues to thrive; and biotech firms are finding a need for chemical engineers that can work in the molecular biology field as pharmaceutical development includes elements of both.
2. Environmental Engineer is on this list because of the number of job opportunities associated with the field. In the public sector local agencies need expertise in managing water systems and sewer systems. At the federal level the EPA has the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and all of the toxic waste issues confronting the agency to deal with, requiring experts at developing solutions to pollution problems and monitoring existing facilities for regulatory compliance.
3. Materials Engineer work is an interesting field right now because of the rapid development of polymers and other synthetics that are increasingly replacing traditional raw materials for construction, product manufacture and in the development of various technology products. Computer chip design is being overhauled with new technology using new materials; nanotechnology is introducing an entirely new field where materials play a vital role.
4. Structural Engineer is a job that can be a branch of civil engineering in the construction field or it can be an intriguing professional niche in the area of product development, especially when new materials are being adapted for structural purposes. This sort of work is important in aircraft and automobile design today; it is also an important role in testing new materials that are being put into use in the construction field. Plastics continue to replace metal and wood structural components and other products where pressure, heat and corrosion are an issue. Those are all structural questions once a raw material has been selected.
5. Civil Engineer is still the most common engineering profession; according to the U.S. Department of Labor there were 278,000 of them working in 2009 in the United States. Civil engineering is a great choice for work in the public sector; a Master's in Civil Engineering is an excellent degree for the lucrative position of project manager for large public sector projects. Any developer of large commercial projects or industrial installations is going to call on a civil engineer for primary design input in order to avoid code, structural and regulatory problems as the project progresses.
6. Petroleum Engineer always tops the list of most highly paid engineering professionals; the down side for this job is that there are so few of them. However petroleum exploration has become a national enterprise in dozens of countries, some of which decline to partner with major oil companies. There are multinational career opportunities in this field as well as some work domestically, but you are going to be traveling if you choose to work in this field for the next twenty five years.
7. Mechanical Engineer is the next most common engineering profession in the U.S. after civil engineering. One of the interesting aspects of this master's degree is the fact that often, technology firms looking for engineering expertise will hire a mechanical engineer because of the overlap between the use of digital technology and mechanical function. In many cases it comes down to the ability to manage a mechanical engineering product development or research project rather than understanding the technological details of the components that are required. If you want to work in technology but don't want to take on microelectronics, this degree is a good choice.
8. Bioengineering or biological engineering is the field devoted to working in the life sciences field solving design challenges. Often this work is in the pharmaceutical research field, loosely defined as biotech, or in the development of medical instruments or new medical technology. Engineered biological systems are also important in food production. Increasingly, bioengineering involves the study of or practice in the area of molecular biology, the level where much of the engineering takes place.
9. Electrical Engineer positions often cross into digital electronics; some schools offer a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE) and a degree in Electronics Engineering in order to differentiate from the traditional degree. But along with the design of power grids and commercial electrical installations, electrical engineers are finding many of the job opportunities in technology, which is why many MSEE programs focus heavily on technology applications.
10. Computer/Software Engineers are immersed in computer architecture and the programs that make them operate. It is a complicated mix of academic disciplines, differentiated from computer science (sometimes) by the difference between product theory and design, and product development. Computer and software engineers are charged with bringing a product or new functionality to fruition after the designers and theorists have developed it.