A career in engineering can lead to employment in a wide variety of science jobs and has starting salaries among the highest for college graduates. Using concepts developed by other scientists and mathematicians, engineers develop improved solutions to technical problems, translating scientific discoveries into commercial applications. Engineering jobs can involve designing and developing new products, as well as testing, production, and maintenance. An engineer will usually specialize in a specific area of expertise. Some of these are outlined below. For any of these, senior engineers, as well as technicians and various support staff, may find employment.

The design of agricultural machinery, equipment, and protocols is done by agricultural engineers. Science jobs in this area involve work in research and development, production, sales, or management. Combining medical knowledge with engineering principles, biomedical engineers develop devices and procedures that address medical and health-related problems. Many biomedical engineers work with medical scientists to develop new instruments, information systems, organ replacements, and prostheses. Chemical engineers may also work in the design of medical products, as well as a variety of manufacturing industries such as electronics and energy production. Health and safety engineers utilize their knowledge of systems engineering and mechanical, chemical, and human performance principles to maintain safe work and living environments, identifying potential hazards, such as fires in residential housing and the risk of biohazard material exposure in science laboratories. Engineers will then develop procedures designed to reduce the risk of illness, injury, or damage. Some health and safety engineers work in manufacturing industries to ensure that new products meet the safety standards of federal and local governments.


Another major branch of engineering is civil engineering and involves the design of infrastructures such as roads, tunnels, bridges, buildings, airports, and water supply and sewage systems. Civil engineering is one of the oldest engineering disciplines and is continuously in demand. In addition to the direct design of infrastructure components, many civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions, such as supervising construction sites or as city engineers.

Electronics engineers design and develop electronics equipment ranging from MP3 players to global positioning systems. An electronics engineer may specialize in an area such as communications or control systems. As technology continues to become a bigger part of our lives, this career is likely to continue to be in demand.

Materials engineers develop and supervise the production of materials such as ceramics, metals, plastics, and composites used in products ranging from computer chips to golf clubs. They work both in generating new materials that meet specific needs and in selecting materials for new applications. Materials engineers generally specialize in a particular material, such as metals or fiber optics. Finally, nuclear engineers work in the development of processes and instruments for harnessing nuclear energy and radiation. They may design, monitor, and operate nuclear power plants, develop improvements to the nuclear fuel cycle (such as safer disposal of waste), or specialize in developing industrial and medical uses for radioactive materials, such as medical diagnostics.

Employment of engineers is expected to grow over the next decade, but this growth is likely to vary by specialty with biomedical engineers experiencing the fastest growth and civil engineers seeing the greatest employment increase. Overall job opportunities in engineering are expected to be good. This applies to not only engineers, but also to support staff such as engineering technicians.