Field of Study Overview

The field of Engineering will allow you to explore the science behind the amazing gadgets that we use in everyday life. Engineers build bridges, program robots, create waste treatment plans, design alarm clocks, and work with basically anything that moves mechanically. This major will involve advanced classes in math and science, teaching you principles that will allow you to build and operate machines, structures and systems. Not only should you like math and science, but you should also love building and creating things. You have power to improve the world by making new advancements.

There are many majors in this field; General Engineering allows students to master general engineering principles that can be applied in a multitude of fields. Another popular major is Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering, where students learn the science of flight and spacecraft. In Civil Engineering students learn how to build large and important buildings and structures like roadways and tunnels, while Computer Engineering majors learn to create computer programs and chips. Mechanical Engineering is another popular major where students learn to build and operate mechanical systems and manufacturing equipment.

These are just a few of the most well-known areas, but there are many majors to explore in this field.

Required Skills

There are numerous majors and concentrations in the engineering field allowing for students with many different interests. However, there are certain skills that all students entering this field should have. Engineering programs will involve classes in advanced math and science, including physics and calculus. Be prepared to memorize formulas in order to apply and use them in practical situations.

This major requires a lot of dedication and long hours of study. Dedicated students are rewarded for their persistence with many "aha!" moments. You should be dedicated to the field and not get discouraged easily.

Engineers love to learn through hands-on projects. You will constantly be asked to push boundaries in order to understand and create things in your particular interest area. Many times you will be doing this with a team, so you should be good at working with people. Communication skills are essential to all types of engineers. You need to be able to explain your ideas, but also keep other viewpoints in mind.

Many colleges will require an internship or a co-op job. This will help guide you in a specific direction while allowing firsthand experience in your field. Experience will help make you stand out in order to obtain a job.


This major is vast and there are a lot of different positions available to you depending on your field. You could decide to work specifically with certain materials, such as plastics or metal, or you could work with natural elements as in Forestry Engineering or Ocean Engineering.

By the end of your first year you should decide what interests you most and then specialize in that specific area. Most job fields have plenty of openings, with certain niche areas offering more advancement than others. Work experience will set you apart when applying for a competitive position.

Depending on your specific career, the job growth in this field appears to be growing at a pace that is about average. Graduates report an average starting salary of $57,626 with a mid-career salary of $97,598.


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Field at a Glance

  • Yearly Graduations
    (online) 1,867
    (associate) 358
    (bachelor) 117,761
  • Average Starting Salary
  • Average Mid-Career Salary

Explore Top Majors in this Field

Click Major to View Top CollegesPopularitySalary PotentialMajors Matcher
Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering High Good N/A
Agricultural Engineering High Poor N/A
Architectural Engineering Average Poor N/A
Biochemical Engineering Low N/AN/A
Biological Engineering Average N/AN/A
Biomedical Engineering High Fair N/A
Ceramic Engineering Low N/AN/A
Chemical Engineering High Good N/A
Civil Engineering High Poor N/A
Computer Engineering High Fair N/A
Construction Engineering Average N/AN/A
Electrical Engineering High Fair N/A
Electromechanical Engineering Low N/AN/A
Engineering (Other) Average N/AN/A
Engineering Chemistry Low N/AN/A
Engineering Mechanics Low N/AN/A
Engineering Physics Average N/AN/A
Engineering Science Average N/AN/A
Environmental Engineering High Low N/A
Forest Engineering Low N/AN/A
General Engineering High N/AN/A
Geoscience Engineering Low N/AN/A
Industrial Engineering High Low N/A
Manufacturing Engineering Average N/AN/A
Marine Engineering Average Best N/A
Materials Engineering High Poor N/A
Mechanical Engineering High Low N/A
Metallurgical Engineering Low Low N/A
Mining Engineering Average Good N/A
Nuclear Engineering Average Good N/A
Ocean Engineering Low Best N/A
Operations Research Average N/AN/A
Paper Science & Engineering Low N/AN/A
Petroleum Engineering High Best N/A
Polymer & Plastics Engineering Low N/AN/A
Robotics Engineering Low N/AN/A
Surveying Engineering Low N/AN/A
Systems Engineering Average Fair N/A
Textile Engineering Low N/AN/A

College Ranking by Field of Study

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Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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