Engineering degree programs remain incredibly popular today. There are a great deal of reasons for this, from job demand and opportunities, to challenging but rewarding work environments, to high salaries. Engineering though is a broad field which covers dozens of different subfields and specialties. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to take a look at which specific focuses currently represent the most popular engineering degrees.
Before we get started with that list of the most popular engineering degrees, let’s just take one quick moment to review some of those benefits of engineering to begin with. Right at the top of the list for many students is the fact that engineers command such high salaries. Depending on which area you get involved with, the median income level can be anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000 or more, and that is just the median.
Another appealing aspect of engineering is simply how many specialties there are. Wherever your interests lie, you can pursue them professionally and find a wonderful career match. Careers in engineering are often complex and challenging, but ultimately rewarding, and offer professionals a true sense of accomplishment. When you factor in that the entire field of engineering is projected to have over 175,000 new jobs from the decade between 2008-2018 according to the BLS, you can see why engineering remains such a highly sought after educational track and career.
One final note is that this list of the most popular engineering degrees today does not correlate to which fields are currently the largest in terms of employment. It also is not directly tied into which field is growing the fastest, based on percentage. Instead, this ranking of the popular engineering degree programs takes into consideration how many new students are beginning their journey towards a degree as we speak.
Mechanical engineering remains right at the top of the list of popular engineering degrees. Mechanical engineering is focused around the creation, design, testing and functionality of mechanical devices, from turbines to industrial equipment to robotics and much more down the line. It’s a broad field that lends itself to many specific subfields and applications and provides a strong fundamental core of engineering knowledge and knowhow.
Civil engineering is one of the engineering degree programs that continues to bring in new students each and every year. When you consider the investment our current economy makes in new infrastructure, repairing existing infrastructure and more, it’s a wise decision. Civil engineers construct, design, repair and manage roads, bridges, tunnels, and much more. Design new infrastructure to withstand natural disasters or environmental hazards, repair safety flaws and much more.
Not to be confused with electronics engineering, electrical engineering deals with the design, testing and development of electrical equipment used for controlling machines, navigation and communication systems, automobile and other machinery electrical systems, and more. Electrical engineers focus on the generation and supply of power, whereas electronics engineers focus on electricity for control systems and signal processing.
The environment remains a hot topic in our current society, which makes environmental engineering easily one of the most popular engineering degrees on this list. Environmental engineers learn about how to create newer, environmentally safe systems, machines and more, while analyzing current industry and machines, studying hazards and effects in the environment, preventing damage to the environment and human life, and ultimately minimizing the impact of pollution of all kinds from the technology, industry and machinery we use every day.
Computer Hardware Engineering
Computer hardware engineering is not a quickly growing field in terms of employment these days, but it remains one of the engineering degree programs which is quite popular for students. It provides a great basis of knowledge in terms of the creation, testing, usage and more of computer systems and related equipment, like chips and circuit boards, comprehensive systems and more. Not to be confused with computer engineers, also known as software engineers.
Petroleum engineering has gained a lot of recognition in recent years as the highest paying college major in any field, period. That kind of recognition makes it a guaranteed frontrunner in terms of popular engineering degrees today. Learn how to find and analyze natural resources, extract them efficiently and safely, transport them and more. Focus on the design of extraction systems to maximize resource usage and efficiency.
Biomedical engineering is still a relatively small field compared to something like civil engineering, but it’s the most rapidly growing aspect of engineering. It’s exploding in growth, with a 72% growth rate projection, because this is really where the future is – designing and developing new medical machinery and technology, working with nanotechnologies and other new advancements and more.
If you’ve always been interested in flight, in aircraft or in space itself, then aerospace engineering is a great match for you. Design, test and supervise the manufacture of everything from planes to spacecraft to missiles. Heavy employment rates with the military and in the defense fields, working with contractors or with the Department of Defense on new projects, and more. Study propulsion, aerodynamics, guidance and control, instrumentation and much more.
Industrial engineers deal with the methods of production and how to maximize their capabilities, efficiencies and overall effectiveness. Design and oversee new manufacturing systems, serve as consultants for companies investing in new assets, design control systems which are safe and easy to manage, work with new high-tech information systems and more. Industrial engineers, as mentioned, often end up as consultants, working with management, or other administrative or upper-tier positions.
Materials engineers work with the design and testing of new materials which can be used for machines, tools, industry, entrepreneurship and everything else down the line. Plastics, semiconductors, metals, ceramics and more are types of materials which have broad applications and need to be made safe, reproducible, efficient, durable, and more, through a combination of testing, chemical interaction, biology, physics and more, from the surface down to the subatomic level.