An engineering degree is a path to many different careers. According to Southern New Hampshire University, engineering is generally divided into four main categories: chemical, civil, mechanical, and electrical. However, there are dozens of subtypes of engineering and these various disciplines attract students from all walks of life, making engineering an attractive career path for young people with an array of skillsets and interests. They are often pushed to work within parameters of safety, cost, regulations, and even practicality.

The following is a breakdown of the various fields of engineering, courtesy of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, TypesOfEngineeringDegrees.org, and SNHU.

AEROSPACE engineers design, analyze, model, simulate, and test various aircraft, rockets, satellites, and other craft. Aerospace engineers may help develop space mission protocol or design aircraft for the military.

AGRICULTURAL engineers study science and biology to develop efficient measures to grow and maintain plant life. Many agricultural engineers now focus on protecting resources and the environment.

BIOMEDICAL engineers combine knowledge of biology and medicine to develop technologies related to healthcare. Diagnostic machines, artificial organs, joint replacement components, and medical instruments are just the tip of the iceberg.

CHEMICAL engineers discover and manufacture medicines, fertilizers, plastics, paints, and the various chemicals used at home and for commercial purposes.

CIVIL engineers study and design infrastructure. Projects span the design of bridges, roads, dams, water systems, earthquake-proof buildings, and much more.

COMPUTER HARDWARE Thanks to the digital age, computer hardware engineers are in high demand. These professionals research and develop components like memory devices, networks, routers, circuit boards, and other device-related hardware.

ELECTRICAL The design, testing and manufacturing of electrical components is key to this field. Electrical engineers work on motors, navigation systems, communication technology, and much more.

MECHANICAL This field involves the design of mechanical systems in industries like manufacturing, nuclear power production, HVAC, and nanotechnology. There are many other applications as well, making mechanical engineering one of the broadest fields in engineering.

Specialized work is often accompanied by high-paying compensation. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics points to strong job growth outlooks, and salaries starting in the high five-figures to low six-figures for engineering work.

PayScale.com backs up the federal data. Degrees in the STEM fields, continue to be at or near the top of the site’s College Salary Report. Engineering seems to be an especially lucrative degree to have. In fact, the 2018 report found that three of the top four highest paying jobs for people with a bachelor’s degree were in the field of engineering.

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