Some of the highest-paying occupations are in engineering. First-year salaries for graduates with bachelor’s degrees in 2013 averaged $63,000, according to the nonprofit National Association of Colleges and Employers. Seven of the 10 college degree programs that result in the most lucrative salaries involve engineering.
Petroleum engineering featured the highest starting pay ($96,200) among all majors in 2013. Beginning computer engineers placed second at $70,300, with engineering majors ranking third at $66,900. Students of aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineering and those with degrees in mechanical engineering tied for fourth at $63,900. Graduates in electrical, electronics, and communications engineering netted an average of $62,500. Engineering technology, at $60,900, placed eighth among all occupations.
Engineering jobs pay so well in part because of the significant financial investment in education, and years of hard work, required to become an engineer. Another reason for the high salaries is the shortage of many types of engineers.
Students who are interested in engineering may want to consider the rewards of majoring in one of the discipline’s numerous specialties. Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in various engineering fields.
The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, as well as U.S. News & World Report, have compiled lists of the top schools for engineering majors. Here is a look at the universities receiving the highest marks.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The famed MIT in Cambridge, Mass., ranked at the top of the lists published by the ABET and U.S. News in 2013. That year, 3,163 students were majoring in engineering at the school. The annual tuition for a full-time student was $41,770.
MIT, according to the ABET, has the best aerospace, aeronautical, and astronautical engineering program. The organization also placed MIT at the top for chemical; computer; electrical, electronic, and communications; and mechanical engineering.
Both lists featured California’s Stanford University ranking alongside MIT as the best engineering schools that offer doctorate degrees. Stanford’s engineering enrollment in 2013 was 3,548 students, with a tuition rate of $43,950.
No engineering school has better degree programs for environmental and environmental-health engineering students, according to the ABET. However, Stanford is a tough school to get into, as it accepts fewer than 10 percent of student applicants.
University of California-Berkeley
Tied for first in the ABET rankings and third on the U.S. News list was the University of California-Berkeley. It had an engineering enrollment of 1,837 students and a tuition rate of $11,220 ($26,322 for out-of-staters) in 2013.
UC-Berkeley, which has been called the nation’s best public university, is top-ranked by ABET in civil engineering. It is second in chemical engineering, as well as environmental and environmental-health engineering.
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, is among the most famous engineering schools. It placed fourth on the U.S. News list. CIT had 587 engineering students and a tuition rate of $38,084 in 2013.
Carnegie Mellon University
Coming in fifth on the U.S. News list was Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, Penn. It is renowned for programs in an array of science and engineering fields. The engineering enrollment was 2,857 students, with a tuition rate of $38,900, in 2013.
These are just some of the options for students looking for a good engineering school. The Georgia Institute of Technology, Purdue University, the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor also have won praise.
According to the ABET, the best undergraduate engineering programs (where doctorates are not available) are at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind.; Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif.; and the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.
The Online College Database reported that Northwestern University has the most degree programs in engineering. Next on that list are the Missouri University of Science and Technology, North Carolina State University at Raleigh, the Colorado School of Mines, and the University of Southern California.
Money is not the only factor in choosing a major and deciding upon a career. Students are advised to focus on occupations that they enjoy doing. Those who like engineering can pursue their passion and make a lot of money. They may want to consider applying to some of the schools on these lists.