STEM jobs, short for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, are receiving a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. These roles have helped rebuild the economy and keep America at the forefront of modern technology.
While any of these jobs could make a great career, engineering positions deserve a deeper look, with architectural and engineering occupations accounting for 34 percent of overall STEM employment according to research from Kelly Services.
The education and skills needed for engineering jobs
While a bachelor's degree in engineering is required for most entry-level jobs, some research positions may require a graduate degree. Engineers must stay current with their education to keep up with advancements in technologies that support their ability to design and build new products. Soft skills such as communication, leadership and interpersonal skills are becoming increasingly important for engineers to possess.
Once trained, it's possible for engineering workers to transfer their knowledge from one branch of engineering to another. This flexibility allows engineers to move into specialties as their interests change or to those with brighter employment prospects.
These eight metropolitan areas are the top spots for engineering jobs. With a strong concentration and a sizeable volume of engineering jobs compared to total employment, these areas are predicted to grow their engineering employment by more than six percent in the next five years.
- Huntsville, Ala.
- Kansas City, Kan.
- Virginia Beach, Va.
- Washington, D.C.
Engineers are well compensated for their hard work. The average salary in 2011 for architecture and engineering jobs was $77,120. The average starting salary in 2011 for petroleum engineers was $80,849, the highest for any major.
Expected job growth through 2020
As the U.S. economy continues to recover, the need for engineering jobs is growing. The demand for architecture and engineering workers is expected to add more than 268,000 new jobs to the U.S. workforce. Architecture engineering occupations are expected to grow 10.3 percent by 2020.
The top three specialty engineering jobs by growth percentage through 2020:
1. Biomedical engineer
Growth through 2020: 62 percent
Average salary in 2011: $88,360
2. Environmental engineer
Growth through 2020: 22 percent
Average salary in 2011: $83,340
3. Civil engineer
Growth through 2020: 19 percent
Average salary in 2011: $82,710