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Engineering Specialties

The following paragraphs are taken from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 edition published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2008, engineers held about 1.6 million jobs. Following is the distribution of employment by engineering specialty:

Civil engineers278,400
Mechanical engineers238,700
Industrial engineers214,800
Electrical engineers157,800
Electronics engineers, except computer143,700
Computer hardware engineers74,700
Aerospace engineers71,600
Environmental engineers54,300
Chemical engineers31,700
Health and safety engineers, except mining safety engineers and inspectors25,700
Materials engineers24,400
Petroleum engineers21,900
Nuclear engineers16,900
Biomedical engineers16,000
Marine engineers and naval architects8,500
Mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers7,100
Agricultural engineers2,700
Engineers, all other183,200

About 36 percent of engineering jobs were found in manufacturing industries, and another 30 percent were in the professional, scientific, and technical services industries, primarily in architectural, engineering, and related services. Many engineers also worked in the construction, telecommunications, and wholesale trade industries.

Federal, State, and local governments employed about 12 percent of engineers in 2008. About 6 percent were in the Federal Government, mainly in the U.S. Departments of Defense, Transportation, Agriculture, Interior, and Energy, and in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Many engineers in State and local government agencies worked in highway and public works departments. In 2008, about 3 percent of engineers were self-employed, many as consultants.

Engineers are employed in every State, in small and large cities and in rural areas. Some branches of engineering are concentrated in particular industries and geographic areas; for example, petroleum engineering jobs tend to be located in States with sizable petroleum deposits, such as Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alaska, and California. Other branches, such as civil engineering, are widely dispersed, and engineers in these fields often move from place to place to work on different projects.

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Annual pay for bachelor’s graduates without higher degrees. Typical starting graduates have two years of experience; mid-career graduates have 15 years. See full methodology.

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