10 Fastest Growing Engineer Jobs in the USA (Until 2026)

Updated on February 22, 2019
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The author enjoys researching the job market to report on the latest salaries, opportunities, and employment trends.

USACE Civil Engineer monitors emergency levee construction in Fargo, North Dakota
USACE Civil Engineer monitors emergency levee construction in Fargo, North Dakota | Source

Engineers apply theoretical knowledge of math and the physical sciences to create practical solutions for everyday problems. For example, they can plan roads and bridges, create new technology, design aircraft or develop more efficient methods for extracting oil.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor data released January 1, the total number of engineers in the USA will increase by 139,300 to from 1.68 million to 1.82 million from 2016 to 2026. This represents a change of 8.3%. The growth rate for all jobs will be 7.4% for the same period, which is an increase of 11.5 million jobs from 156.06 million to 167.58 million,

The following list shows the top 10 engineering disciplines that will add the most jobs, arranged in descending order. The figure in parentheses after the job title is the projected number of new jobs. Employment figures are rounded to the nearest thousand.

1. Civil Engineers (32,200)

Civil engineers plan and oversee the development of infrastructure projects such as airports, freeways, bridges, sewer systems, government centers and dams.

  • They will add the most number of engineering jobs at 32,200, for an increase of 10.6% from 303,500 to 335,700.
  • Architectural, engineering and related services will provide most of the opportunities with about 32,200 positions, an increase of 10.6%.
  • Nonresidential building construction will offer 19,100 new jobs for an increase of 13%.

2. Industrial/Health and Safety Engineers (27,400)

Industrial engineers develop systems to make industrial processes more efficient and profitable. These include management control systems, distribution services and job evaluation programs. Health and safety engineers ensure the safety of workers and machinery by developing injury prevention procedures and loss prevention controls.

  • They will provide 27,400 new jobs for an increase from 283,800 to 311,200 or 9.6%.
  • For industrial engineers, engineering services will add 5,100 new jobs for an increase of 41.3%. This is followed by agriculture, construction, and mining machinery manufacturing at 1,500 jobs or 36.8 percent.
  • For health and safety engineers, engineering services will add 7,700 new jobs for an increase of 0.3 percent. Nonresidential building construction follows with 7,200 jobs or 0.2 percent.

3. Mechanical Engineers (25,300)

Mechanical engineers design mechanical devices such as car engines, power plants, machine tools and ventilation equipment.

  • Jobs will grow by 25,300, or from 288,800 to 314,100, which is an increase of 8.8%.
  • Engineering services will provide about 12,800 new jobs for an increase of 24.3%,
  • This is followed by research in development in the physical, engineering and life sciences with 3,500 jobs or 17.8%, and motor vehicle parts manufacturing with 2,700 jobs or 17.8%.

4. Electronics and Electrical Engineers (23,100)

Electronics engineers manage electronic devices such as media players, communications systems and TV sets. Electrical engineers develop electrical equipment such as power systems, aircraft control systems and building wiring.This category does not include computer hardware engineers.

  • They will grow from 324,600 to 345,800, which is equal to 21,300 new positions or 6.5%.
  • For electronics engineers, engineering services will deliver 1,600 new jobs or a growth of 13 percent. Computer systems design and related services is next with 1,400 new jobs or 19.8 percent.
  • For electrical engineers, engineering services brings 8,900 jobs or 24.3 percent. Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences is next with 2,500 jobs or 17.8 percent.

5. Petroleum Engineers (5,100)

Petroleum engineers create systems and equipment for extracting oil and gas from under the earth. They also develop methods for increasing recovery and reducing the costs of production.

  • Their positions will increase by 15.2 percent or 5,100 jobs, which is from 33,700 to 38,800.
  • Oil and gas extraction will provide the greatest increase at 2,500 jobs or 20.5%.
  • Support activities for mining comes next with 1,300 jobs or 27.2%.

6. Environmental Engineers (4,500)

Environmental engineers use chemistry and biology to manage environmental issues such as water and air pollution, land resources, recycling, public health and sustainability.

  • Positions will grow from 53,800 to 68,300, an increase of 4,500 or 8.3%.
  • Management, scientific and technical consulting service will see an increase of 1,900 jobs or 57.7%. This is followed by engineering services with 1,000 jobs or 7.2%.
  • State and local government, not including education and hospitals, will add 300 positions or 3.8%.

7. Aerospace Engineers (4,200)

Aerospace engineers design vehicles and devices that travel through air and space such as airplanes, helicopters, rockets and missiles.

  • Jobs will grow by 4,200 or 6.1% from 69,600 to 73,800.
  • Engineering services will add 4,100 jobs, which represents 13.1%.
  • Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences will grow by 1,100 or 17.5%.

8. Computer Hardware Engineers (4,000)

Computer hardware engineers research and develop the physical components of computer systems including circuit boards, computer chips, keyboards and controllers.

  • They will add 4,000 jobs to grow by 5.5% from 73,600 to 77,600.
  • Computer systems design and related services will add3,800 jobs or 19.8%.
  • Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences will grow by 1,200 jobs or 17.8%.

9. Chemical Engineers (2,500)

Chemical engineers rely on the scientific principles in chemistry, physics, math, and biology to work with the chemicals in fuel, food, drugs, and other products.

  • The profession will grow by 2,500 jobs or 7.5 percent from 32,700 to 35,100.
  • Engineering services will who the most job increases at 1,000 or 24.3 percent.
  • Next will be basic chemical manufacturing at 900 jobs or 18.6 percent.

10. Biomedical Engineers (1,500)

Biomedical engineers develop medical products such as artificial organs, pharmaceuticals, diagnostic instruments and implants.

  • Jobs will increase by 1,500 or 7.2 percent from 15,700 to 25,400.
  • Research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences will show increases of 700 jobs or 17.8 percent.
  • Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing will grow by 300 jobs or 6.4%.

What type of engineer are you? (Revised with more choices.)

See results

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Aurelio Locsin

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Muhammad Raheel 

        17 months ago

        Petroleum is the best job

      • profile image

        Madhumita 

        19 months ago

        What about Biotechnology Engineering?

      • profile image

        mintlysocial 

        2 years ago

        The engineers are really great. I didnt even think about it

      • profile image

        mintlysocial 

        2 years ago

        . Data analysts will be in demand.

        According to the report, data analysts will become increasingly more important in all industries by 2020.

        Survey respondents said they expect to have a greater demand for data analysts because they will need help making sense of all of the data generated by technological disruptions.

        2. In fact, computer and mathematical jobs as a whole will also continue to get a boost.

        Jobs that fall under the computer and mathematical occupations will grow.

        These occupations include computer programmers, software developers, information security analysts, and more.

        3. Architects and engineering jobs will remain stable.

        During the next four years, the demand for those skilled in architecture and engineering will continue to increase.

        Specifically, the report states there will be growth for engineers focused on biochemicals, nanotechnology, robotics, and materials.

        By 2020, 2 million jobs will be created worldwide that fall under computer and mathematical and architecture and engineering related fields, according to the report.

        4. More specialized sales people will also be needed.

        As technological advancements continue to disrupt industries, there will be a growing need for specialized sales people who can explain the company's offerings to a wide range of clients, including businesses, governments, consumers, as well as to new clients that the company has never worked with before.

        For example, as content is increasingly consumed on mobile, a digital media company would want to hire sales people who are knowledgeable with the ins and outs of mobile advertising.

        5. Senior managers will be needed in industries across the board to lead companies through periods of transformations.

        Industries ripe for disruption will also need a new type of senior manager to help companies navigate the rough waters of change, the report states.

        Industries that will need these new type of senior managers include media, entertainment, and information, according to the report.

        6. Product designers aren't going anywhere.

        One of the top skills that will be in demand by 2020 is creativity, according to the report. This will occur because while a lot of monotonous jobs can be automated, creative jobs still require a human.

        One occupation survey respondents said will be increasingly needed with this skillset will be designers, specifically commercial and industrial designers.

        These are the people that design and develop products like cars, appliances, gadgets, and other manufactured goods.

        7. Human resources and organizational development specialists will also be needed to help reskill workers.

        While technological and socio-economic changes will cause some jobs to disappear completely, there will also be a new jobs created and people needed to fill them.

        One way companies are planning on dealing with finding the talent needed for new jobs is by training existing employees with new skill sets.

        In fact, according to the report, 65% of respondents said that they are investing in reskilling current employees.

        So development specialists and human resource professionals will be needed not only for hiring in a competitive market, but they will also be needed to help employees develop new skill sets.

        8. Demand for regulatory and government relations experts will continue to increase as companies embrace new technologies.

        As companies adopt and develop emerging technologies, they will also be looking to hire those familiar with how to navigate the legal side of things.

        For example, as traditional automakers and tech companies both develop driverless cars, they are also hiring people to understand the relevant laws and to work with government regulators in figuring out the best way to implement the technology.

      • profile image

        mintlyin@gmail.com 

        2 years ago

        Not pre-med. Not business. Not computer science. The most popular college major choice for high school seniors surveyed by CareerBuilder---the majority of whom already have a career in mind---is engineering.

        We can debate how many of these students will stick with engineering when they get their first homework assignments in college. But let's assume most of them don't move to less rigorous majors. Which engineering field should they choose? What are the most in-demand engineering jobs in the U.S. based on job growth, hires, and job posting activity? And which ones have the oldest workforces that will need to be replaced sometime in the next five to 10 years?

        To answer these questions, we looked at labor market data and job postings analytics from EMSI for all 18 engineering occupations classified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and all eight engineering technicians occupations (which are primarily middle-skill positions). Both categories, despite the difference in educational requirements and median pay, are adding a bunch of jobs post-recession and are key STEM occupation groups. But they tell a different story when comparing job postings from employers and hiring that's taken place.

        Engineers

        First, a few big-picture data trends:

        The U.S. has approximately 1.6 million engineering jobs that pay $42 per hour in median wages. Civil engineers account for the most jobs of any engineering field (274,000 in 2014), followed closely by mechanical engineers (264,000) and industrial engineers (229,000). Those three engineering jobs, plus electrical engineers and electronics engineers, make up two-thirds of the American engineering workforce.

      • tamarawilhite profile image

        Tamara Wilhite 

        5 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

        The American Society of Mechanical Engineers' salary report just came out - and petroleum engineers are receiving the highest starting salaries by far, in the 80,000 range to start. This is in part due to the high demand relative to the few graduates in the field.

      • profile image

        D. Wilson 

        6 years ago

        Mining makes all of these jobs possible. How can you leave a them off the list. When most are nearing retirement.

      • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

        Aurelio Locsin 

        6 years ago from Orange County, CA

        Your son has great job prospects, tammyswallow.

      • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

        Aurelio Locsin 

        6 years ago from Orange County, CA

        I hope you're finding good job prospects.

      • tammyswallow profile image

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Great Hub! I am sharing this with my son who is currently in college majoring in mechanical engineering. Well written and researched.

      • Kristine Manley profile image

        Donna Kristine 

        6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

        Thanks for highlighting Engineers. I have my B.S. in Industrial Engineering. Great Hub. Voted up!

      • Tams R profile image

        Tams R 

        7 years ago from Missouri

        I never realized there were so many engineers. It's amazing what it takes to run a world. Useful hub.

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