Did you know that choosing to study a less popular area of engineering could be your way to a six-figure salary? Surprisingly, the big bucks come from those engineering disciplines that are under the radar! Who would have ever thought that these areas could get you into niche jobs and prove to be worth the time you spend and the money you invest? Maybe it’s time to reconsider your options right about now!
The Road Less Travelled!
Let’s have a look at three engineering areas that experts say are studied by less by students, yet offer compelling salaries and amazing careers.
Mining and Minerals Engineering
Greg Adel, department head for Virginia Tech College of Engineering’s Mining and Minerals Engineering Program
, tells us that students who choose to specialize in mining or minerals have various career options open to them. Students can choose to work for mining companies, they can work on research on health and safety issues in the mining industry or if they have specialised in mineral processing, they could work in processing plants.
Regardless of which subspecialty students choose to enter, they can be sure of a high salary, on graduation. Greg Adel confirms that, “With a bachelor’s degree we’re typically seeing starting salaries around $65,000 to $70,000.” Postgraduate study could further hike up your salary by $10,000.
In the USA, it is advisable however to take note that there are only a total of 14 mining programs that are accredited by ABET. Mining engineers are definitely in demand, but the number in demand varies widely from more popular fields like civil or mechanical engineering, needless to say.
Materials Science & Engineering
When you hear that materials science and engineering programs
see less enrolments per year, don’t be misled to believe that it is low in demand. The fact is just that students are not as exposed to this discipline as they are to the rest. In other words, they may not really know what it is all about.
Material Science is simply nothing but the study of materials of any kind. Students may study energy or learn about the developing of solar cells with new materials. They may even get the opportunity to work as airplane manufacturers to design a plane’s composite material.
In the USA, in the academic year 2011-2012, it was observed that only 951 master’s degrees were awarded in the field of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the average salary in the year 2012 was seen to be $85,150.
James E. Moore, vice dean for academic programs at University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering, opens up and tells us in all honesty that nuclear engineering may come off as a controversial field of study- given the hazards it presents.
Moore tells us, "People don’t realize the risks are manageable and they shy away from the area. Professionals that work there are aging out of the workforce. If working at a plant isn't appealing to new graduates, they may also work in labs or for a government agency that focuses on nuclear work.”
In the USA, there may not be more nuclear plants coming up but the ones in existence are looking to take in a good number of new graduates currently. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the average salary in this field is $104,270. Moore predicts that there will be a rise in nuclear engineering programs among America’s private schools, very soon.
According to the American Society for Engineering Education, the year 2012 saw 704 students enrol in a nuclear master’s program, as opposed to 13,381 in the popular field of mechanical engineering. On the flipside, graduates, much to their delight, will also find less competition to find employment in this field, on graduation.
You don’t have to panic if you haven’t made up your mind as to what field of engineering you picture yourself in. Moore feels there is really no need for you to feel conflicted over which branch of engineering to specialise in, as in his opinion, “Virtually any field in engineering is well paid.” These three are just a few study areas that have never quite made it to the limelight yet drew our attention with their promising ROI. Browse through some of our engineering course listings
as well before you make your pick!