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Computer Science Major

Job Outlook

Significant Points

  • Overall job opportunities in engineering are expected to be good, but will vary by specialty.
  • A bachelorís degree is required for most entry-level jobs.
  • Starting salaries are significantly higher than those of college graduates in other fields.
  • Continuing education is critical for engineers wishing to enhance their value to employers as technology evolves.

Earnings

Earnings for engineers vary significantly by specialty, industry, and education. Even so, as a group, engineers earn some of the highest average starting salaries among those holding bachelorís degrees. The following tabulation shows average starting salary offers for engineers, according to a 2005 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Curriculum Bachelor's Master's Ph.D.
       
Aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical $50,993 $62,930 $72,529
Agricultural 46,172 53,022  
Bioengineering & biomedical 48,503 59,667  
Chemical 53,813 57,260 79,591
Civil 43,679 48,050 59,625
Computer 52,464 60,354 69,625
Electrical/Electronics & Communications 51,888 64,416 80,206
Environmental/environmental health 47,384    
Industrial/manufacturing 49,567 56,561 85,000
Materials 50,982    
Mechanical 50,236 59,880 68,299
Mining & mineral 48,643    
Nuclear 51,182 58,814  
Petroleum 61,516 58,000  

Variation in median earnings and in the earnings distributions for engineers in the various branches of engineering also is significant. For engineers in specialties covered in this statement, earnings distributions by percentile in May 2004 are shown in the following tabulation.

Specialty 10% 25% 50% 75% 90%
           
Aerospace $52,820 $64,380 $79,100 $94,900 $113,520
Agricultural 37,680 43,270 56,520 77,740 90,410
Biomedical 41,260 51,620 67,690 86,400 107,530
Chemical 49,030 60,920 76,770 94,740 115,180
Civil 42,610 51,430 64,230 79,920 94,660
Computer hardware 50,490 63,730 81,150 102,100 123,560
Electrical 47,310 57,540 71,610 88,400 108,070
Electronics, except computer 49,120 60,280 75,770 92,870 112,200
Environmental 40,620 50,740 66,480 83,690 100,050
Health and safety, except mining safety 39,930 49,900 63,730 79,500 92,870
Industrial 42,450 52,210 65,020 79,830 93,950
Marine engineers and naval architects 43,790 54,530 72,040 89,900 109,190
Materials 44,130 53,510 67,110 83,830 101,120
Mechanical 43,900 53,070 66,320 82,380 97,850
Mining and geological, including mining safety 39,700 50,500 64,690 83,050 103,790
Nuclear 61,790 73,340 84,880 100,220 118,870
Petroleum 48,260 65,350 88,500 113,180 140,800

In the Federal Government, mean annual salaries for engineers ranged from $100,059 in ceramic engineering to $70,086 in agricultural engineering in 2005.

Suggested citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Engineers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos027.htm.


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