Choosing the right engineering degree can be a crucial decision that sets the course for your professional journey. To help you navigate through the vast array of options, we present the Engineering Degree Tier List for 2023. This updated version aims to provide you with valuable insights into various engineering disciplines, their career prospects, and earning potentials.
Before we dive into the specific rankings, it’s important to note that this tier list is based on extensive research and analysis. Our College Degree Ranker, a comprehensive tool available in our College 101 course, has been instrumental in collecting and analyzing data from various sources. Now, let’s explore the rankings and shed light on the top engineering degrees.
Systems Engineering: B Tier
Starting our list is Systems Engineering, an underrated degree with promising potential. With approximately 1,000 graduates per year at the bachelor’s level, Systems Engineering offers an early career pay of around $72,000 and a mid-career pay of $130,000. Although the demand for this field is not as high as some other engineering disciplines, its growing popularity suggests a bright future. Currently, the demand score stands at 14.51, which places Systems Engineering in the B tier.
Agricultural Engineering: D Tier
Next on our list is Agricultural Engineering, a relatively rare and specialized degree. While it may not boast the highest demand, with around 1,000 graduates per year, it still offers decent earning potentials. Early career pay averages around $59,000, with mid-career pay reaching approximately $98,000. Despite its unique nature, the demand score sits at 48, placing Agricultural Engineering in the D tier.
Software Engineering: S Tier
Undoubtedly one of the most sought-after engineering degrees, Software Engineering secures its position in the prestigious S tier. This degree offers excellent career prospects, with an early career pay of $69,000 and a mid-career pay of $112,000. Moreover, the demand score for Software Engineering is exceptionally high at 127, reflecting the growing demand for software professionals across industries. With outstanding earning potential and a thriving job market, Software Engineering is a top choice for many aspiring engineers.
Aerospace Engineering: A Tier
Aerospace Engineering holds a prominent place in the engineering landscape, although it faced setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting with an early career pay of approximately $69,000 and a mid-career pay of $118,000, Aerospace Engineering offers competitive salaries. With around 4,000 graduates annually, the demand score for this field reaches 100. While the industry’s cyclic nature poses certain risks, Aerospace Engineering’s unique blend of innovation and technical expertise earns it a spot in the A tier.
Architectural Engineering: D Tier
Specializing in the design and construction of buildings, Architectural Engineering is a niche degree with less than a thousand graduates per year. The early career pay averages around $61,000, while mid-career pay stands at $97,000. Although the demand score sits at a respectable 98, the degree’s limited flexibility and relatively lower pay compared to other engineering fields relegates Architectural Engineering to the D tier.
Biomedical Engineering: B Tier
Biomedical Engineering combines the worlds of healthcare and engineering, making it an attractive field for those interested in the intersection of these disciplines. With almost 7,000 graduates per year, Biomedical Engineering exhibits a promising upward trajectory. Notably, the degree’s meaning score of 71 indicates high job satisfaction and a sense of meaningful work. Early career pay is around $66,000, with mid-career pay reaching $114,000. While its specificity may limit some opportunities, Biomedical Engineering’s potential for impactful and rewarding careers secures its place in the B tier.
Chemical Engineering: A Tier
Considered one of the highest-paying engineering degrees, Chemical Engineering holds a prominent position in the A tier. Graduating around 10,000 students annually, this field offers substantial earning potential. Early career pay starts at $72,000, with mid-career pay soaring to $127,000. Additionally, Chemical Engineering boasts a solid demand score of 101, indicating robust job prospects. With its exceptional pay and strong industry demand, Chemical Engineering is a highly favorable choice.
Civil Engineering: B Tier
With approximately 13,000 graduates per year, Civil Engineering is a prevalent field known for its flexibility and meaningful work. Early career pay hovers around $60,000, while mid-career pay averages $102,000. Notably, Civil Engineering exhibits a relatively high meaning score of 65, indicating job satisfaction and a sense of purpose. While its pay may not surpass other engineering disciplines, Civil Engineering’s overall appeal places it in the B tier.
Computer Engineering: S Tier
Computer Engineering, a dynamic and rapidly evolving field, secures its spot in the esteemed S tier. With around 7,000 graduates annually, this degree offers impressive earning potential. Early career pay stands at $72,000, with mid-career pay reaching $120,000. The demand score for Computer Engineering is outstanding at 107, reflecting the robust job market and the multitude of opportunities within the technology industry. With its high pay, strong demand, and ample growth prospects, Computer Engineering is a clear choice for many aspiring engineers.
Electrical Engineering: S Tier
Parallel to Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering earns its place in the prestigious S tier. Boasting similar statistics to its computer-focused counterpart, Electrical Engineering offers an early career pay of $70,000 and a mid-career pay of $119,000. With a demand score slightly higher than Computer Engineering, this degree provides excellent job prospects and remarkable flexibility. Its broad applications across industries contribute to its desirability, making Electrical Engineering a top-tier choice.
Environmental Engineering: C Tier
Environmental Engineering, a discipline focused on sustainable development and ecological preservation, offers a unique blend of engineering and environmental sciences. While its pay is relatively low compared to other engineering fields, with early career earnings around $58,000 and mid-career pay at $100,000, Environmental Engineering showcases a good demand score of 100. With a meaning score of 63, indicating fulfilling work, this degree provides an opportunity to contribute to environmental conservation. However, its specificity and limited flexibility result in its placement in the C tier.
Industrial Engineering: A Tier
Blending business acumen with engineering principles, Industrial Engineering emerges as a versatile and sought-after degree. Graduating approximately 10,000 students each year, Industrial Engineering offers a solid early career pay of $67,000 and mid-career pay of $110,000. With a demand score of 101, this degree reflects strong job prospects. Notably, Industrial Engineering’s flexibility enables graduates to explore diverse industries, making it an attractive option and placing it in the A tier.
Marine Engineering: C Tier
Marine Engineering, focused on the design and construction of marine vessels and structures, represents a niche specialization. While it offers competitive salaries, starting at $72,000 and reaching $123,000 in mid-career, the demand score is relatively low at 37. Due to its specificity and limited flexibility, Marine Engineering finds its place in the C tier.
Materials Engineering: D Tier
Materials Engineering, a field exploring the properties and applications of various materials, faces mediocre rankings across the board. Graduating around 1,500 students annually, Materials Engineering offers an early career pay of $69,000 and mid-career pay of $106,000. With a demand score of 53 and a meaning score of 47, this degree falls below average. While advancements in materials science offer exciting possibilities, Materials Engineering’s limited flexibility results in its placement in the D tier.
Mechanical Engineering: A Tier
One of the most versatile and common engineering degrees, Mechanical Engineering finds itself in the A tier. Graduating approximately 32,000 students per year, this degree enjoys broad recognition and extensive career opportunities. With an early career pay of $66,000 and mid-career pay of $110,000, Mechanical Engineering offers competitive salaries. Furthermore, its demand score stands at 105, reflecting strong industry demand. Mechanical Engineering’s flexibility and recognition contribute to its solid position in the A tier.
Mechatronics Engineering: A Tier
Combining mechanical, electrical, and robotics engineering, Mechatronics Engineering offers an innovative and multidisciplinary approach to automation and control systems. While relatively new and less known than other disciplines, Mechatronics Engineering showcases strong potential. With an early career pay of around $70,000 and mid-career pay reaching $120,000, this degree presents promising earning prospects. Mechatronics Engineering’s unique blend of skills and its high demand score of 100 secure its position in the A tier.
Engineering Technology Degrees: F Tier
It’s crucial to differentiate engineering technology degrees from traditional engineering degrees. Engineering technology degrees, often offered by for-profit institutions, may lack the same recognition and rigor as their engineering counterparts. Construction Engineering Technology, for example, focuses on a specific aspect of engineering and offers limited flexibility. With an early career pay of $52,000 and mid-career pay of $82,000, coupled with a low demand score of 2.97, these degrees fall into the F tier.
Network Engineering: C Tier
Network Engineering, specializing in the design and maintenance of computer networks, presents decent earning potentials. With an early career pay of $56,000 and mid-career pay of $90,000, this field offers moderate salaries. The demand score for Network Engineering is solid at 100, reflecting stable job prospects. While it may not stand out among other engineering disciplines, Network Engineering secures its place in the C tier.
Nuclear Engineering: C Tier
Nuclear Engineering, focusing on the application of nuclear energy and radiation, exhibits unique characteristics and promising long-term prospects. Graduating around 500 students per year, Nuclear Engineering offers early career pay of $72,000 and mid-career pay of $122,000. However, the demand score for this field is relatively low at 40. Nuclear Engineering’s potential lies in the future of sustainable energy, but its limited flexibility and industry uncertainties result in its placement in the C tier.
Petroleum Engineering: B Tier
Regarded as the highest-paying degree across all disciplines, Petroleum Engineering secures its position in the B tier. With early career pay starting at an impressive $94,000 and mid-career pay averaging $176,000, this degree promises substantial financial rewards. However, the demand score is relatively low at 34, indicating a fluctuating industry. Petroleum Engineering’s limited flexibility contributes to its placement in the B tier.
We hope this Engineering Degree Tier List provides valuable insights into the diverse opportunities and considerations when choosing an engineering discipline. Remember to thoroughly research each field, consider your passions and interests, and align them with the future job market trends. Your chosen engineering path will shape your career, so choose wisely and embark on an exciting journey towards professional success.