As the literal and figurative builders of the future, architects and engineers shoulder an enormous responsibility. They are the creators and innovators of some of society’s most important breakthroughs, and there are plenty of well-paying careers in these industries.
Using the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center, CareerTrends found the 19 highest-paying jobs in architecture and engineering. For this list, we only considered occupations the BLS placed into the architecture or engineering categories. Jobs with fewer than 10,000 employees were not included. Salary data from the FLCDC was released in June 2015, while employment data from the BLS is from May 2014. The FLCDC is funded by the Department of Labor and breaks BLS wage data out into different experience levels.
The FLCDC uses four categorizations for experience level: entry level, qualified, experienced and fully competent. Experienced workers typically have multiple years of experience (three years or more) in their careers and require less on-the-job supervision than entry level or qualified workers. Fully competent workers have five or more years of experience and require little to no on-the-job supervision. Jobs are ranked according to their annual experienced salaries.
Each of the 19 occupations on the list make over $60,000 per year in salaries for experienced workers, including 15 with experienced salaries over $75,000.
Experienced salary: $60,083
Description: Collect, analyze and interpret geographic information provided by geodetic surveys, aerial photographs and satellite data. Research, study and prepare maps and other spatial data in digital or graphic form for legal, social, political, educational and design purposes. May work with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). May design and evaluate algorithms, data structures and user interfaces for GIS and mapping systems.
#18. Aerospace Engineering Technicians
Experienced salary: $63,598
Description: Operate, install, calibrate and maintain integrated computer/communications systems, consoles, simulators and other equipment. These are used to launch, track, position and evaluate air and space vehicles. May record and interpret test data.
#17. Landscape Architects
Experienced salary: $65,691
Description: Plan and design land areas for projects such as parks and other recreational facilities, airports, highways, hospitals, schools, land subdivisions, and commercial, industrial, and residential sites.
Experienced salary: $74,821
Description: Plan and design structures, such as private residences, office buildings, theaters, factories and other structural property.
#15. Civil Engineers
Experienced salary: $78,650
Description: Perform engineering duties in planning, designing and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants and water and sewage systems.
#14. Health & Safety Engineers
Experienced salary: $79,701
Description: Promote worksite or product safety by applying knowledge of industrial processes, mechanics, chemistry, psychology and industrial health and safety laws.
#13. Industrial Engineers
Experienced salary: $80,382
Description: Design, develop, test and evaluate integrated systems for managing industrial production processes, including human work factors, quality control, inventory control, logistics and material flow, cost analysis, and production coordination.
#12. Mechanical Engineers
Experienced salary: $80,779
Description: Perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, machines and other mechanically-functioning equipment.
#11. Environmental Engineers
Experienced salary: $82,132
Description: Research, design, plan or perform engineering duties in the prevention, control and remediation of environmental hazards using various engineering disciplines. Work may include waste treatment, site remediation or pollution control technology.
#10. Biomedical Engineers
Experienced salary: $85,604
Description: Apply knowledge of engineering, biology and biomechanical principles to the design, development and evaluation of biological and health systems and products. These include artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems.
#9. Nanosystems Engineers
Experienced salary: $86,094
Description: Design, develop or supervise the production of materials, devices or systems of unique molecular or macromolecular composition, applying principles of nanoscale physics and electrical, chemical or biological engineering.
#8. Materials Engineers
Experienced salary: $86,587
Description: Evaluate materials and develop machinery to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications.
#7. Electrical Engineers
Experienced salary: $86,799
Description: Research, design, develop, test or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components or systems for commercial, industrial, military or scientific use.
#6. Electronics Engineers
Experienced salary: $87,554
Description: Employ knowledge of electronic theory and materials properties to research design, develop or test electronic components and systems.
#5. Chemical Engineers
Experienced salary: $92,948
Description: Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, plastics, detergents, cement, paper and pulp.
#4. Computer Hardware Engineers
Experienced salary: $97,406
Description: Research, design, develop or test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, military or scientific use. May supervise the manufacturing and installation of computer or computer-related equipment and components.
#3. Aerospace Engineers
Experienced salary: $99,379
Description: Perform engineering duties in designing, constructing and testing aircraft, missiles and spacecraft. May conduct basic and applied research to evaluate adaptability of materials and equipment to aircraft design and manufacture.
#2. Nuclear Engineers
Experienced salary: $106,177
Description: Conduct research on nuclear engineering projects or apply principles and theory of nuclear science to problems concerned with release, control and use of nuclear energy and nuclear waste disposal.
#1. Petroleum Engineers
Experienced salary: $131,212
Description: Devise methods to improve oil and gas extraction and production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs. Oversee drilling and offer technical advice.