A Guide to 6 Suprising Engineering Degree Jobs

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engineering degree jobs


Of all the academic programs that allow graduates to enter the largest variety of potential professions, few can compare to what’s possible with an engineering degree. Found in computer science, technology, manufacturing processes and civil aviation, engineers have traveled down a plethora of career paths .

An online Master of Science in Engineering through the University of California, Riverside has provided engineering graduates with the experience, skills and technical know-how to broaden their professional horizons through the comprehensive and practical curriculum taught in this engineering program. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those occupational opportunities are increasing in number, with nearly 140,000 jobs slated to be added to the economy between 2016 and 2026, as engineers in the U.S. grow ever closer to the 2 million mark.

Many of these prospective engineering job openings are for positions that you might expect, such as mechanical engineer (25,300 new jobs projected), civil engineer (32,000+), electrical engineer (16,200+) and chemical engineer (2,500+). The skills associated with each of these job posts require attention to detail and the ability to identify and solve problems as they become apparent.

6 Unexpected Engineering Jobs

Here are a mere handful of other occupations in which engineers apply their craft each and every day in unexpected ways:


1. Theme Park Engineers

Every year, typically when the weather is warm, millions upon millions of theme park enthusiasts line up for the various amusement park rides that provide thrills and chills to children and adults of all ages. Roller coasters are just about everyone’s favorite and more are being built with each passing year to satisfy park-goers adrenaline rush.

None of this would be possible without theme park engineers, who design, develop and analyze the literal twists and turns needed to propel riders throughout these rides through the laws of physics. These engineers develop solutions and new approaches to crafting and designing these structures so they provide riders with excitement without compromising their safety. Six Flags, Universal Studios, Seaworld and Cedar Fair are a few of the industry leaders who rely on and employ theme park engineers so they can safely and effectively appeal to the masses who love a good rush.

2. Sports Engineers

The players on the diamond, field or court may be the reason why so many people pay good money to see professionals swing for the fences or score a touchdown, but you can thank a sports engineer for the stadiums in which fans and teams congregate.

However, much like the engineering industry itself, their functions go above and beyond physical structures designed by architectural firms. Sports engineers are also employed by sports equipment manufacturers such as Rawlings, Spaulding and Wilson so bats, balls and gloves work as they’re intended to ensure top performance when every play matters. Here as well, attention to detail is critical, as is their comprehension of physics and mathematics.

3. Food Engineers

Food engineering is where microbiology, chemistry and applied physical sciences collide. It’s a pretty basic process for those who are outside of the food industry looking in: When you’re hungry, it’s time to eat. It’s not that simple for food manufacturers and distributors, who must ensure that the ingredients they use are properly packaged and developed to preserve freshness without compromising quality or safety.

Manufacturing entities are among the most common organizations that employ food engineers, both in the creation of food itself as well as the machinery and instrumentation that’s used in the production cycle.

4. Petroleum Engineers

From kerosene to diesel oil to gasoline and more, the energy sources that the world uses to heat homes and power cars all derive from petroleum. Accessing this vital resource to the world’s economy involves extraction from the ground, and petroleum engineers constantly come up with new ways, strategies and designs of gaining access to what the Earth’s surface holds. Similar to aerospace engineering, petroleum engineering is an umbrella term, as there are many different types of petroleum engineers, including drilling, reservoir, production and completion engineers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for this position is $137,170, with the upper 10% earning over $208,000. That’s well above the average salary for engineers, in general, which is $91,000. This is double what the average American earns annually.

5. Skatepark Engineers

Highways, bridges and back streets crisscross the country and are the reason why trucking is the No. 1 means of shipping in America, according to the American Trucking Association. But between the miles of pavement, hash marks and road signs are the skateparks in communities that allow boarders and roller-bladers to hone their skills. However, even one false move can result in injury, which is why developers and government organizations rely on skatepark engineers to plan and design ramps and courses, thus ensuring their structural integrity. The winter Olympics and X-Games would never exist were it not for the skatepark engineers.

6. Preservation Engineers

If you consider yourself a world traveler or enjoy learning about history, a preservation engineer is someone you should consider thanking. Have you been to Greece? Then you know just how old the Coliseum and the Parthenon are, dating back thousands of years. These structures have served as tremendous sources of economic and intellectual stimulation as venues for tourism and historical context. Preservation engineers are, in part, responsible for withstanding the test of time, thanks to their application of structural engineering and installing the systems that help prevent sites such as these from crumbling. As with most other engineers, they must work in collaboration so teamwork is key. Many of these soft skills can be honed through the online master’s in engineering program.


At UC Riverside, expect the unexpected. The Riverside Bourns College of Engineering can provide you with the tools and capabilities that will enable you to broaden your field of options, whether you’re already in the working world or recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree. What’s more, the program can be completed within 13 months. See what’s possible and apply today.


Recommended Reading

A Guide to The Most Lucrative Jobs in Engineering

Career spotlight: Power and Smart Grid Engineer

University of California, Riverside Master’s in Engineering Programs



BLS – Petroleum Engineers

BLS – Engineer Job Outlook

American Trucking Associations – Truck Tonnage Index