Engineering Scientist Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of an engineering scientist career? Get real job duties, career outlook and salary info to see if becoming an engineering scientist is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of an Engineering Scientist Career

Engineering science is a multidisciplinary field that involves the practical application of principles and facts dealing with various aspects of our physical or material world. As an engineering scientist, you would specialize in one of the many aspects and branches of this field, such as those focused on chemical, environmental or biomedical principals. Read more about the pros and cons of entering the engineering sciences below.

Pros of Being an Engineering Scientist
High salary among work specializations (2014 annual median salaries are about $83,000 or more)*
Many interesting work options/specializations*
A bachelor's degree is the general educational requirement*
The job rate for some specializations is much higher than the national average (2012 through 2022 projected job rate increase is 15% for environmental engineers and 27% for biomedical engineers)*

Cons of Being an Engineering Scientist
The job rate for some specializations is lower than the national average (2012 through 2022 projected job rate increase is 4% for chemical engineers, electrical engineers and electronic engineers)*
Engineering scientists who manage projects commonly long hours (more than 40 hours weekly)*
Licensing may be required* (for example, licensing for those that provide services directly to the public)*
Job specializations are very distinct. Employers usually require training and experience in a specific specialization - opportunities for broad based experience and/or crossing specializations are infrequent **

Sources: *The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Online Job Listings (obtained May 2012).

Career Information

Job Description

Your work would include administrative duties and responsibilities that revolve around design and production. Administrative duties may include creating reports and other documents based on needs assessment and/or evaluation findings that you may conduct. You may also supervise staff and/or project operations. Design or production responsibilities would involve developing concepts, products and/or services for your area of specialization.

Specializations

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that a few of the many types of engineering scientists include biomedical engineers, chemical engineers, environmental engineers, nuclear engineers, electrical engineers and electronics engineers. If you serve as a biomedical engineer, you would use biomechanical and biological principles to develop solutions that address medical and biological issues, such as designing artificial organs, medical information systems and prostheses.

As a chemical engineer, you would use physics and chemistry precepts to address problems that involve the use of various substances ranging from chemicals to food. Environmental engineers use principals in science to develop solutions that center on improving or preserving aspects of our natural surroundings. This may include addressing air pollution, recycling, climate change and other global concerns.

If you serve as a nuclear engineer, your work would involve developments in the utilization of radiation and nuclear energy, such as for healthcare delivery and power sources. As an electrical engineer, you would focus on aspects of the production of electrical equipment ranging from communications systems to electric motors. Electronics engineers develop equipment driven by electronic technologies. This may include a variety of consumer products, such as global positioning systems (GPS) and music players.

Salary Info

The BLS reported that as of May 2014, the annual median salary for environmental engineers was approximately $83,360, biomedical engineers earned about $86,950 and electrical engineers received around $91,410 for their annual median salary. In addition, electronics engineers earned approximately $95,790, chemical engineers received about $96,940, and nuclear engineers earned around $100,470 for their annual median salaries, also as of May 2014.

What Are the Career Requirements?

The BLS reported that the general educational requirement for engineering scientists is a bachelor's degree in their specialized field or concentration in engineering. Biomedical engineers typically need degrees in biomedical engineering; nuclear engineers should complete nuclear engineering programs; and electrical and electronics engineers need degrees in electrical or electronics engineering. For chemical engineers, however, relevant degree programs are offered in both chemical engineering or biomolecular engineering. According to the BLS, environmental engineers can have degrees in environmental engineering or related disciplines, such as chemical, civil or mechanical engineering. In degree programs like all of these, you can expect required core courses such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology, as well as courses more closely related to your major, such as materials science, electrical devices, thermodynamics or solid and fluid mechanics.

Licensing

The BLS reported that some engineering scientists, such as civil engineers and mechanical engineers are required to obtain a license in all U.S. states and the District of Columbia. However, according to the BLS, there are no state licensing requirements for biomedical engineers, chemical engineers, environmental engineers, nuclear engineers, electrical engineers and electronics engineers, unless they - like all engineers - provide services directly to the general public (as opposed to working as an employee for an organization). State mandated licensing requirements vary, but they usually involve meeting specific educational and work experience requirements, and passing an examination. Upon obtaining your license, you would receive designation as a Professional Engineer (PE).

What Employers Are Looking for

In addition to specific educational training, employers are also looking for candidates with practical work experience. This can be obtained through co-op or fellowship programs during your undergraduate studies. Here are just a few of the job listings for your profession that were posted May 2012:

  • An engineering firm in WY would like to hire an environmental scientist/engineer with a bachelor's in engineering, environmental science or physical sciences. You must have the ability to obtain a professional license. Solid multi-tasking, interpersonal and communication skills are also required. HAZWOPER 40-hour training a plus.
  • A consulting group in FL is looking for an electrical engineer that has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a Professional Engineer license in Florida. Successful candidates will have some practical work experience.
  • A food company in IL wants to hire a chemical engineer that has a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering; however, a degree in food science may be considered. You must have at least two years of experience in food industry product development. Experience in completing raw material and product specifications is also required. Additionally, you must have good project management skills.

How to Stand Out in the Field

State mandated licensure may not be required for your specific field; however, the BLS reports that obtaining a professional engineer license through your state may be advantageous for securing more job opportunities. Also, joining a trade association may be beneficial because of professional networking outlets made available through membership. There are numerous organizations in your profession at the national and regional level, such as the Society of Engineering Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Wisconsin Healthcare Engineers.

Alternative Career Paths

Electrical and Electronics Technician

If you would like to work in the field of electrical or electronics engineering; however, you don't want to commit to a bachelor's degree program, then you may want to consider becoming an electrical and electronics engineering technician. You would assist engineers in their design and development activities. The BLS reports that ordinarily, you would only need to obtain an associates degree. Also, the 2011 annual median salary for electrical and electronics engineering technicians was about $57,000. However, the employment rate for electronics engineering technicians is projected to increase by just two percent during the period of 2010 through 2020, according to the BLS.

Environmental Engineering Technician

If you'd prefer working with the environment, but again, having to complete a bachelor's degree program is a disincentive, then working as an environmental engineering technician may be an option for you. You would help environmental engineers with their fieldwork, lab duties and other responsibilities. The BLS reported than an associate's degree is the common requirement. Also, the expected job rate increase for your vocation during 2010 through 2020 is 24%, according to the BLS. However, the BLS also reported a 2011 annual median salary of around $45,000 for environmental engineering technicians, compared to $79,000 for environmental engineers.

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Featured Schools

ECPI University

  • Bachelor's - Electronics Engineering Technology
  • Software Development - Bachelor's
  • Associate's - Electronics Engineering Technology

What is your highest level of education?

University of Delaware

  • Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Engineering Technology

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Universal Technical Institute

  • Diesel Technology
  • Automotive Technology
  • NASCAR Technology

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Lincoln Tech

  • Electrical/Electronics

What year did you graduate High School / Receive GED?

Kaplan University

  • BS in Information Technology/Multiplatform Software Development
  • AAS in Information Technology - Multiplatform Software Development

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The Art Institutes

  • Software Development for Creative Technologies (BS)
  • Drafting Technology & Design (AS)

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • B.S. - Software Development With No Declared Minor or Concentration
  • B.S. - Software Development: Computer Programming Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Software Development

What is your highest level of education?