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Engineering: One of the Highest Paid Majors

Although many college engineering programs take around six years to complete, they may be well worth the extra time and effort. Some of the highest average starting salaries are among engineers holding bachelor's degrees, reported the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even though earnings can vary significantly by specialty, industry, and education, those looking to work in the chemical, electrical, civil, and mechanical engineering industries can expect to be well paid.

Using chemistry, chemical engineers solve problems that concern the use or production of chemicals. They work with projects that deal with large-scale chemical manufacturing and design equipment, create processes, and supervise production. According to PayScale, the national average salary for a chemical engineer ranges from $59,725 to $87,265 annually. The average annual salary for new graduates with less than one year experience in the field ranges from $50,332 to $66,447, and after one to four years of experience they can expect to earn anywhere from $56,237 to $70,404.

Electrical engineers design, develop and test electrical equipment. The nature of their work focuses of the generation of power supply, as they specialize in power systems and engineering and electrical equipment manufacturing. According to PayScale, the national average salary for an electrical engineer ranges from $55,845 to $81,016 annually. The average annual salary for new graduates with less than one year experience in the field ranges from $48,934 to $61,917, and after one to four years of experience they can expect to earn anywhere from $53,636 to $67,522.

Civil engineers design things that help people function in everyday life, such as buildings, airports, roads, tunnels, bridges, and water supply and sewage systems. Their job requires them to consider factors like construction costs and possible environmental hazards that may interfere with or affect the quality of the project. According to PayScale, the national average salary for a civil engineer ranges from $53,144 to $79,288 annually. The average annual salary for new graduates with less than one year experience in the field ranges from $42,276 to $53,745, and after one to four years of experience they can expect to earn anywhere from $47,844 to $60,939.

Mechanical engineers design and manufacture mechanical devices that either use or produce power. They work with power-producing machines, such as electric generators and internal combustion engines, as well as power-using machines like material-handling systems, industrial production equipment, and machine tools. According to PayScale, the national average salary for a mechanical engineer ranges from $52,448 to $73,446 annually. The average annual salary for new graduates with less than one year experience in the field ranges from $47,850 to $59,797, and after one to four years of experience they can expect to earn anywhere from $50,983 to $64,516.

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