(BPT) - Many recent engineering graduates are reaping the benefits of a flourishing job market for specializations within the growing field. Engineering occupations are expected to grow by more than 10 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The nation’s aging infrastructure is, at least in part, spurring the growth as engineers will design and implement new pollution control systems, water systems and roads. Growth in engineering fields is outpacing the expected growth rate for any other occupation.
While engineering occupations overall will be adding jobs, certain types of engineers will be in greater demand than others. For example, employment of biomedical engineers is expected to grow 62 percent from 2010 to 2020, the BLS predicts. Biomedical engineers create solutions that help hospitals, universities and research facilities improve the quality of patient care. With changing healthcare regulations and the aging population in the United States needing more medical care, the demand for biomedical engineers will continue to grow.
Healthcare is one of several industries seeking skilled engineering program graduates. The manufacturing sector also is seeking candidates with engineering backgrounds. During the past three years, U.S. manufacturing has added more than 530,000 jobs. However, some manufacturers report that job candidates are lacking the technical skills required for these new positions. The solution lies in more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, according to a recent Joint Economic Committee study.
STEM jobs are projected to grow 7 percent faster than non-STEM occupations through 2018, according to “STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future,” a 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“In order for students to compete in the global workforce, they must command technical skills and knowledge to succeed in rapidly changing industries,” says Dr. Ahmed Naumaan, dean of the College of Engineering and Information Sciences at DeVry University. “It is imperative that educators provide teaching and tools that prepare graduates for these technical, in-demand jobs.”
DeVry University follows this advice by offering degree programs in areas of engineering technology that help prepare students for job opportunities, ranging from electronics engineering to biomedical engineering to computer engineering. Through these programs, students gain the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill positions in computer-integrated manufacturing, product development and support and quality assurance.
As demand for engineers with STEM skills grows, pressing global issues are placing added pressure on unique specializations. Environmental and computer engineers, for example, are needed to handle complex issues such as climate change and energy exploration. The need to bring information technology to the power industry requires the technical and critical thinking skills of an engineer. With this demand, computer engineers can command impressive starting salaries of more than $70,000.The average salary for recent engineering graduates is more than $62,000, with job growth across several industries, including technology, healthcare, education and manufacturing, according to a new report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
As the global economy continues to evolve, the importance of such professionals with education in renewable energy will continue to rise. As more fields depend on graduates with engineering and technology backgrounds for continued growth, graduates of related degree programs will remain more likely to find full-time, stable employment, and in many cases will be compensated with higher salaries.