Discover the four main types of engineering, with a list of new engineering career options to try. You’re guaranteed a non-boring life when you work in engineering!
The four main types of engineering career
In the past, engineering was divided into chemical, mechanical, civil and electrical engineering. These were then divided into sub-groups. Let’s look at the four main types. Then we’ll cover the greatly expanded range of engineering career options available today…
£29,000 – £60,000 a year (UK average)
Chemical engineers are sometimes known as ‘universal engineers’ because they know a broad range of stuff and have their fingers in all kinds of career pies. For example, the Nike sportswear development department is full of chemical engineers helping to create space-age fabrics. Chemical engineers research and design the machines, chemicals and activities which help create stuff from raw materials. Chemical engineers even help design ice-cream.
£24,000 – £80,000 a year (UK average)
Civil engineers are like SimCity but in real life. They plan and manage mega building projects – anything from airports to statement skyscrapers and entire new towns. If you want to be able to walk past a city attraction and tell your friend “I made that happen”, you could think about becoming a civil engineer.
£20,000 – £60,000 a year (UK average)
Would you like to change the world, improve lives and save the planet? Would you also like to make your tired old phone scratch-free again? As an electrical engineer, dreaming up and making all kinds of electrical equipment is what you do. You don’t need a degree to get into electrical engineering, either. You can start out as an electrical engineering technician then train to become a fully qualified engineer when you’re ready.
£22,000 – £55,000 a year (UK average)
Mechanical engineers have the very special skill of designing machinery and mini-machinery-bits (components, in other words). You’ll find machinery everywhere these days, so mechanical engineers are needed in almost any industry you can think of, from energy to healthcare.
More types of engineering to develop your career today
Remember, there are lots of engineering jobs you can do without a degree, so don’t let education hold you back in your career choices.
- Aerospace engineering
- Agricultural engineering
- Audio engineering
- Automotive engineering
- Biomedical engineering
- Broadcast engineering
- Computer engineering
- Design engineering
- Energy engineering (from petroleum to alternative fuels)
- Environmental engineering
- Food science engineering
- Geological and geophysical engineering
- Maintenance engineering
- Manufacturing engineering
- Marine engineering
- Materials engineering
- Mining engineering
- Nanoengineering (engineering on a tiny scale with components as small as several atoms)
- Nuclear engineering
- Rail engineering
- Structural engineering
- Telecoms engineering
… And that’s just for starters.
Engineering affects everything we do, from using phones to travelling and wearing clothes. That’s why there are so many types of engineering apart from the big 4 to choose from…
More engineering careers info:
- Engineering career stories and advice
- Engineering jobs you can do without a degree
- See all engineering careers
- Aged 14-24? Boost your engineering CV with free life skills training