Engineering students see big opportunities, big salaries


Engineering students see big opportunities, big salaries

With so many students preparing to graduate midyear this winter, there is a buzz on college campuses as many anticipate finding their first job out of school. And if you're getting a degree in mechanical engineering like Alabama student David Avery, your prospects are looking pretty good.

According to NBC affiliate News 15, Avery is one of several students hoping to soon hit the workforce with the right training to land him the engineering dream job he always wanted.

"There's a big difference in pay for engineers without experience and ones with experience," said Avery, a junior at the University of South Alabama.

Avery's prospects may be better than his peers because of this experience he spoke of. This, coupled with the second degree he is working on now, will likely make him an attractive candidate to some of the top engineering firms, like Safran.

"This region has a strong future in aerospace; it has a strong workforce and very up to date skills," Safran CEO Bruno Bernard recently stated in response to becoming the first Alabama aerospace supplier to aerospace manufacturing company Airbus, which recently announced plans to build a plant in the U.S.

Engineering job opportunities are only expected to rise, considering the impressive growth that has been seen in engineering-related fields, like aerospace, in the south. Bernard said he is excited to start hiring engineers to build the parts Airbus will use in its aircraft. Soon, he expects to bring on the first 50 engineers with starting salaries of $70,000.

"Our young people finish high school and leave and go away to school and when they get ready to come home, there's nothing there for them," Mobile County Commission President Merceria Ludgood said. "I think this is a big lick against that."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are several types of engineering jobs, including those in the aerospace, agricultural, biomedical, chemical, industrial and petroleum sectors, that are in demand and offer high pay. Currently, petroleum and computer software engineers offer some of the highest salaries. In 2010, the median salary for computer engineers was just under $100,000, while the average salary for petroleum engineers was about $114,000.

As for mechanical engineers, like Avery, employment in the sector is expected to grow 9 percent through 2020.