Thermodynamics Engineer Employment Information

Thermodynamics is the study of heat and energy transfer, dynamics and conversions. Learn what it takes to become a thermodynamics engineer, and find out about job duties and alternative careers.

Career Definition for Thermodynamics Engineers

A thermodynamics engineer applies the theory of thermodynamics to many types of mechanical systems. This theory involves the laws of heat distribution, heat flow and heat conversion. Thermodynamics is taught in most engineering degree programs, including civil, mechanical and chemical engineering. Because of this, thermodynamics engineers typically have a degree in and work in a specific field of engineering and apply thermodynamics as needed.

Thermodynamics engineers can find employment in several industries. Chemical manufacturing companies, the aerospace industry, manufacturers of mechanical parts and engines, electronics and electrical engineering companies and industrial manufacturing plants might all seek the services of a thermodynamics engineer.

Education Bachelor's degree or master's degree in the field
Job Skills Chemistry knowledge, problem solving, mathematics proficiency, physics knowledge, mechanical aptitude
Median Salary $92,220 (2017) for all engineers
Career Outlook (2016-2026) 8% growth for all engineers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A bachelor's or master's degree in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, environmental engineering, aerospace engineering, civil engineering or biological engineering can prepare students to pursue a career as a thermodynamics engineer. Core courses in nearly all college and university engineering programs include those in heat transfer and thermodynamics.

Skills Required

A thermodynamics engineer should have a firm grasp of mathematical concepts and laws of physics and be mechanically inclined. An understanding of chemistry can be helpful. Problem-solving skills are also essential for success as a thermodynamics engineer.

Career and Economic Outlook

Thermodynamics engineers are generally schooled in a specific area of engineering, and thus career and outlook data is separated by type of engineering. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities in all engineering fields are expected to grow from 6% to 15% during the 2016-2026 decade, with the general engineering field having an overall outlook of 8% growth. In 2017, the median annual salary for engineers in general was $92,220, according to the BLS.

Alternative Career Options

Related careers can be:

Mechanical Engineering Technician

Mechanical engineering technicians assist mechanical engineers with designing, building and using products or machines. A 2-year degree is the typical education requirement. In May 2017, the BLS reported that these technicians earned a median salary of $55,360. The BLS projects that this career field will grow at an average pace of 5% during the 2016-2026 decade.

Thermodynamics Physicist

Those interested in the field of thermodynamics but who prefer physics to engineering may want to explore the job of thermodynamics physicist. Physicists develop theories and conduct studies and experiments to research their theories. They typically need a Ph.D., and most work for research organizations, the federal government or for colleges and universities. The BLS reported in May 2017 that physicists earned a median salary of $118,830. The BLS projects that job opportunities for physicists, including thermodynamics physicists, will grow by 14%, faster than average, from 2016 to 2026.

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