Alternative Careers for Engineers

People looking for a career that requires logical thinking and technical skills may enjoy working as an engineer, but there are also many other options that require those skills. Read on to learn more about the job description and career outlook for several of these options.

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Alternative Career Options for Engineers

Those interested in engineering can utilize their education and experience in a career that is information-centered or technical. Five alternative careers are highlighted below.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2014-2024)*
Physicist $115,870 8%
Mathematician $105,810 21%
Postsecondary Teacher of Engineering $97,530 13%
Sales Engineer $100,000 7%
Drafter $53,480 -3%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Alternative Careers for Engineers


Those interested in working as an engineer may also enjoy working as a physicist because of the shared focus on research and design. As a physicist, you would focus on how different elements interact in the context of time, space, energy, and matter. Your job responsibilities may include formulating theories and performing experiments to test them, obtaining funding through grants, designing equipment or software, and sharing the results of your research through publication or conferences. You will need a Ph.D to work in research or educational institutions, though a bachelor's degree may prepare you for government positions.


People interested in engineering may also be interested in a career as a mathematician because they both require analytical and technical skills. Mathematicians utilize math skills on a daily basis. Their job responsibilities may include creating new ideas for subjects like algebra, relying on data to make sound business decisions, and staying current on trends in your field through scholarly journals or attending conferences. Mathematicians can work for the federal government or in scientific research or development services and usually need a master's degree.

Postsecondary Teacher of Engineering

Those interested in passing on their knowledge and experience may want to pursue a career as a postsecondary teacher of engineering. You will serve on the faculty of a college or university. As a postsecondary teacher, you will design the course material, instruct and advise students, and ensure you are current on research in your field. Postsecondary teachers may also perform research and publish their findings or serve on university/college committees, such as finance or hiring. Postsecondary teachers usually need a Ph.D.

Sales Engineer

A career as a sales engineer may appeal to those interested in engineering because of the similar focus on technological products and how they function. Sales engineers need a strong background and understanding of the products they sell. Their responsibilities include meeting with clients and conducting presentations or sales demonstrations, interfacing with the sales department to communicate customer needs, assisting clients select products that meet their needs, and following up with clients to ensure products are working properly. Sales engineers usually work for merchant wholesalers or manufacturing companies and typically need have a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field.


Those interested in engineering might want to consider a career in drafting because it also focuses on product or structure design. As a drafter, you would collaborate with architects or engineers and turn their designs into technical drawings. Utilizing computer programs, they use their engineering knowledge to finalize designs and outline the specifications and materials needed for the finished product. Most drafters work for architectural or engineering firms and need a postsecondary certificate or associate's degree.

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