Career Advancement for Engineers

Aug 13, 2018

Engineers work in many different industries. Engineers interested in expanding their careers may wish to apply their training and work experience towards positions in the areas of sales, forensic investigation, and management.

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Career Growth Opportunities for Engineers

Engineers work across a range of industries developing and testing products, structures, and computer systems. After working in the engineering field, some professionals may wish to seek opportunities for advancement. One option is to offer expert investigation and testimony as a forensic engineer. Another possibility is to take the technical knowledge gained as an engineer and become a sales engineer. Other engineers may consider management roles as an industrial production manager or an engineering manager. Information on these possibilities is presented below.

Job Title Median Salary Job Growth (2016-2026)* Education or Experience
Forensic Engineer $82,362 (2018)** 11% (civil engineers) Bachelor's degree, several years of engineering experience
Sales Engineer $98,720 (2017)* 7% Bachelor's degree and sales experience
Industrial Production Manager $100,580 (2017)* -1% Bachelor's degree and industrial production experience; Master's degree preferred
Engineering Manager $137,720 (2017)* 6% Bachelor's degree, several years of engineering experience

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **

Career Information

Forensic Engineer

One growth option for engineers to pursue is that of a forensic engineer. Forensic engineers have the responsibility of investigating the cause when a structure or product fails to function safely and has damaged property or caused injuries. Some forensic experts focus on projects or products at risk of failure in order to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. Forensic engineers might also communicate their findings to a company or a court as an expert, either through a written report or oral testimony. A minimum of a bachelor's degree and several years of experience in engineering are required; however, graduate certificate and master's degree programs focused on forensic engineering are available.

Sales Engineer

Another consideration for engineers wishing to advance is to undertake a role as a sales engineer. These professionals specialize in the sale of advanced technical products. They meet with customers to provide technical explanations regarding products and suggest products to meet a customer's needs. Sales engineers may work in conjunction with another salesperson. Some may plan design changes to products to help meet a customer's needs. Sales engineers typically hold a bachelor's degree in engineering and have experience in sales.

Industrial Production Manager

Engineers who enjoy working in the industrial field may wish to pursue a role as an industrial production manager. Industrial production managers ensure that the equipment within a plant is being utilized efficiently and safely in order to produce the goods that are required. They ensure that these products are produced on time and within budget and evaluate how to correct a situation if the products are defective. Industrial production managers must communicate orally and in writing with the workers in a plant and with upper-level management. A minimum of a bachelor's degree and experience in production is required; however, employers at larger plants prefer candidates with a master's degree in business administration.

Engineering Manager

Engineers who seek supervisory responsibilities may consider a role as an engineering manager. Engineering managers are in charge of planning for new buildings or products. They develop the budget for these projects and hire and supervise junior staff who will play a role in the projects. Engineering managers frequently collaborate with other management-level staff regarding the progress and planning of their work. Engineering managers must possess a minimum of a bachelor's degree in engineering; however, a master's degree in engineering management or business administration can make candidates more competitive for positions in this field.

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