Even in a soft economy, years of schooling are paying off for many recent engineering graduates. Bachelor’s degrees in engineering fields attracted six of the top 10 average salary offers for members of the class of 2010-2011, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Topping the list were recent chemical engineering graduates, who drew an average salary offer of $66,886. Mechanical engineers reported the third highest average offer at $60,739, followed by electrical/electronics and communications engineers at $60,646.
Computer engineering majors attracted an average salary offer of $60,112, good for the fifth spot. Next was industrial/manufacturing engineering at $58,549, then systems engineering at $57,497.
According to Vita Como, director of the college’s Engineering Career Center, those national numbers are actually significantly lower that the offers most Cullen College students are receiving. Though hiring isn’t where it was five years ago, the petroleum industry presence in Houston has kept demand for engineering talent in this region high. “We’re booked solid with corporate recruiters. We’ve been full every day since the career fair,” she said.
Even with this demand, Como stressed that engineering students must gain some engineering work experience before entering the full-time job market. “One thing that as really been enforced is that students have to get an internship or coop. I don’t care if you have a 4.0 [grade point average]. If you’d don’t have experience, I can’t get you an interview.”
Students interested in attaining this work experience while still in school should visit the Engineering Career Center, she added.