Engineers are least likely to regret their college degree. Here’s why. 

A lot of American college graduates have regrets about their major. According to a Federal Reserve Survey, nearly 2 out of 5 would now choose a different field of study if given the chance. Not to mention, regret is higher among liberal arts majors. Nearly half of those who graduated with majors in humanities, arts, and social/behavior studies regretted their decision. 

Meanwhile, those who majored in STEM showed more satisfaction in their area of study, with engineering coming out on top! As an organization that constantly strives to inspire and shape the next generation of engineers, we at NJSPE were naturally ecstatic about this. Let’s break down a few factors that contribute to this satisfaction in engineering (and if you’re college-bound, why you should choose engineering as your major!)

Engineers make more money

We’ve seen time and time again that STEM majors are more likely to earn more in their careers, compared to the humanities. In this article by Washington Post, you’ll find that Engineers show some of the highest salaries, with the following areas of study all in the top 10 of earnings by college major: 

Now, money can be a deciding factor when considering any major. Let’s explore a few other reasons that might lead to engineers regretting their major less. 

The field offers tons of variety and opportunities 

Engineering is an exciting field that can provide graduates with a whole world of opportunities. It’s a great field that offers different pursuits you can follow based on any personal or career interests that you feel passionate about. In addition to some of the top earners in the field, some common engineering majors might include

When it really comes down to it, engineering can apply to virtually any field, because wherever there are problems, someone is needed to engineer a solution! 

STEM is on the rise 

STEM fields have been on the up and up for the past ten years, all the while many humanities fields are caught in a downward spiral. The number of graduates in engineering has increased over 50% since 2011. There are a couple reasons for this. Firstly, many young professionals sought more secure career prospects in the wake of the financial crisis. The nationwide pro-STEM campaign over the past several years undoubtedly factors in, especially as the humanities and arts come under fire for being low earning, ‘worthless’ degrees. 

Job security is another factor that contributes to American graduates regretting their major. It’s helpful to know that in the case of engineering, career opportunities within the industry are projected to grow in coming years. According to an article by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there should be over 139,000 new engineering jobs created by 2026 (compared with 2016).

What are your thoughts? 

What do you love about being a professional engineer? Do you ever wish you’d done something differently? Let us know your thoughts! NJSPE prides itself on promoting, serving, and representing New Jersey’s engineering professionals for the public’s benefit. Stay connected year-round as a member of NSPE – join today!


New Continuing Education Opportunity!

Mark your calendars! NJSPE is hosting a Continuing Education Webinar on September 23rd, 9am-12pm! This webinar offers 3 CPC credits for NJ Professional Engineers and PE’s in other states that accept NJSPE accredited programs. Gain valuable insight into the industry from our featured speakers, all the while fulfilling your CE requirements! Register now! 

PFAS and Public Water Systems (1 CPC)

This session discussing PFAS and public water systems will be led by James Peeples, fellow PE and Vice President of T&M Associates.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are widely used in products such as firefighting foams, waterproof clothes, and nonstick cookware. Called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down under typical environmental conditions, PFAS accumulate in soil and water and can persist in the human body once ingested. 

This session will include:

  • A short background on PFAS, and the reason they are so widespread in the environment
  • A discussion of the current state of PFAS regulation at the Federal and State level
  • Recent developments regarding PFAS breakdown and their impact on future PFAS work
  • PFAS treatment case studies for public water systems

Complementary Use of Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) and other Technologies for Accurate Assessment of Current, and Prediction of Future Performance of Concrete Bridge Decks (1 CPC)

This session will be led by Nenad Gucunski, Professor and Chairman of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rutgers University

Effective and economical management of bridges depend on the accurate assessment of their current condition and prediction of their future performance. Among all the bridge components, reinforced concrete decks, in most cases, deteriorate the fastest. The complexity of deterioration processes requires the application of multiple nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and other technologies to accurately describe the condition, and likely causes of deterioration. 

In this session, you’ll listen to an overview of the benefits stemming from periodical multi-NDE technology surveys for bridge management, especially from the use of rapid and automated data collection and analysis processes.

Virtual Design and Construction Methodologies (1 CPC)

This session will be led by Aditi Patel, fellow PE and Vice President of LiRo’s Virtual Design Construction & Operations Department.

Explore the use of Virtual Design and Construction methodologies in all phases of a project life cycle. Emerging technologies such as Reality Capture combined with Building Information Modeling could be successfully implemented in Design, Pre-Construction, Construction and Maintenance of facilities more efficiently, to reduce costs and increase accuracy of the information driving critical project decisions. 

This presentation will discuss:

  • The use of cutting-edge technology to help inform the design process
  • Getting stakeholder buy-in
  • Solving critical coordination challenges early on to prevent expensive errors later
  • Enhanced project controls
  • Closeout and handover workflows.

NJSPE members and government employees are offered discounted rates for this opportunity. Learn more about the webinar here and get registered today! 

More on Continuing Education 

The State Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors have outlined requirements for continuing education for license renewal for PE’s. For your convenience, NJSPE offers educational resources that include in-person, electronic, and in-office courses. NJSPE is committed to providing courses in and around the tri-state area that will cater to those with multiple licenses and differing state requirements. View our full course catalog here

We want to hear from you!

NJSPE is looking for suggestions for educational opportunities to add to our catalog. If you are interested in partnering with NJSPE for an educational session, please contact the NJSPE office and ask for Joanne Lombardi.

NJSPE prides itself on promoting, serving, and representing New Jersey’s engineering professionals for the public’s benefit. Stay connected year-round as a member of NSPE – join today!

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