Top Careers for Engineers Outside of Engineering

Mark Koschmeder
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For some engineering professionals, technical jobs hold minimal appeal. If you're educated in engineering but looking for a career in another field, it's a good idea to consider jobs that use your existing expertise but expose you to different industries. Whether you are a mid-career professional or a new graduate, your engineering skills can be a valuable asset in a nonengineering position.

One of the top nonengineering jobs for engineers is technical sales. Technical sales professionals sell equipment to engineering firms, manufacturers, and research and development companies. Often, the equipment is complex, expensive, and industry specific. For a successful salesperson dealing in expensive products, the earning potential is considerably higher than standard technical jobs in the engineering field.

Unlike traditional sales jobs, technical sales positions require that the employee have an in-depth knowledge of the product and a comprehensive understanding of its applications. Because engineering professionals have extensive background knowledge of how a product is used, and its practical limitations, they are better able to communicate to customers how the product will solve problems or improve throughput on the manufacturing floor.

For engineering professionals with a four-year degree, teaching is an ideal career alternative to standard technical jobs. An engineering education translates well to teaching a wide range of subjects, including math, science, robotics, and computer programming. A teaching job is a suitable option for people who are highly skilled in working with those with varying levels of expertise.

The teaching options for engineers are wide and varied, depending on education and experience. If you prefer to start with basics, a teaching certificate will give you the freedom to work at the elementary or high school level. With a master's degree or PhD in education or engineering, you can teach at the college level. For people who prefer to stay within the industry, many companies need instructors for training programs directed toward people in technical jobs. Instructors conduct training in new technologies like robotic automation, new computer systems, and updated methodologies. If you have experience in technologies like 3-D printing, which are set to revolutionize the prototyping process, you can parlay it into a new job.

If you have an engineering degree and an interest in developing countries, international development positions may be a good fit. International development professionals work in a wide range of areas, from designing appropriate technologies to creating strategic plans for refugee relocation. The analytical and organizational skills gained from an engineering education translate well to work in developing or war-torn countries. People who have worked in technical jobs may also find it easier to spot simple solutions to common problems, like water procurement and basic transportation issues.

It is a common misconception that engineering professionals are limited to technical jobs, but numerous options exist for alternate career paths. By finding creative ways to use your existing skill set, you can find success and satisfaction in other industries and fields.

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