There’s steady work available for engineers in construction, whether you want to design buildings, roads, or mechanical systems. You need a bachelor’s degree to be an engineer, and an internship or co-op experience may be required.
In Kentucky, civil engineers are in demand, with expected job growth of 8.9 percent from 2016-2026. Civil engineers design infrastructure—roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment. They can specialize in different areas, such as geotechnology or transportation.
- Civil engineers: 8.9 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 2,847 to 3,100 positions. Average salary $80,505.
Environmental engineers are also in demand. Their work focuses on protecting the environment, properly disposing of waste and keeping water and air clean. They make sure construction projects follow environmental regulations.
- Environmental engineers: 7.6 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 407 to 438 positions. Average salary $74,885.
Mechanical engineering is a broad field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 22 percent of mechanical engineers work in architectural, engineering, and related services. Mechanical engineers can design, develop, build, and test mechanical systems in buildings, such as refrigeration and air-conditioning systems, machines like elevators and escalators, and material handling systems like conveyors.
- Mechanical engineers: 4.1 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 3,244 to 3,377 positions. Average salary $84,191.
Although the need for electrical engineers is expected to decrease slightly in the state, they still make up one of the larger occupational groups in Kentucky in engineering, and their average salary is among the highest. In construction, electrical engineers manage the design and construction of electrical systems.
- Electrical engineers: 1.4 percent decrease from 2016 to 2026, from 1,314 to 1,295 positions. Average salary $88,748.
If you go into engineering management, you can earn more money.
- Architectural and engineering managers: 2.3 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 1,999 to 2,045 positions. Average salary $115,196.
Drafters and Technicians
An associate degree can lead to a well-paid job as a drafter or engineering technician.
Drafters prepare detailed working diagrams, converting the designs of engineers into technical drawings. The Kentucky Community and Technical College System offers associate degree programs in computer-aided drafting and design.
Engineering technicians assist engineers with planning, designing, and building. Local KCTCS colleges offer associate degrees in engineering technology.
These careers are in demand in Kentucky:
- Electrical and electronics drafters: 12.0 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 457 to 512 jobs. Average salary $53,791.
- Architectural and civil drafters: 9.3 percent increase from 2026 to 2026, from 624 to 682 jobs. Average salary $46,713.
- Mechanical engineering technicians: 6.5 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 443 to 472 jobs. Average salary $49,042.
- Civil engineering technicians: 4.8 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 1,346 to 1,410 jobs. Average salary $46,551.
- Environmental engineering technicians: 4.6 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, 153 to 160 jobs. Average salary $47,948.
- Mechanical drafters: 4.0 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 804 to 836 jobs. Average salary $49,700.
Figures from Kentucky Occupational Outlook to 2026