ENGINEERING SALARIES KEEP GROWING

February 20, 2020


I graduated from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1966.  Even though I entered the Air Force I did interview several prospective companies.  All were hiring and I was offered jobs upon successful graduation.  One dream job was working for Pratt-Whitney Aircraft.  My offer, $12,000 per year plus benefits.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  $12 grand, are you kidding me?  How will I spend all of that money?  Well, times have changed.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, (BLS), jobs for engineering graduates are expanding, and so are salaries.  If you are an engineer or an engineering student, this is great news.

The BLS figures are similar to results from the Design News study presented in the article, Engineering Career & Salary Survey – Are You Getting Paid Enough?. The average salary in our survey was $98,000, which is quite a bit higher than the average engineering salary of $85,000. The difference is likely because the Design News respondents included a preponderance of electrical and mechanical engineers, whose salaries tend to be higher than the average engineering salary. 

The BLS data shows that engineering jobs are projected to grow three percent (3%) from 2017 to 2024, adding about 67,200 new jobs. The growth rate is slower than the average for all occupations, in part, because several technician occupations in the group are projected to decline from 2017 to 2024 as improvements in technology, such as design software and surveying equipment, make workers more productive.

Let’s take a look at salary levels for various engineering classifications. Here we go.

Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians

Entry-level education: Associate’s degree

Median pay: $66,180

Aerospace Engineers

Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Median pay: $107,830

Agricultural Engineers

Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Median pay: $75,090

Biomedical Engineers

Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Median pay: $86,220

Chemical Engineers

Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Median pay: $97,360

Civil Engineering Technicians

Entry-level education: Associate’s degree

Median pay: $49,260 

Civil Engineers

Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Median pay: $82,220

Computer Hardware Engineers

Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Median pay: $111,730

Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians

Entry-level education: Associate’s degree

Median pay: $61,130 

Electrical and Electronic Engineers

Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Median pay: $95,230

Electro-mechanical Technicians

Entry-level education: Associate’s degree

Median pay: $53,340

Environmental Engineering Technicians

Entry-level education: Associate’s degree

Median pay: $48,650

Environmental Engineers

Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Median pay: $84,560

Health and Safety Engineers

Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Median pay: $84,600

Industrial Engineering Technicians

Entry-level education: Associate’s degree

Median pay: $53,780 

Industrial Engineers

Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Median pay: $83,470

Materials Engineers

Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Median pay: $91,310

Mechanical Engineering Technicians

Entry-level education: Associate’s degree

Median pay: $53,910

Mechanical Engineers

Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Median pay: $83,590

Mining and Geological Engineers

Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Median pay: $94,040

Nuclear Engineers

Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Median pay: $102,950

Petroleum Engineers

Entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree

Median pay: $129,990

CONCLUSIONS:  Trust me on this one, an engineering degree from a four-year accredited college or university is a REAL commitment and sometimes a slog.  If you can tolerate the long days and sometimes sleepless nights and do graduate, you can see that “sheep skin” really pays off.  I would say—stay the course. 

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