What are the highest and lowest engineering salaries that I could earn?
Engineering salaries will vary throughout your career, depending upon your area of practice, education, years of experience and level of licensure or certification. The average engineering salary will increase by approximately 9% from bachelors to masters degrees and by the same percentage from a masters of engineering to a doctorate in engineering.
Likewise, the difference in salary between someone with an Engineer in Training certificate and the advanced Professional Engineering License can be as high as 40%.
A mechanical engineer with a bachelors degree will typically start at a salary of $43,000 to $79,000 depending upon geographic location. That salary should increase $5,000 to $10,000 for every 5 years of experience thereafter.
For an experienced senior mechanical engineer with a masters degree, earnings in the range of $71,000 to $125,000 can be expected. Similarly, a senior electrical engineer is likely to earn $15,000 to $30,000 more than an engineering starting salary, with a possible increase of over $40,000 over 10 years.
A civil engineer with a bachelors degree will earn an annual salary in the range of $43,000 to $80,000. With a promotion to senior engineer, engineering pay will increase to the $63,000 to $105,000 range. Someone graduating with an associates degree in engineering online or onsite may earn in the $25,000 to $73,000 range.
In addition to my engineering salary, will I earn benefits?
Benefits packages will depend upon your area of specialization and where you are in your career. Most engineers receiving a full-time salary for engineering will start with a basic benefits package that will include medical coverage and paid time off, which usually includes vacation days, holidays, personal time and sick time. Engineers with 1 to 4 years of experience will typically earn 2 weeks of paid vacation time, whereas those with 10 years or more will likely get 3 or more weeks.
A more comprehensive benefits package may include vision and dental insurance, life insurance and disability insurance. Some may also offer flexible spending accounts, which allow you to set aside pretax dollars to pay for insurance premiums, medical expenses or childcare expenses.
Companies that are particularly committed to employee wellness may offer Employee Assistance Programs that offer education and life coaching to help you reach health goals such as quitting smoking or losing weight.
Other added benefits can include 401(k) or other retirement plans, stock ownership plans and long-term medical and dental for retirees. While not as common, some companies offer tuition assistance for continuing education, as well as professional development training and resources.
Will I always earn a salary in my engineering job?
Whether you will be offered an engineering salary or hourly pay will depend upon the policies of your employer and your position within the company. It is beneficial for you to understand the benefits and drawbacks to both pay schedules.
Most full-time engineering positions will pay a biweekly or monthly salary based upon a set work schedule. However, your first engineering degree salary may be a part-time or contract position that will pay you hourly and will not offer a comprehensive benefits package.
Contract positions are often available to software engineers who are given short-term assignments to assist companies with major technology implementations. These positions can range anywhere from 1 month to a year or more, and may lead to a full-time position.
While a full-time salary is likely your goal, some contract positions will pay a higher hourly rate because of the lack of benefits. In addition, some hourly positions, also referred to as non-exempt positions, may allow you to earn overtime pay at a higher rate if you exceed your scheduled number of hours. Someone in an advanced or managerial position will likely work a salaried position, where they may be expected to work longer hours for no overtime pay.