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Engineering Salaries Inch Higher
October 2008

According to a new survey that outlines compensation ranges and trends in the engineering industry, the median income for civil engineers is $78,000 a year, which represents an increase from $77,000 in 2007. The median income for all fields of engineering combined is $85,000, a 7.6 percent increase from 2007. The survey, which was held from April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008, yielded nearly 15,000 responses from engineers across the country in a variety of fields and at all levels of practice.

Those survey respondents who are licensed professional engineers earned higher than average salaries, with a median of $92,100, and those with a professional engineers license and a second professional registration earned the highest salaries, with a median income of $106,675. Those engineers without professional licensing or certification earn significantly less, with a median annual income of $86,000.

The survey found that median income consistently increases with the increase in engineering experience. The median income for engineers with less than one year of experience is $53,000, whereas the median income for an engineer with more than 25 years of experience is $116,279–which represents a spread of 119 percent. Similarly, the median income increases with each additional level of education acquired. Survey participants holding a doctoral degree in engineering have a median income of $104,500, whereas those with only a bachelor’s degree in engineering have median income of $78,200. However, those holding a master’s degree in business administration (MBA), or an MBA in combination with another master’s level degree, earn more than those who solely hold a master’s degree in engineering.

Overall, the median income for female engineers is $69,000. While the survey results show that among female engineers with more the 25 years of experience, the median income is significantly lower than that of male engineers with similar experience–$106,534 and $117,000, respectively– the median incomes for female and male engineers with only 4 years of experience–$60,000 and $60,500, respectively–are much closer.

An engineer’s job function or the industry in which they work also has a significant impact on their compensation. Those working in executive, administrative and legal positions earn the highest median income, $129,000, while those working in drafting or estimation earn the lowest median income, $60,160. In the middle of the range are those in the areas of training/technical writing, production/quality management/maintenance and project management/engineering/operations, with median incomes from $84,750 to $93,500.

Regionally, engineers in California, Hawaii and Nevada are among the highest compensated, earning a median income of $94,900, while engineers in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho are among the lowest compensated, earning a median income of $73,000. The lowest median income by metropolitan area was found in Missoula, Mont., $56,000, and the highest was found in Syracuse, N.Y., $121,950. ##

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