How Much Do Entry-Level Design Engineers Make in Annual Salary?

If you have an inquisitive nature, a creative side and a technical aptitude, then you might enjoy a career in design engineering. Some possible jobs include mechanical design engineer, electrical design engineer and civil design engineer. Read on to learn about these fields and salary expectations for entry-level positions. Schools offering Building Information Modeling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

Design engineers are responsible for creating technical plans and drawings, which are used to build a variety of products and structures. Depending on what area of engineering you specialize, you may also be responsible for researching projects, designing and developing electrical or mechanical structures, or estimating materials costs to construct city roads and power supplies.

Your salary as an entry-level design engineer will depend on several things, including experience, certification, area of industry and location. According to, entry-level engineers who specialized in design earned a median salary of $60,292 in September 2015. Some popular areas of engineering design in which you could concentrate include mechanics, electronics and civil engineering.

Important Facts About These Occupations

Mechanical EngineerElectrical EngineerCivil Engineer
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 5% 5% 20%
Required Education Bachelor's degree; graduate degree required for those interested in research Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree; graduate degree required to advance to a higher position
Licensure Professional Engineer (PE) license is required when working for the public PE license is voluntary PE license is required when serving publicly
Work Environment Offices or laboratories; some onsite work Offices; some onsite work Offices and construction sites
Similar Occupations Drafter, materials engineer, mathematician Biomedical engineer, electrical engineering technician, electrician Architect, civil engineering technician, surveyor

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Mechanical Design Engineers

If you enjoy developing large powerful machinery or robotics for power generating or manufacturing, you may like to work as a mechanical design engineer. You may design prototypes, mechanical tools or materials using computer-aided design (CAD) software. You'll use CAD software to test the dimensions and weight estimates of your ideas. reported in September 2015 that most entry-level mechanical design engineers earned a median of $60,773 per year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2014 that the architectural, engineering and related services industry offered mechanical engineers an average salary of $92,030 ( On the other hand, those working for scientific research and development services averaged $97,430.

Electrical Design Engineers

As an electrical design engineer, you might design control systems for industrial machinery, electrical systems for cars or airplanes and personal electronic devices. You may be required to have advanced knowledge of electrical circuits, computer programming and motor design. You may be able to find employment in several industries, including government research and national defense, automobile manufacturing and communications.

Entry-level electrical design engineers earned a median salary of $64,671, according to in September 2015. According to the BLS, the highest percentage of electrical engineers in general worked in the architectural, engineering and related services industry, where they earned an average wage of $94,930 as of May 2014.

Civil Design Engineers

A civil engineer is involved in designing major construction projects on behalf of a city, such as landfill design, road construction, water supply and concrete structures. Your work as a civil design engineer may frequently involve use of CAD software to design blueprints and construction drawings for large-scale projects. Depending on the project, you may be responsible for site grading and estimating material costs. According to the BLS, employment of civil engineers in general was expected to increase very rapidly between the years 2012-2022, in part due to projected population growth and civil repair or improvement projects.

Entry-level civil engineering designers earned a median wage of $50,901 in September 2015, according to The BLS reported that most civil engineers in general worked in the architectural, engineering and related services industry and earned an average wage of $88,710 in May 2014.

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