What Is the Typical Salary of a Mechanical Engineer?

Have you always enjoyed tinkering with things or coming up with creative ideas for new technology? Do you like helping out society through innovating changes? Are you interested in a high paying career? Read on to learn more about the job outlook for mechanical engineers and how much they typically earn. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

Engineers that are employed in the creation process of machines are referred to as mechanical engineers. In this role, you'll perform duties like manufacturing, testing, developing, researching and designing different mechanical devices like engines, tools and machines. Innovations like air-conditioning equipment, refrigeration units, elevators, robots, gas turbines, combustion engines and electric generators can all be contributed to mechanical engineering.

Important Facts About Mechanical Engineers

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Licensure Required nationally; Done in two stages: Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) then Principles of Practice of Engineering exam
Key Skills Active listening, creativity, problem solving, mathematical proficiency, mechanical dexterity
Similar Occupations Architectural and engineering managers, drafters, materials engineers, mathematicians, mechanical engineering technicians, natural sciences manager, petroleum engineers, physicists and astronomers, sales engineers

Salary Overview

In May 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that mechanical engineers had a mean annual wage of $87,140, which made the mean hourly wage $41.89 (www.bls.gov). The median hourly salary was $39.93, while the median annual income was $83,060. Mechanical engineers in the 90th percentile earned $60.79 or more per hour and annual incomes of $126,430 or higher.

Salary by Industry

According to the BLS, the top paying industry in May 2014 was oil and gas extraction, which had an annual mean salary of $153,940 or an hourly mean wage of $74.01. Other top paying industries included waste treatment and disposal, remediation and other waste management services, and support activities for air transportation. The field with the highest level of employment was architectural and engineering services, which had an hourly mean salary of $44.24 and an annual mean income of $92,030.

Salary by Location

The BLS reported in May 2014 that the states with the highest average wages included Alaska, New Mexico, California, Texas and Louisiana. Salaries in these states ranged from $98,390 to $123,660 annually. Some of the states with the lowest pay included North Dakota, Ohio, Arkansas, Kansas and Iowa. The BLS reported that states with the lowest average wages paid between $54,710 and $77,460 annually.

Salary by Experience

In September 2015, PayScale.com reported that mechanical engineers with zero to five years of experience earned $46,778-$80,609 annually. Those with five to ten years of experience earned $57,267-$97,324, and those with ten to twenty years of experience earned $60,520-$118,292. Engineers with more than twenty years of experience made $63,270-$144,051.

Job Outlook

The BLS reported that mechanical engineers are expected to have a five percent job growth from 2012-2022. This employment growth is ranked slower than the average when compared to other vocations. The items created by mechanical engineers are constantly desired and improvement is always necessary, so that demand creates new job opportunities. Biotechnology, nanotechnology and materials science are three fields expected to see new employment opportunities. Other career options include getting an additional engineering specialty and applying your mechanical engineering towards another career.

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