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How Much Do Engineers Typically Make?

Answering the question 'how much do engineers make?' requires examining several factors, including the kind of engineer. Here we discuss some of the variations and explore a few examples in depth.

How Much Do Engineers Make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many engineers make upwards of $80,000 annually. However, the salaries for engineers vary greatly based on several factors but primarily depending on the type of engineer. For example, the yearly salary of an automotive engineer is different than that of an audio engineer. Explore some of the salaries for various kinds of engineers in the table below and then read on to learn about other factors in salary variation.

Type of EngineerMedian Annual Salary (2018)*
Environmental Engineers$87,620
Aerospace Engineers$115,220
Chemical Engineers$104,910
Biomedical Engineers$88,550
Electrical and Electronics Engineers$99,070
Civil Engineers$86,640
Mechanical Engineers$87,370
Nuclear Engineers$107,600
Petroleum Engineers$137,170
Sales Engineers$101,420

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Additional Engineer Salary Variation

In addition to the kind of engineer, factors such as industry, employer, work experience, location and certifications/skillsets also play a role in engineering salaries. Below we compare a few engineering salaries from different fields looking at variations in industries, location, and experience.

Mechanical Engineer Salary

The BLS reported that the average annual salary for mechanical engineers was $92,800 in 2018. In the same year, mechanical engineers who worked in the oil and gas extraction industry made the highest average salary of $126,880, and those in waste treatment and disposal made the next highest average salary of $120,200. Some of the highest paying states for mechanical engineers include New Mexico, California, Maryland, and Alaska, which had the highest average salary of $128,690 for mechanical engineers.

Another website, PayScale.com, examined the differences of entry-level engineer salary across the various fields of engineering. The website reported that the average entry-level mechanical engineer salary was $61,538, as of September 2019. They also reported that the salary for these engineers is expected to increase with years of work experience.

Electrical Engineer Salary

In May 2018, the BLS reported that the average annual salary for an electrical engineer was $101,600. The highest paying industries for this kind of engineer were oil and gas extraction with an average salary of $126,610 and support activities for mining with an average of $126,140. Alaska was once again the highest paying state for electrical engineers with an average salary of $119,130. Other top-paying states for these engineers included New Jersey and Vermont.

Payscale.com reported that the average salary for an entry-level electrical engineer was $64,936. This average salary was accurate as of September 2019. The website also noted that salaries were expected to increase with years of experience.

Biomedical Engineer Salary

The average biomedical engineering salary was $95,090 as of 2018, per the BLS. The top-paying industries for these engineers included computer systems design and related services with an average salary of $120,190 and semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing with an average of $112,410. Students considering becoming a biomedical engineer may try to work in states like Arizona, Massachusetts, or Connecticut where salaries are among the highest in the country. Minnesota offered the highest average salary for biomedical engineers at $114,380.

According to PayScale.com, entry-level biomedical engineers made an average salary of $60,958 in September 2019. Pay by experience was reported to increase for these engineers.