Product Design Engineer: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for product design engineers. Get the facts about education requirements, job duties, and salary information to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Graphic Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Product Design Engineer?

Product design engineers work as part of a team to design, develop, and test new products. Their duties might include researching the product's target audience, sketching out ideas, and using computer software to further develop designs. They will also work with other professionals, such as manufacturers and other engineers. A larger part of a product design engineer's job is coordinating and communicating with clients to ensure their specifications are met. They must also ensure the new product is both safe and as efficient as possible. The range of products they design is vast, including consumer electronics, furniture, and sporting goods. The following chart gives you an overview about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree required, master's degree helpful
Education Field of Study Engineering, industrial design or related field
Key Responsibilities Read blueprints and schematics, make prototypes, test and fix issues, perform engineering calculations, manage technical aspects of products
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 2% for all commercial and industrial designers*
Median Salary (2015) $67,130 for all commercial and industrial designers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Become a Product Design Engineer?

Your responsibilities will depend on your level of experience. When you begin your career, you will likely work under a supervisor learning how to follow common practices and procedures. As you gain more experience, you will be allowed to use more creativity and have more freedom.

As part of the product engineering process, you will read blueprints and schematics, perform engineering calculations, make prototypes, coordinate the life cycle of the product, test and debug issues, monitor manufacturing and assembly processes, and brief management on technical aspects of products. You will need to be versed in product safety requirements and industry standards. Additionally, you may need hardware design and software programming skills, as well as be familiar with engineering computer programs. Having the ability to communicate with clients is also a good skill to have.

What Kind of Education Do I Need?

You will probably need at least a bachelor's degree in an engineering field before you can work as a product design engineer. You can choose from one of several different types of engineering degrees, depending on your particular field of interest. A Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering should teach you the skills to help design, create and test consumer products as well as industrial machinery. A degree in electrical engineering can help you obtain a job creating electrical products such as computers, tablets and other technological products.

Getting an internship while in school or just after you graduate may help you gain the experience needed to get a job. To move up in your career you may need a Master of Science in Engineering degree. Some schools offer product-engineering programs that combine design and engineering skills as well as marking research. These integrated programs combine the human need and value aspects of innovative product design with the technical know-how to build new products.

How Much Money Can I Make?

Your salary will depend on your experience. If you have 0-2 years of experience you could make a median salary of $64,471, according to Salary.com in 2017. The lowest 10% with under two years of experience made $54,656 or less. With 2-4 years of experience, the median salary in 2017 was $77,701, and with 4-6 years of experience it was $97,529.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Those who want to become a product design engineer might also want to consider some similar careers which require at least a bachelor's degree in a related field. Art directors work in a wide range of industries, from magazines to movie productions. They are responsible for the look and layout of finished products. Industrial engineers maximize the efficiency of production lines by implementing systems which integrate workers, machines, and information. Another option might be a career as a graphic designer. Graphic designers use computer software to create images for a wide range of uses, from advertisements to company reports.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Independence University

    Independence University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Independence University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Indiana Wesleyan University

    Indiana Wesleyan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Indiana Wesleyan University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Metropolitan State College of Denver

    Campus Locations:

    • Colorado: Denver
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Virginia: Blacksburg
  • University of Michigan

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: Ann Arbor
  • Western Washington University

    Campus Locations:

    • Washington: Bellingham
  • University of Louisiana

    Campus Locations:

    • Louisiana: Lafayette