Engineer Salaries Remain High Despite Concern Over Shortages


Despite recent concerns about a potential shortage of engineering graduates and the outlook for future engineering jobs, The Engineering Income & Salary Survey, sponsored by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), shows entry-level engineers commanding salaries above many of their peers in other professions.

“We’ve heard the horror stories about a potential shortage of U.S. engineering graduates due in part to a perceived decline of job opportunities for engineers,” said NSPE Executive Director Al Gray, Ph.D., P.E., CAE. “But the truth is that engineering continues to be a viable and in-demand profession, and engineering graduates can expect good starting salaries and job opportunities well into the future.”

According to the survey, the average salary for an engineer with less than one year of experience is $46,059. Engineers with one to two years of experience averaged a salary of $48,451. Other factors, such as engineering discipline, geographic location, education and licensure status can also affect entry-level salaries. Licensed engineers with less than one year of experience make an average salary of $51,383 while those licensed with one to two years of experience had starting salaries averaging $55,878.

Entry-level engineers aren’t the only ones enjoying stable salary numbers. A matched sample of over 3,000 engineers was compared from 2004 to 2005. This group experienced a 6.5% increase in average base salaries from $72,779 to $78,211. Total annual income figures (including bonuses and incentives) for the matched sample showed a 7.6% increase from $78,211 in 2004 to $84,130 in 2005. For the more than 50 years in which NSPE has been conducting the salary survey, there has been a consistent increase in engineering salaries from year to year.

Other interesting findings to date:

  • Engineers in the South Central (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana) and Pacific Southwest (California, Nevada and Hawaii) regions earn more than engineers in other parts of the country. In the Pacific Southwest states, engineers earn an average of $87,421 a year, while those in South Central states earn $85,470. By contrast, engineers in the UpperMountain (Idaho, Wyoming and Montana) region earn an average annual salary of $71,513.


  • Nuclear engineers have the highest average annual salary of all disciplines at $119,643, followed by petroleum engineers at $117,004 and fire-protection engineers at $93,343.


  • The average salary of executive-level engineers has declined from $134,194 in 2004 to $129,724 in 2005.


  • The average salary for engineers in training (EIT) is up from $55,302 in 2004 to $56,480 in 2005.

Complimentary reports with salary data for an individual engineer’s level of expertise and geographic region are currently available. Engineers are also welcome to purchase a full subscription to The Engineering Income & Salary Survey .

Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
How to use IPD; 2017 Commissioning Giants; CFDs and harmonic mitigation; Eight steps to determine plumbing system requirements
2017 MEP Giants; Mergers and acquisitions report; ASHRAE 62.1; LEED v4 updates and tips; Understanding overcurrent protection
Integrating electrical and HVAC for energy efficiency; Mixed-use buildings; ASHRAE 90.4; Wireless fire alarms assessment and challenges
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me