Mechanical Engineering Salary

How much does a mechanical engineer make on average? Mechanical engineering salary numbers can vary depending on the number of years of experienced obtained from working in the field, qualifications and further education obtained, as well the type of work involved.

The field of mechanical engineering is extremely broad and therefor engineers can end up working in almost any sector of the economy. Through thorough research and their knowledge of physics, math, problem solving, as well as construction materials, mechanical engineers are able to design and test products and mechanical systems to benefit entire societies.

Apart from being well-paid, mechanical engineers have the benefit of choosing their employment from a diverse range of sectors within the discipline. Career paths in this field can lead to consultancy, management, industry, academia, working for the government, military research and even law.

To be qualified as a mechanical engineer, one must undergo between 4 to 5 years of study at a university and to be successful in his or her career, additional years need to be spent either in furthering education or obtaining training and work-based experience.

The average base mechanical engineering salary is around $66,000 per year. With further schooling, this number can go up to about $90,000 per year which is a very decent figure. However, work hours can be quite taxing and on an average, mechanical engineers work around 40 hours or more per week.

The exact figure that a mechanical engineer can earn will depend on which location (city and state) he is based in the United States, the amount of experience he has and the nature of the job. On average though, the salaries are similar across the board with all other engineering disciplines. There aren’t many career choices or professions out there that offer this kind of start up income without additional education coming into the picture.

Average Salary Statistics

In 2005, the average annual mechanical engineering salary was about $50,236 and that was if you graduated with just a bachelor’s degree. For individuals who held master degrees, that number in the same year was $59,880. Doctorate degrees had an average starting salary of $68,299 which was significantly higher.

That number has risen significantly since then. Looking at the BLS report (Bureau of Labor and Statistics), $77,020 was the average wage in May 2009,  where the top 10% of mechanical engineers were pulling in six-figure incomes at around $117,000. Statistics from the year of 2009 also revealed that most entry-level mechanical engineering positions enjoyed average earnings of $58,766 per year . The data from BLS also reveals that those employed by the government were in fact the highest paid, with average salaries of $91,560.

How about paid benefits? In a typical company, the benefits offered to an engineer would be the usual vacation and sick leave, but also included dental and health insurance, 401k or profit sharing. Sometimes bonuses would be paid out as well, due to work achievements or for developing a patented product.

Increasing the Threshold

One way to get a higher paying salary as a mechanical engineer is to acquire an advanced degree. Another is to acquire more industry experience and to pick up unique and sought-after skills on the job – in-house or third-party training provided by  employers also add up to push that salary threshold even higher.

Another option is to try and get into the high-paying sectors such as government research (they always have ample funding), aerospace, and computer companies that manufacture hardware.

Mechanical engineering has a lot to do with technological and scientific advancements. Therefor engineers often have to keep up to date with industry knowledge by taking courses or going back to school to learn about the latest concepts.  Many employers will even pay for their employees to further their education in order to get updated on new methods and to increase their work performance.

This procedure of constantly having to go through further schooling or training might be surprising to people outside of this profession, but anyone who has been through this career path will tell you that it is common practice. The profession itself is quite demanding and so it isn’t surprising that the mechanical engineering salary is as high as it is.