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Mechanical Engineering Overview - The Field - Preparation -
Day in the Life
- Earnings - Employment - Development - Career Path Forecast - Professional Organizations

Earnings for engineers vary significantly by specialty, industry, and education. Even so, as a group, engineers earn some of the highest average starting salaries among those holding bachelor's degrees.

According the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for mechanical engineers is $74,920. The lowest 10% earned $47,900. The highest 10% earned $114,740.

An ASME Career Path Survey indicates that:

  • Experience counts: Without adjusting for inflation, mechanical engineers with 10 years of experience reported a 106% salary gain, while those with 15 years of experience reported a 249% difference between their starting and current salary.
  • Education counts: In the early years of your career, a Master's degree is a decided plus factor in competing for many of the more desirable positions.
  • Money is a very important factor in career planning, but it is by no means the only important factor.
  • The choice of a career track counts: In larger companies, there are salary differences between the management and technical tracks. In a large company, your job may revolve around a fairly specific role, while smaller companies may offer faster growth in terms of responsibilities, the breadth of experience, and salary. When comparing job offers from large and small companies, salary isn't everything. Think about growth potential, support for your continuing education, technical resources, and always consider the stability of the hiring division or company -- and don't forget to factor in the cost of living in the local area.
  • In the long run, many engineers plan their career around the type of work that they find most satisfying. Money doesn't seem to compensate enough if you find that you're going everyday to a job you don't like that's not taking you where you want to go.

Note: Some resources in this section are provided by ASME and the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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