Engineering salaries, graduation rates up
Some good news for engineers: both engineering salaries and graduation rates are still on the rise, according to recent data from The Engineering Income & Salary Survey.
While debates about a shortage of U.S. engineers and the future of the profession continue, engineers can finally focus on some good news: both engineering salaries and graduation rates are still on the rise. According to recent data from The Engineering Income & Salary Survey, median salaries for engineers are up more than 10% from 2006, and up more than 19% from 2005. And other statistics show the number of engineering graduates also is strong, with nearly 75,000 new engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded in the 2005%%MDASSML%%2006 academic year.
The Engineering Income & Salary Survey is sponsored by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).
"What we're seeing is a good sign for U.S. engineers,” said Lawrence Jacobson, NSPE executive director. “While we can’t ignore that there will be an increased demand for engineers in the future, or be complacent in the need to meet that demand, the fact that employers are recognizing their value and more students are pursuing engineering careers is encouraging.”
According to the survey, the median salary for 2007 was $81,316. That shows a marked increase from $74,000 in 2006 and $68,025 in 2005. Starting salaries, determined by participants with less than one year of experience, also are following that trend with their median salary up 9% from $45,250 in 2006 to $49,250 in 2007. The $44,300 starting salary reported in 2005 shows this rise isn’t just an aberration. In addition, data from the American Society for Engineering Education shows that bachelor’s degrees in engineering increased again for the seventh consecutive year, and undergraduate enrollment has rebounded after two years of decline.
Factors such as engineering discipline, geographic location, education, and licensure status affect engineering salaries, but salaries are rising even when taking these into account. Engineers with a bachelor's degree earn a median salary of $73,000, compared to $70,000 in 2006. Those with a master's earn $82,558 compared to $79,000 in 2006, and engineers with doctorates saw an even greater increase from $87,561 to $94,000.
With 2007 being the 100th anniversary of engineering licensure, licensed professional engineers also are receiving good news, with a significant increase in their salaries from $82,000 to $86,000 in a one-year span. In addition to the increase over last year, PEs also earned 24% more than engineers with no license or certification.
Some other interesting findings for 2007 include:
Engineers in the Pacific Southwest (California, Nevada, and Hawaii) and Mid-Atlantic (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland) regions earn more than engineers in other parts of the country. In the Pacific Southwest states, engineers earn a median salary of $88,000 a year, while those in the Middle Atlantic earn $81,000. By contrast, engineers in the Upper Mountain (Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana) earn a median annual salary of $70,200.
Petroleum engineers have the highest median annual salary of all disciplines at $119,500 followed by a tie between mining and forensic engineers at $107,750. Nuclear engineers come in a close third at $106,000.
The median income of female engineers ($65,000) is 80.3% that of male engineers ($80,995). However, that gap closes a bit when other factors such as length of experience and education are factored in.
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