Engineering Salaries Remain High Nationwide

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Stacey Ober
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Sunday, March 9, 2008

While the cost of living and salaries vary based on metropolitan area or region, recent data shows that engineering salaries across the nation remain above average. According to information from The Engineering Income & Salary Survey, the gap between the highest and lowest median engineering salaries based on geographic location is only $19,000. The Pacific Southwest region earns the highest median annual salary of $89,000 while the Upper Mountain region earns the lowest at $70,000—both of which are much higher than the national median household income of $48,451, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey conducted in 2006.

"Engineering is truly a vital, in-demand, and robust profession in our country," said NSPE Executive Director Lawrence Jacobson. "Despite talks of shortages or aging workforce concerns, it's encouraging for current engineering professionals, and those considering entering the field, that the salaries remain above average no matter where you live or work."
Engineers in the Pacific Southwest (California, Nevada, and Hawaii), South Central (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana), and Middle Atlantic (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland) regions earn the highest salaries in the country. In the Pacific Southwest states, engineers earn a median salary of $89,000 a year, followed by those in the South Central at $83,779 and Middle Atlantic who earn $83,200. By contrast, engineers in the Central Plains (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri) earn a median annual salary of $73,000, followed by those working in the Upper Mountain (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming) region who earn $70,020.

And these numbers aren't static. Overall, median engineering salaries in the regions have increased at least eight percent since 2006, with some regions experiencing an almost 14 percent increase in salaries. And while factors such as engineering discipline, education, gender and ethnicity, and licensure status can also affect engineering salaries, the overall median salary for all engineers is up over five percent from $75,000 in 2006 to $79,000.

As can be expected, there are some wider differences in salaries based on metropolitan area. The highest engineering salaries can be found in Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas, where engineers earn median annual salaries of $106,000 and in the Augusta-Aiken, Ga.-S.C., area where salaries are $102,500. In contrast, the lowest median salaries can be found in Iowa City, Iowa, at $54,082 and Sioux Falls, S.D., at $55,471. But even the lower end of the engineering salary spectrum comes in well above the national median household income—more proof that engineering remains a viable and stable profession. 

NSPE has conducted salary surveys since 1952 and updated its survey format in 2004. The Engineering Income & Salary Survey is a continually updated, searchable database providing real-time salary information directly online and is produced in partnership with other engineering societies. The survey tracks salary information by nine different categories: length of experience, level of education, professional responsibility, branch of engineering, job function, industry, licensing or certifications status, level of responsibility, and geographic location.

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 by visiting With the purchase of an unlimited-access subscription, both corporations and individual engineers have the option of purchasing a printed report containing information on minority status, gender, bonuses, layoffs, organization structure, benefits, and much more. Also included is a look at salary and benefit trends from previous years. Engineers are encouraged to participate in the survey by entering their own salary information at

Additional Notes: 

The National Society of Professional Engineers is the national society for licensed professional engineers from all disciplines that promotes the ethical and competent practice of engineering, advocates licensure, and enhances the image and well-being of its members. Founded in 1934, NSPE serves more than 45,000 members and the public through 53 state and territorial societies and more than 500 chapters.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Complimentary survey data and detailed results are available to credentialed members of the media. To request a detailed look at salaries for a specific region or metropolitan area, please contact Stacey Ober at, 703-684-2815, or 301-254-6888 after normal business hours.