Engineers can earn as much as $200,000 a year.

Engineers in the United States can earn $40,000 to $200,000 a year, depending on their area of specialty, expertise, region and the type of business they work in. When averaged together, engineers can have some of the highest starting salaries for those with bachelor’s degrees. Demand for engineers is growing by 11 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. That is about the average for job growth in all sectors.

## Types of Engineers

Aerospace engineers were some of the highest-earning engineers in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The bottom 10 percent of engineers earned an average $58,130 in 2008 and the top 10 percent earned an average of $134,570. The median salary was $92,520 for that year.

The lowest 10 percent of agricultural engineers earned $43,150 in 2008, and the highest 10 percent earned an average of $108,470. The median salary was $68,730.

The lowest 10 percent of biomedical engineers earned $47,649 in 2008, and the highest 10 percent earned an average of $121,970. The median salary was $77,400.

The lowest 10 percent of chemical engineers earned $53,730 in 2008, and the highest 10 percent earned an average of $130,240. The median salary was $84,680.

The lowest 10 percent of civil engineers earned $48,140 in 2008, and the highest 10 **percent earned** an average of $115,630. The median salary was $74,600

Computer hardware engineers also have a high average salary. The lowest 10 percent of computer hardware engineers earned $59,170 in 2008, and the highest 10 percent earned an average of $148,590. The median salary was $97,400.

The lowest 10 percent of electrical engineers earned $52,990 in 2008, and the highest 10 percent earned an average of $135,810. The median salary was $82,160.

The lowest 10 percent of electronic engineers (excluding computer) earned $55,330 in 2008, and the highest 10 percent earned an average of $129,920. The median salary was $86,370.

The lowest 10 percent of environmental engineers earned $45,310 in 2008, and the highest 10 percent earned an average of $115,430. The median salary was $74,020.

The lowest 10 percent of industrial engineers earned $47,720 in 2008, and the highest 10 percent earned an average of $107,270. The median salary was $73,820.

The lowest 10 percent of marine engineers and naval architects earned $43,070 in 2008, and the highest 10 percent earned an average of $118,630. The median salary was $74,140.

The lowest 10 percent of mechanical engineers earned $47,900 in 2008, and the highest 10 percent earned an average of $114,740. The median salary was $74,920.

The lowest 10 percent of mining and geological engineers earned $45,020 in 2008, and the highest 10 percent earned an average of $122,750. The median salary was $75,960.

Nuclear engineers are some of the highest-paid engineers. The lowest 10 percent of nuclear engineers earned $68,300 in 2008, and the highest 10 percent earned an average of $136,880. The median salary was $97,080.

Petroleum engineers have the highest average salary. The lowest 10 percent of petroleum engineers earned $57,820 in 2008, and the highest 10 percent earned an average of $166,400. The median salary was $108,020.

## Starting Salaries

Engineers have some of the highest starting salaries for individuals with little experience out of college. Across all types of engineers, engineers with less than one year of experience have an average starting salary of about $53,621.

By the time an engineer has five to nine years of experience, the average salary is $68,309.

## High-end Salaries

By the time an engineer has 20 years of experience, the average salary for those professionals was about $101,794 in 2010.

Salaries can also vary widely depending on the specialty. Petroleum engineers have the highest average salaries, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Those high salaries can be offset by occasional rounds of lay-offs in the petroleum industry due to fluctuating gas prices. Aerospace and nuclear engineers also have some of the highest salaries.

## Certifications

If an engineer becomes a Certified Professional Engineer (called a PE), this can also increase their salary. To get this license, engineers must have a degree from an accredited program and four years of work experience. They must also pass a series of state exams. The first exam can be taken after graduation from college. Another test is taken after at least four years of experience.

## Employer

Salaries can also vary depending on the employer type. Engineers who work for a company or private firm earned an average of $76,415 to $80,656 in 2010. Those who worked for state or local government agencies earned an average of $78,919. Federal government engineer employees earned an average of $89,656.