Earning a degree in electrical engineering is a good move to provide you with the knowledge and skills to qualify for many engineering positions that are coming available in the expanding economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports employment in all engineering occupations will rise by 7% from 2016 to 2026, so you will be able to find plenty of good jobs in fields such as electrical engineering.
But if you want to get a degree in electrical engineering, what kind of salary can you expect? To get a better idea, analyze the following factors:
- Whether you earn a master’s or bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or a related field
- The type of career you select
- How many years of work experience you have
- Geographic location
After you have analyzed these factors, you will have a better idea of the salary you can have in the electrical engineering field.
Level of Electrical Engineering Degree
A major factor in how much money we make over our careers is the level of degree we have. It has been shown generally over time that people with a master’s degree earn a higher salary over the years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, having a master’s degree can give you an average of $12,000 more in salary per year. That adds up potentially to hundreds of thousands of dollars over your career.
This generally holds true in the electrical engineering field. According to Payscale.com, these are some of the typical salaries you can earn with a master’s degree in electrical engineering:
- Senior electrical engineer: $113,800
- Senior systems engineer: $93,000
- Senior software engineer: $122,200
- Control systems engineer: $81,400
- Engineering group manager: $123,000
- Solutions architect: $110,900
- Electrical engineer: $88,100
With a bachelor’s in electrical engineering, Payscale.com reports these salaries:
- Electrical engineer: $70,100
- Senior electrical engineer: $96,000
- Controls engineer: $74,100
- Senior systems engineer: $88,400
- Design engineer: $61,000
- Software engineer: $81,300
- Electrical design engineer: $61,800
Other sources note that the average salary for an electrical engineer with a bachelor’s degree is $98,000, while it is $111,800 for those with a master’s degree.
Generally, electrical engineers with an advanced degree will earn considerably more over their careers.
Type of Electrical Engineering Career
The type of career you choose with your electrical engineering degree will influence your salary, too. Below are the most common positions for professionals with this type of engineering degree and potential salaries:
Electrical engineers handle designing, developing, testing and supervising of electrical equipment manufacturing, including, radar, electric motors, navigation systems, communication systems and power generation equipment. Electrical engineers also handle designing electrical systems for aircraft and automobiles. Many electrical engineers work in areas that are related to computer systems and hardware.
Electrical engineers earn a median salary of $95,000 per year as of May 2017. The top 10% earn more than $150,000 per year. Median salaries for electrical engineers in different industries were:
- Research and development in physical, engineering and life sciences: $110,000
- Semiconductor and other electrical component manufacturing: $99,100
- Navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instruments manufacturing: $96,900
- Electrical power generation, transmission and distribution: $94,600
- Engineering services: $92,300
Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technician
Electrical and electronics engineering technicians assist electrical engineers to design and develop computers, communications equipment, medical monitoring equipment, navigational equipment and various other electrical and electronic equipment. These technicians often work in product testing and evaluation, as well as use measuring and diagnostic devices to test, adjust and repair electrical equipment. They are also deeply involved in the manufacture and deployment of automation equipment. Electrical engineering technicians also identify and resolve equipment problems and work with manufacturers to obtain replacement parts. These professionals also calibrate and perform preventative maintenance on systems and equipment.
The median salary for electrical and electronics engineering technicians was $63,600 in 2017, with the top 10% earning more than $93,800 per year. Top industries in terms of salary were:
- Federal government: $68,200
- Engineering services: $62,200
- Merchant wholesalers: $60,300
- Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing: $59,600
- Navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instruments manufacturing: $57,700
An electromechanical technician combines his knowledge of mechanical technology with knowledge of electronic circuits and electrical systems. They typically operate, test and maintain a variety of electromechanical equipment. These technicians also test and operate machines in factories and other job sites. Electromechanical technicians also record and analyze test results, and prepare written documentation to show what the tests did and how effective the results were.
According to BLS, the median wage for this profession was $56,700, with the top 10% earning more than $87,900 per year. Top industries for electromechanical technicians were:
- Engineering services: $61,300
- Transportation equipment manufacturing: $58,900
- Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing: $55,600
- Machinery manufacturing: $53,800
- Navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instrument manufacturing: $51,300
Computer Hardware Engineer
Computer hardware engineers research, develop, design and test computer systems and components, including processors, circuit boards, memory devices, routers and networks. Many of these workers have a degree in computer engineering, but an electrical engineering degree is also suitable.
BLS reports the median salary in this field is $115,100, with the top 10% earning more than $176,000 per year. Top industries in the field are:
- Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing: $130,100
- Research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences: $126,600
- Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing: $122,000
- Computer systems design and related services: $114,000
- Federal government: ;$111,500
Electrical Engineering Work Experience
How many years of work experience you have in electrical engineering has a strong effect on your annual salary. Payscale.com reports the following salary information for electrical engineers with different levels of experience. The site notes there is a salary range between $55,100 and $107,200.
- Electrical engineers with less than five years of experience earn a salary of $67,000.
- Electrical engineers with five to 10 years of experience earn a salary of $82,000.
- Electrical engineers with 10 to 20 years of experience earn a salary of $96,000.
- Electrical engineers with more than 20 years of experience earn a salary of $105,000.
For electrical technicians, the site states that those with less than five years of experience earn $41,000; with five to 10 year of experience $46,000; 10 to 20 years of experience $53,000 and more than 20 years of experience $57,000.
There are some parts of the country that have higher salary potential than others in electrical engineering. Payscale.com states the average national salary for electrical engineers is $73,900, but salaries can vary widely based upon the city:
- San Jose: +33%
- San Francisco: +16%
- San Diego: +11%
- Houston: +8%
- Los Angeles: +8%
- Chicago: 0%
- New York City: -2%
- Pittsburgh: -2%
- Louis: -4%
- Atlanta: -6%
The electrical engineering field is a growing and prosperous one. If you earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in electrical engineering, you can anticipate finding plenty of good jobs.
- Engineering Salaries. (2016). Retrieved from https://prodigyfinance.com/resources/blog/engineering-salaries-go-masters
- Should I Get a Master’s Degree? (2016). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm
- Best Engineering Jobs. (2016). Retrieved from https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/rankings/best-engineering-jobs