You don’t have to look far in the modern world for evidence of some form of engineering, so it’s no surprise talented engineering graduates are highly sought after for their innovative thinking and technical expertise. If you’re thinking of studying engineering, you might also be wondering what kind of salary you can expect when you graduate, especially if you’re still trying to decide which branch of the subject is for you.
To make your decision easier, we’ve had a look at what different engineers typically earn in the UK and the US, from starting salaries to top level positions.
The following salary figures relate to graduates of a Bachelor in Engineering – for information on the average salaries you can earn with a Masters in Engineering, download our latest Top Grad School Guide.
(All figures are from PayScale unless otherwise stated.)
How does working with cutting-edge technology and multinational companies as an aerospace/aeronautical engineer sound? In this role you’ll research, develop and maintain the performance of various forms of aircraft and their components, working to improve flight safety and efficiency. You’ll need a related degree, strong technical knowledge of aerospace systems, creativity, problem-solving skills and innovation. It’s also useful to have foreign language skills due to the possibility of travel and joint ventures with international aerospace engineering firms.
- Starting salary: £22,000 to £28,000, according to Prospects
- Median salary: £34,604
- Top level salary: £64,745
- Starting salary: $54,329
- Median salary: $77,826
- Top level salary: $150,045
Fascinated by chemistry and enjoy solving problems? You might be perfect for a career as a chemical engineer. You’ll examine and design the materials and processes used to turn raw materials into everyday objects such as fuel, plastics and food. You could also work at the forefront of exciting new resources and techniques, such as nanotechnology.
To become a chemical engineer, you’ll need to register as a chartered engineer. To do this, you’ll need to study engineering to master’s level (for example with a four-year MEng in the United Kingdom, which will be accredited by the Engineering Council). You’ll also need strong maths and science skills, as well as problem-solving skills, IT skills, good organization and project management skills.
- Starting salary: £22,851
- Median salary: £32,671
- Top level salary: £68,844
- Starting salary: $50,553
- Median salary: $72,718
- Top level salary: $120,520
Interested in working on both small- and large-scale construction projects? As a civil engineer, you’ll plan, design and manage projects, from bridge repairs and buildings, to transport links and sports stadiums. Again, the easiest route is to become a chartered civil engineer through your degree. It’s also important to gain practical experience and build your knowledge of how construction projects are planned and executed in the industry, as well as to develop networking contacts.
- Starting salary: £23,500, according to Prospects
- Median salary (after five years): £30,332
- Top level salary: £49,000
- Starting salary: $47,244
- Median salary: $63,004
- Top level salary: $95,820
As an electrical engineer you’ll use your technical knowledge to design, develop and maintain electrical control systems to their required specifications, working as part of a multi-disciplinary team to focus on the safety, quality, economy and sustainability of electrical systems. To become an electrical engineer, you’ll need a relevant degree and a range of skills, such as project management, commercial awareness and multitasking.
- Starting salary: £20,000 to £25,000, according to Prospects
- Median salary: £30,765
- Top level salary: £48,798
- Starting salary: $52,087
- Median salary: $72,237
- Top level salary: $109,562
As a manufacturing engineer, you’d be responsible for the technical organization, maintenance and progress of new and current production lines within a broad variety of manufacturing businesses. As well as a relevant degree, you’ll need analytical skills, technical skills, commercial awareness, a practical approach to problem-solving and knowledge of a range of engineering functions and procedures.
Want to study a master’s in manufacturing engineering? Check out our guide.
- Starting salary: £22,000 to £28,000 according to Prospects
- Median salary: £28,722
- Top level salary: £40,285+
- Starting salary: $49,212
- Median salary: $65,654
- Top level salary: $89,360
As a mining engineer you’ll evaluate the viability, safety and efficiency of potential mine locations and plan, manage and enhance the removal of surface and underground deposits. To become a mining engineer, you’ll need a relevant degree and it’s very beneficial to have related work experience and/or a postgraduate degree.
Find out about master’s in mining engineering degrees.
UK (all data from Prospects).
- Starting salary: £21,000 to £27,000
- After five years: £45,000+
- Top level salary: £50,000 to £75,000
- Starting salary: $52,356
- Median salary: $72,552
- Top level salary: $119,828
Fascinated by the idea of using engineering to solve medical problems? As a biomedical engineer, you’ll research, design and develop new medical products using your knowledge of engineering principles and materials technology. As well as a degree, you might need to take part in a certified training program to qualify for this role.
- Starting salary: £21,000 according to Prospects
- Median salary: £26,507
- Top level salary: £57,931+
- Starting salary: $47,354
- Median salary: $62,433
- Top level salary: $95,979
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