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How Much Can You Earn With an Engineering Degree?

How Much Can You Earn With an Engineering Degree? main image

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.) 

Aeronautical engineer

Aerospace engineering

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.

Find out more about studying aeronautical engineering.

United Kingdom

  • Starting salary: £22,000 to £28,000, according to Prospects
  • Median salary: £34,604
  • Top level salary:  £64,745

United States

  • Starting salary: $54,329
  • Median salary: $77,826
  • Top level salary: $150,045

Chemical engineer

Chemical engineering

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.

Find out more about studying chemical engineering.

Typical earnings:

UK

  • Starting salary: £22,851
  • Median salary: £32,671
  • Top level salary: £68,844

US

  • Starting salary: $50,553
  • Median salary: $72,718
  • Top level salary: $120,520

Civil engineer

Civil engineering

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.

Find out more about studying civil engineering.

Typical earnings:

UK

  • Starting salary: £23,500, according to Prospects
  • Median salary (after five years): £30,332
  • Top level salary: £49,000

US

  • Starting salary: $47,244
  • Median salary: $63,004
  • Top level salary: $95,820

Electrical engineer

Electrical engineering

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.

Find out more about studying electrical engineering.

Typical earnings:

UK

  • Starting salary: £20,000 to £25,000, according to Prospects
  • Median salary: £30,765
  • Top level salary: £48,798

US

  • Starting salary: $52,087
  • Median salary: $72,237
  • Top level salary: $109,562

Manufacturing engineer

Manufacturing engineering

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.

Typical earnings

UK

  • Starting salary: £22,000 to £28,000 according to Prospects
  • Median salary: £28,722
  • Top level salary: £40,285+

US

  • Starting salary: $49,212
  • Median salary: $65,654
  • Top level salary: $89,360

Mining engineer

Mining engineering

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

US

  • Starting salary: $52,356
  • Median salary: $72,552
  • Top level salary: $119,828

Biomedical engineer

Biomedical engineering

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.

UK

  • Starting salary: £21,000 according to Prospects
  • Median salary: £26,507
  • Top level salary: £57,931+

US

  • Starting salary: $47,354
  • Median salary: $62,433
  • Top level salary: $95,979

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
Sabrina is a content writer for TopUniversities.com, providing guidance on a wide range of topics. A graduate of Aberystwyth University, Sabrina is originally from the West Midlands but now lives in London. 

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12 Comments

hello sir, my name is emad sanei from iran... and I want to study abroad in usa in envirometal engineering... I'm confused about which university is good for me... I'm looking for getiing fund from usa... can you help me??? please

Hi Emad, please take a look at our latest rankings by subject for engineering and technology - you can narrow the results down to show only US universities. :)

I've read a research about engineering salaries. That article was published in 2015. Now, I see that salaries grew a little bit. Does anybody know the reason? I thought there are more and more engineers from year to year, therefore, their earlings should decline but I observe the opposite tendency.

hello sir.I'm from bangladesh. i want to complete bsc degree in European university. can you help about it?

Hi Monir, our country guides for Europe are a good place to start reading about the study destinations that appeal to you and how to go about applying. You can also check out the top European universities for your subject with our newly released rankings by subject. Hope this helps! 

what is the salary for electronics engineer

my name is chipoya kenny in Zambia i want to study abroad but how can i help please contact me

Hi Chipoya Kenny, where would you like to study? You might like to start by having a read of some of our country guides for popular study destinations. :)

Presumably these figures are for B. Eng.
Given its increasing popularity, what difference does an integrated M. Eng make?

Hi Andy, that's correct. You can earn more with an integrated masters - for example, £27,000 a year for mechanical engineers in the UK compared to £20,000-25,000 for mechanical engineers starting out with a bachelor's degree. You can read more about the average salary figures for graduates with a masters in Engineering degree in our latest Top Grad School Guide, downloadable from here. Hope this helps.

What are figures for Computer Science Engineer ?

Hi Monymirza, as a Computer Science (Software) Engineer you can earn an average of £33,884 in the UK and $80,744 in the US, according to PayScale. :)