What the Paycheck of a 2016 Engineering Grad Will Look Like

  • Petroleum Engineering

    Petroleum Engineering: Starting salaries range from $81,500 to $103,500, with the median salary being $98,250.

    (Source: Freedigitalphotos.net)
  • Chemical Engineering: Starting salaries range from $64,000 to $73,000, with the median salary being $68,000.

    (Source: poster.4teachers.org)
  • Electrical Engineering: Starting salaries range from $63,000 to $70,000, with the median salary being $65,000.

    (Source: wonderfulengineering.com)
  • Computer Engineering: Starting salaries range from $61,500 to $69,500, with the median salary being $65,000.

    (Source: freepik.com)
  • Mechanical Engineering: Starting salaries range from $61,000 to $68,500, with the median salary being $65,000.

    (Source: wonderfulengineering.com)
  • Software Engineering: Starting salaries range from $58,000 to $69,000, with the median salary being $65,000.

    (Source: techvoize.com)
  • Materials Engineering: Starting salaries range from $60,000 to $68,000, with the median salary being $65,000.

    (Source: engineering.ucsb.edu)
  • Systems Engineering: Starting salaries range from $60,000 to $68,000, with the median salary being $65,000.

    (Source: intercomfed.com)
  • Aerospace Engineering: Starting salaries range from $62,000 to $68,000, with the median salary being $64,000.

    (Source: burcas.co.uk)
  • Engineering Technology: Starting salaries range from $58,000 to $67,000, with a median salary of $62,500.

    (Source: bls.gov)

The average salaries for engineering grads entering the job market range from $62,000 to $64,000 -- except for one notable standout. According to the 2016 Salary Survey from The National Association of Colleges and Employers, petroleum engineering majors are expected to enter their field making around $98,000/year. Clearly, petroleum engineering majors are projected to earn the top salaries among engineering graduates this year.

The petroleum engineering starting salary is up from last year, when NACE projected that median salaries for graduating petroleum engineers would be roughly $82,000. The salary results for petroleum engineers seems a bit high considering the economic stress on the industry. Most of the other engineering salaries are bunched together in the $65,000 median range.
 

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 15 years, 12 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.

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