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Wage Potential for a Mechanical Engineer with a Masters Degree

Career News December 31, 2012

The world relies on mechanical engineers to design, develop and produce every mechanical devices ranging from toasters to air conditioners to cars and planes. Mechanical engineers employ their knowledge of materials science, structural analysis, thermodynamics, mechanics and physics, in the research, design, development and manufacture of various mechanical devices including engines, machines, and tools.

They involve themselves in designing a variety of devices that can be something as simple as a toaster alongside more advanced constructions such as aircraft, cooling and heating systems, artificial organs, medical devices, robotics, industrial equipment, and manufacturing plants. The manner of design and manufacture of other products such as cameras, shoes, and doors are influenced by the types of tools and manufacturing equipment that mechanical engineers devise. Mechanical engineers are employed in a multitude of manufacturing industries including in the medical, environmental, power generation, chemical, agriculture, automotive, and aerospace fields.

In this article, we will look at the wage potential for those holding a master degree in mechanical engineering and discuss the best career choices these professionals can make in order to pursue their lucrative career path.

How much a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.) earns depends on the nature of the job and years of experience a candidate has. In addition, a mechanical engineer can attempt to improve their salary potential by earning a certificate. The type and size of the organization has an impact on the salary of mechanical engineers. For example, a candidate with a master degree in mechanical engineering can potentially earn top wages by working in a hospital; their counterparts teaching in colleges are paid the least among these professionals (source:

In June 2010, compiled median income data for individuals holding master degrees in mechanical engineering categorized according to four variables, namely, employer, certification, experience and job. Employer-wise income data showed that mechanical engineers employed in hospitals stood to earn the most, with the average annual salary earned as of June 2010 being $114,000. Self-employed professionals were next in the pecking order with $95,865, followed by federal government employees who earned $82,867, and local and state government-employed mechanical engineers who took home $79,000. While those in private practice earned an annual median income of $70,886, those employed as teachers in colleges and universities average annual income were around $59,598.

Certified Professional Engineer (PE) earned an average annual salary of $91,146while the holder of a Project Management Certificate took home $102,063, a Project Management Professional (PMP) was paid $101,470, a LEED Accredited Professional earned $85,793 and an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certificate holder banked an annual paycheck of $80,000.

Experience-wise data revealed that a mechanical engineer with less than a year of experience earned an average annual salary of $59,371while the ones with one to four years in the field took home $63,491. Five to nine years of experience attracted a median salary of $77,704 while ten to nineteen years of experience brought home $97,263, and those with over twenty years in the field had the highest median income of $107,117. The research showed that a mechanical engineer earned an average annual salary of $65,955 while a Mechanical Design Engineer took home $61,959, a Design Engineering Manager was paid $107,784, a Project Engineer earned $67,703, and a Manufacturing Engineer banked an annual paycheck of $63,868.

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