When looking for engineers for hire, several factors can lead to vastly different prices depending on what is required for the project. What are the duties of an engineer? Is a computer engineer needed to write some simple code for an app? Does the project require an electrical engineer to design an entire wiring diagram for an aircraft’s navigation system? Perhaps a mechanical engineer is needed to troubleshoot an existing automated production line to make it more efficient. These differences in the project scope give rise to similar differences in pricing and recruiting strategies for engineers.
There are four primary types of engineers: Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, and Chemical. In this article, we will look at some of the factors that influence the cost, along with some ballpark figures for what an engineer might cost.
The Four Types of Engineers
Mechanical engineers design, test, diagnose and repair mechanical systems of all types. Whether it’s designing new engines for a car company, or helping a factory modernize their steel forging equipment; a mechanical engineer needs a solid background in many disciplines. Due to their extensive technical education and experience, a mechanical engineer may receive a high salary. When hiring a mechanical engineer one could expect to pay anywhere from $65,000 for a recently graduated university engineer, all the way to $150,000 and up for senior engineers who are leaders of design or manufacturing divisions in large companies.
Civil engineers are the backbone of society when it comes to building new, and improving existing infrastructure. Anything from ensuring that a certain type of concrete roadway will withstand thirty years of harsh weather and heavy vehicle abuse, to verifying that the gigantic water main pipe for the city will maintain a flow rate that is sufficient to provide water to a medium size municipality that is continuously growing. Civil engineers are also likely to be highly educated in local and national construction standards and have a deep familiarity with rules and regulations developed by various regulatory agencies. An entry level civil engineer can expect to be paid around $55-60,000 per year. While a senior civil engineer who is hired to design large infrastructure projects for entire cities could easily ask for $180-250,000 per year.
Chemical engineers are the glue that keeps everything together. From designing new polymers for a shirt to help keep athletes cool, to combining the proper chemicals to making a road tire that lasts twice as long as the competition. A chemical engineer needs to have an advanced understanding of chemicals, how they interact, what happens when they decay, and how to dispose or recycle them properly. For many chemical engineers, their work is trial and error until they find the correct mixture for their intended use. Often this means hours of chemical analysis, plus a great deal of documentation to ensure the properties are accurate. Due to the considerable knowledge base requirement, a starting chemical engineer can command a salary of $70,000 per year. While an experienced chemical engineer can cost as much as $140,000 per year.
In the 20th century and beyond, electrical engineers have made significant contributions to human progress. They design everything from the circuit board inside the phone you’re using to read this article, all the way up to the wiring inside the power station that makes modern life possible. An electrical engineer’s job is to design anything powered by electricity to guarantee it will work properly every time. Of all the engineering disciplines, electrical engineering is probably the most demanding in terms of ever-changing technologies and smaller components coming out each year. What was standard and common practice as little as five years ago may now be entirely obsolete and is no longer manufactured anywhere. Because of this constant need to stay on top of the latest trends, along with maintaining an up-to-date understanding of new technologies, electrical engineers can be expensive. Beginner electrical engineers cost around $75,000, while senior engineers in large corporate divisions may have salaries easily over $200,000.
Consultant Engineering Salaries
Let’s say an engineer is needed for a short-term project. For example, upgrading an existing system or perhaps an annual inspection of infrastructure or machines is due to maintaining good standing with regulatory agencies. Engineers are available as consultants for a variety of short and medium-term projects.
Generally, a consulting engineer should cost anywhere from $55 – $75 per hour, depending on the scope of the project and the engineer’s experience level. You get what you pay for, and with something as complex as engineering design, it’s best to pay for experience when critical components or processes are at stake.
In light of their extensive technical training and experience, engineers are deservedly well compensated for their work. The expertise brought to the table by a qualified and experienced engineer is absolutely invaluable to many companies and projects. Engineers usually demand a high salary, but don’t forget quality never comes cheap, and cheap things are never high quality. Plan for engineer salaries accordingly to assist the company in making the best hire possible!