automotive engineering salary

Automotive Engineering Salary

AEHQ Introduction to Automotive Engineering 3 Comments

We don’t live in order to work but isn’t it nice when our work is also our hobby and passion? If you live, breath and sleep automobiles then maybe a career in automotive engineering is for you. Automotive engineers create products that we see in our lives every day and their skills and innovative designs give us the tools to travel, conduct business, vacation and even just joy-ride. Automobiles allow a freedom to live our lives on our own terms and the ability to travel the open world in safety and comfort.

When you are considering a career in automotive engineering then you will find the following information helpful as you plan the financial aspects of your life.  This info can even help you decide where you are going to live and how to work toward a successful career as an automotive engineer.

Automotive Engineering Salary Overview

A recent study by the society of automotive engineers (SAE)[1] for engineers both in the United States and Internationally shows a healthy range of salaries for automotive engineers worldwide. The average salary was in the range of $100,000 – $124,999 with high concentrations on both sides of that salary range. This base salary shows the strength of the automotive engineering industry and that there is the potential to earn a good living in the field. Additionally, the automotive engineering salary range continues to rise. For example, the salary range grew over 3.4% in the year 2012 despite the poor economic conditions that year.

Automotive Engineering Salary Survey

SAE survey,

Improve Your Base Pay with Training and Experience

When you enter the automotive engineering field you will see that each job requires a slightly different area of expertise. For example mechanical engineering degrees help with chassis design, but an electrical engineering degree can be more effective for circuitry and electronics positions. If your degree is more complex or specialized you will earn a slightly higher salary, since the training required to earn that degree is more difficult and your specialty will be better utilized. Additionally, earning an advanced degree such as a Master’s or PHD will dramatically increase your pay scale and  your chances for success in the automotive engineering fields. The best way to really jump ahead in your career right after college or in the workforce is to receive a Masters Degree in Automotive Engineering.

Time on the job and earning experience is one of the best ways to improve your base salary. A recent survey by conducted in May of 2014 showed that base pay went up by over $8,000 per year when engineers moved from less than 5 years of experience to around 5-10 years. As you gain experience working with a company, you learn how the company does business and learn valuable skills which are reflected in your work and base pay. Talented and experienced employees are rewarded with a higher pay scale both within your current role and elsewhere. I can say from personal experience that sometimes the best way to get a jump in salary is to look outside the company you work for and move on to a larger supplier or even an OEM. Large automotive companies have much higher profit margins and will usually pay employees much more to stay competitive.

Geographic Location and Automotive Engineering Salary

Mechanic salary around the GlobeGeographic location is one big consideration when you work as an automotive engineer. A recent survey by AutoTrends[2] showed that overall one in eight automotive engineers worked in Michigan and that the engineers in this region earned $85,800 per year which is $5,200 above the national average. This is not surprising when you realize that a majority of the automotive designers and manufacturers are centered in this industry hub and you will have a wide range of expertise available to cause a raise in the average salary. When you are in an area with a lot of job openings, salary competition can be very high, which is great for qualified engineers.

Additional concentrations of automotive engineers are found around manufacturing centers in Tennessee, South Carolina, Texas and Alabama and even up north into Canada. Another consideration is the automotive manufacturing engineers that are based next to the border of Mexico in the southern United States region. Since the introduction of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which reduced import taxes on products manufactured within a specific region close by the border, many automotive manufacturers have moved production to this area. As a result there are automotive engineers who have moved to this area to support manufacturing.

The automotive engineering field is one of the best engineering fields to enter when you graduate with a degree in engineering.  It is a fast paced and solid industry – which grows by as much as 5% each year. With a good salary base and an abundance of chances to increase your pay with training and experience, automotive engineering is one of the most lucrative careers out there!

[1] SAE Survey

[2]Auto Trends survey,

Comments 3

  1. kevin enojardo

    Hi there my name’s Kevin I’m a honda technician out here in Colorado . My passion is wrenching. I always wanted to further my knowledge about Hondas and see where it could take me.

    1. geisstc

      Hey Kevin,
      Hondas are my field too, we work on designing their transmissions. They are really picky when it comes to their design and quality which is probably why they design such long lasting cars.

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