Engineering is one of the more lucrative career options, as the average salary for an engineer comes in well above the national average. Of course, everyone wants to earn as much money as possible regardless of their career path, and there are several ways that engineers can increase their salary.
If you’re an engineer looking to take a step up in pay, the following tips can help. Keep in mind that every employer and job situation is different, so what works for one engineer may not necessarily work for you. However, all these tips make you more marketable and work well as general guidelines.
Gain Engineering Experience
Your experience and your education are two of the most important factors in determining your salary. If you don’t have much experience, look for internship opportunities in your area. This is especially important if you’re in school or you graduated recently and you’re going to be looking for an entry-level position. Not only will your experience make you a more attractive candidate to employers, it will also help prepare you for your future position.
Further Your Education
The average salary increases with the average level of education. If you have a bachelor’s degree, going back to school for your master’s could open up more earning opportunities. Earning a master’s in an engineering discipline not only enhances your skills, it allows you to specialize in a more specific skillset, qualifying you for more selective job opportunities with higher salaries. Another option is an MBA, which could help you transition to a management role with more responsibilities.
Improve Your Communication Skills
It’s fair to say that engineers are known more for their analytical and problem-solving skills than for their people skills. It’s a profession that often involves long hours spent alone at a computer. However, you do need to train your people skills to advance your career.
Developing your communication skills gives you a significant advantage over other engineers, as it helps you build the relationships you need to move up the ladder. Your employer can trust you with more networking opportunities if you’re a good communicator, and effective communication skills are also a quality employers look for when filling leadership and management positions.
Obtain a Professional License
Certain engineering jobs, particularly management positions, require that you have a Professional Engineer (PE) license. Obtaining this license requires that you pass two exams: the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, which engineering students usually take around their graduation, and the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam, which engineers take after working under a licensed professional engineer for several years. Check what opportunities could be available to you if you earn your PE license to make sure that it fits your area of expertise.
As an engineer, you have several options available to potentially boost your salary. Gaining more experience or attaining a more advanced degree can always help, and earning your PE license will also open up more job opportunities. Don’t forget about your people skills, either, as being able to communicate and network is an important part of earning promotions or new, higher-paying jobs.