Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Much of our modern industry and production is reliant on electrical equipment, such as electric motors, lighting, wiring, navigation tools, communications systems and power generators. Electrical engineers work hard to design, test and repair these electrical devices and systems. Some may focus on the electrical technology in transportation while others work exclusively in radar communication. With such a wide range of career options and working conditions, the salary and benefits for electrical engineers can vary.
In May of 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics completed a survey and determined that electrical engineers made an average of $87,770 a year. The report is based on an estimated 148,770 electrical engineers working around the country, most of whom fell into the middle 50 percent and earned between $66,880 and $105,860 a year. The lowest paid engineers, those in the bottom 10th percentile, reported annual salaries of less than $54,030. However, electrical engineers with experience and the right credentials had the chance to climb into the top 10th percentile and earn over $128,610 annually.
Electrical engineers working in New York or Idaho in 2010 reported salaries similar to the national figure, averaging $87,220 and $87,850 a year respectively. Florida was the lowest paying state in the BLS report with an annual mean wage of $79,880, but many states paid exceptional wages. Engineers working in California averaged $99,120 a year while those in Alaska brought home an average of $102,120 annually. Massachusetts was the highest paying state in the U.S., boasting an annual mean wage of $103,350. However, the best city for electrical engineers was the Sherman-Denison metro area of Texas, paying $123,650 a year on average.
Type of Employer
In 2010, the largest number of electrical engineers worked for engineering firms and made $88,070 a year on average. Other common employers included electric power companies, paying $85,370 on average, and manufacturers of navigational, measuring, electro-medical and control instruments, paying an average wage of $91,900 annually. Smaller numbers of electrical engineers also worked for oil and gas extraction firms for an annual mean wage of $109,110, and mining support companies for an average of $110,390 a year. The highest paying type of employers were those in the motion picture and video industries, paying $114,700 a year on average.
Benefits for electrical engineers are dependent on the employer but commonly included health insurance, retirement plans and paid vacation. Those working for the military or government are entitled to typically government benefits, and engineers working for educational institutions may receive packages similar to professors and other faculty members. Some electrical engineers are self-employed and must pay the full amount for their insurance and retirement plans as well as cover the full income tax burden.
Kara Page has been a freelance writer and editor since 2007. She maintains several blogs on travel, music, food and more. She is also a contributing writer for Suite101 and has articles published on eHow and Answerbag. Page holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas.