If you achieve your engineering license, will you get a pay raise? If so, how much can you expect and how much more does a licensed Professional Engineer make? You will get answers to all of these in this week’s Pass the PE Exam article (and video above).
It can be uncomfortable to ask your supervisor or company’s HR staff about a salary increase or raise, because you don’t want people to think you are only in it for the money.
It is very natural to have this thought in your mind if you are an engineering professional. You studied hard, put in your time and achieved a major career milestone. Not only that, but your license immediately gives you the ability to make more of an impact within your company because now you can, theoretically, sign and seal project plans and specifications, which may provide a huge benefit to your company.
Not only might you be asked to take on more responsibility, but if you sign and seal documents you are taking on a lot of potential liability. The key thing for you to know is if you will be covered for liability under your company’s liability insurance, and even if you are, it may behoove you to have your own policy. You should seek legal guidance as soon as you become licensed. Many professional associations offer affordable liability insurance plans for a licensed professional engineer.
So What’s the Number in Terms of a Pay Raise?
As per the research it is found that it varies across the board. Some companies don’t provide raises for engineers who become licensed, instead they provide raises based on their own corporate ladder structure. For example, if you achieve a Project Manager Level II position, you get a raise, and one of the requirements for getting to Project Manager Level II level may be your PE license.
According to a 2017 survey conducted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (also known as ASME), Mechanical Engineers with a PE license earn a median income of $133,000 dollars, almost $16,000 more than the median salary of unlicensed engineers, so they make roughly 13% more.
According to National Society of Professional Engineers Engineering Income & Salary Survey 2010 research, the median salary of engineers in all professions without a PE license was $94,000, whereas the median salary of engineers with a PE license was $99,000 — a difference of about 5 percent.
Considering all the research, the data says a PE license could yield a raise of anywhere between five to fifteen percent, depending on a number of variables including your location, the type of engineering you do, and your job responsibilities.
It is highly recommended that you have an open conversation with someone in your company and find out the answer to this question. You may also find language around this in your employee handbook.
There Are Two Last Important Points I’d Like To Highlight on This Topic:
Firstly, based on an interview with a former professional baseball player who recently passed the PE Exam in Texas, passing the exam doesn’t necessarily mean you are licensed. In some states you can take the exam prior to fulfilling the experience requirements.
Secondly, just because you become licensed, doesn’t mean that your company is going to give you increased responsibilities, or expect you to sign and seal documents any time soon, especially if you work for a larger company, you might never sign and seal plans, which also means they may not provide additional compensation.
So there you have it. There are many financial benefits associated with becoming a licensed professional engineer, but most importantly becoming licensed raises your credibility in the field, and from a career standpoint, that expertise is invaluable.
I hope you found this week’s video helpful. In upcoming videos I will solve some more PE exam practice problems and answer other questions from our subscribers.
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Please ask questions and leave comments below this video and I will respond to you, and let me know if there’s a topic you want me to cover or a specific question you would like answered… Pass the PE Exam will have you covered. In fact, this video was created in response to a comment on a previous video.
I’ll see you next week… on Pass the PE Exam
Anthony Fasano, P.E.
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success