The Truth about Consultant Engineer Salaries: How Much Do They Really Make?

Average Consultant Engineer Salary

Average Consultant Engineer Salary

Consulting engineering is a specialized area of the engineering industry that provides expert advice and technical solutions to clients in various sectors including construction, transportation, energy, and environmental industries. In this line of work, consultant engineers use their knowledge, skills, and experience to solve complex engineering problems, provide design solutions and supervise and manage projects. Consultant engineering salaries are usually higher than those of other engineering roles. In this article, we will delve deeper into the subject of the average consultant engineer salary.

According to some sources, the average consultant engineer salary in the United States is $88,648 per year. However, this figure can vary depending on various factors such as the type of industry that employs the consultant, the length of experience, the level of education, and the region in which the consultant works. For instance, consultant engineers who work in the information technology sector may earn different salaries than those working in the oil and gas industry.

Experience level is a significant determinant of consultant engineer salaries. Generally, consultant engineers with more experience in the industry usually command higher salaries than those with less experience. According to research, consultant engineers with less than five years of experience earn an average of $66,000 annually, while those with more than 10 years of experience earn an average of $109,000 annually. Therefore, consultant engineers may increase their earnings potential by gaining more experience in the industry.

Another critical factor that determines consultant engineer salaries is the level of education. Most professions usually require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. However, for consultant engineering, a bachelor’s degree may not suffice. The majority of consultant engineering firms prefer to hire individuals who have master’s degrees in engineering. According to a SalaryExpert report, consultant engineers who have a master’s degree in engineering earn an average of $114,339 per year, while those with a bachelor’s degree earn $77,660 per year on average.

Region also plays a vital role in consultant engineer salaries. Salaries for consultant engineers can vary widely depending on the geographic location in which they work. For instance, consultant engineers in California and New York tend to earn more on average than those in other states. This is due to the higher cost of living in those states, which causes salaries to rise in response. On the other hand, consultant engineers in the Midwest may earn less due to a lower cost of living in that region.

In conclusion, consultant engineering presents an exciting and lucrative career path for engineers who are passionate about providing expert advice to clients and solving complex engineering problems. While various factors influence consultant engineer salaries, experience, education, and location typically have the most significant impact. For aspiring consultant engineers, earning a master’s degree, gaining more experience, and working in high-paying regions could lead to higher earning opportunities.

Factors Affecting Consultant Engineer Salary

Consultant Engineer Salary

The consulting engineering industry has grown and changed over the years, but the job of a consultant engineer has become more important than ever, as technology advancements, infrastructure development, and environmental concerns continue to increase the demand for engineering services. This growth in demand results in a highly competitive market, where businesses try to attract the best talent through high salaries and attractive benefits packages.

As a consultant engineer, there are several factors that affect your salary. These factors can help you negotiate your salary, plan your future career, or make a case for why you deserve a raise. Below are the most significant factors that affect consultant engineer salaries:

1. Years of Experience

Years of Experience

In the consulting engineering industry, experience matters. As you gain more experience in the industry, your salary is likely to increase. Entry-level consultant engineers may start with lower salaries, while those with over 10 years of experience can expect to earn a higher salary due to their developed expertise in the field.

Your years of experience can also affect the level of responsibility you hold within a company. For example, an entry-level consultant engineer may work alongside a team on smaller projects, while a senior consultant engineer with years of experience may lead a team or manage larger projects.

It’s worth noting that years of experience are only one part of the equation for a higher salary. Factors such as company size and reputation, location, and industry type also play a role.

2. Educational Level and Specialization

Educational Level and Specialization

Your educational level and area of specialization can have a significant impact on your salary. A bachelor’s degree in engineering is required to become a consultant engineer. However, some employers may prefer applicants with a master’s degree or higher in a related engineering field.

Furthermore, certain specializations within engineering may command higher salaries than others. For example, a consultant engineer with a specialization in computer engineering, chemical engineering, or electrical engineering may earn a higher salary than a consultant engineer with a broader mechanical engineering background.

However, specialization also depends on the industry type and the role the consultant engineer is filling. For example, a mechanical engineer might command a higher salary in the automotive industry than in the construction industry. It is crucial to note that having experience and certification in specific programming languages or tools can also increase your value as a consultant engineer and, in turn, your salary.

3. Company Size and Reputation

Company Size and Reputation

The size and reputation of the company you work for can also have an impact on your salary. Larger organizations may have more significant resources to pay higher salaries, offer bonuses and perks, and provide more growth opportunities for their employees. On the other hand, smaller firms and start-ups may offer more flexibility and autonomy, which can be appealing to some consultant engineers.

A company’s reputation can also impact your salary. Reputable consulting engineering firms that have established themselves as leaders in the industry can offer higher salaries due to a high demand for their services. Although working for such companies may come with more significant responsibilities and workload, consultant engineers in such firms can gain valuable experience and established a well-regarded resume for future career prospects.

4. Industry and Role Type

Industry and Role Type

Your industry type and role type can also influence your salary as a consultant engineer. Different industries, such as transportation, infrastructure, or manufacturing, have different needs and priorities. Thus, a consultant engineer working in one industry can make a higher salary than another consultant engineer in a different industry.

Furthermore, your role type, such as project manager or technical engineer, can also impact your salary. Some roles may require more responsibility and skill set, which can translate into higher pay. For example, a consultant engineer in a management role or with significant project management responsibilities may earn a higher salary than a consultant engineer in a technical role.

In conclusion, the consulting engineering industry offers numerous opportunities for consultant engineers to grow and develop their careers. However, to take the next step in their careers, consultant engineers should consider the factors that impact their salaries. These factors include experience, education level and specialization, company size and reputation, and industry and role type. Knowing the bargaining power of these factors can aid consultant engineers in negotiating for higher salaries and better benefits.

Highest Paying Industries for Consultant Engineers

Consultant Engineers salary per industry

Consultant engineers are in high demand across various industries, and the salary for the position varies depending on the sector. In this article, we will discuss the top three highest paying industries for consultant engineers.

1. Oil and Gas

oil and gas consultant engineer

The oil and gas industry is one of the highest-paying industries for consultant engineers. In this sector, consultant engineers are responsible for ensuring the safety and efficiency of the drilling operations, designing and implementing new technologies, and providing technical expertise to various stakeholders. The average salary for consultant engineers in the oil and gas industry ranges from $96,000 to $150,000 per year, depending on the location, experience, and education of the engineer.

2. Aerospace

aerospace consultant engineer

The aerospace industry is another high-paying sector for consultant engineers, who are responsible for designing and testing aircraft, spacecraft, and other related systems. They also provide technical support for the manufacturing, maintenance, and repair of aerospace equipment. The average salary for consultant engineers in the aerospace industry ranges from $80,000 to $140,000 per year, depending on the location, experience, and education of the engineer.

3. Renewable Energy

renewable energy consultant engineer

The renewable energy industry is a growing sector that is in need of consultant engineers to design, test, and implement new technologies for generating clean energy. Consultant engineers in this industry are responsible for developing and implementing energy-efficient solutions, conducting feasibility studies, and providing technical support for renewable energy projects. The average salary for consultant engineers in the renewable energy industry ranges from $70,000 to $120,000 per year, depending on the location, experience, and education of the engineer.

In conclusion, consultant engineers are highly sought-after professionals in various industries, and the salary for the position can vary depending on the sector. The industries listed above are just a few examples of the sectors that offer high-paying jobs for consultant engineers. If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a consultant engineer, consider these industries as potential employers.

Geographical Location and Consultant Engineer Salary

consultant engineer salary by location

One of the most important factors that determine the consultant engineer salary is the geographical location. Salaries can vary significantly depending on where the engineering project takes place, and the cost of living in that area.

Consultant engineers working in metropolitan cities tend to earn more than those working in rural areas. The cost of living in major cities can be high, which means that employers have to pay their workers more to retain their services. For instance, a consultant engineer working at a major engineering consulting firm in New York City can earn up to $120,000 per year.

On the other hand, consultant engineers working in rural areas may earn less than those working in major cities. The demand for engineers may be lower in these areas, which means that employers may not have to pay their workers as much to retain their services. For instance, a consultant engineer working at a small engineering consulting firm in a rural area may earn around $70,000 per year.

Consultants who work internationally also earn more than those working in their home country. There is usually a higher demand for engineering expertise in developing countries, and consultants may be paid more to relocate and provide their expertise in these regions. For instance, a consultant engineer working in the Middle East can earn up to $200,000 per year.

Consultant engineers who work on projects that require frequent travel also earn more than those who work on projects in one location. The cost of living in different cities can vary significantly, and employers may provide a higher salary to cover the additional expenses. For instance, a consultant engineer who travels frequently between cities in the United States can earn up to $150,000 per year.

It is essential for consultant engineers to consider the geographical location of a project when negotiating a salary. If the cost of living in a particular region is exceptionally high, then a higher salary may be required to cover expenses such as housing, transportation, and food. Engineers may also need to consider the cost of travel and how that will impact their salary. They may need to negotiate a higher salary to compensate for time spent away from family and friends.


The geographical location plays a crucial role in determining the salary of consultant engineers. Salaries can vary significantly depending on location, cost of living, and demand for engineering expertise. Engineers may need to negotiate a higher salary to cover expenses such as housing, transportation, and food. They may also need to negotiate a higher salary to compensate for time spent away from family and friends if their job requires frequent travel.

Future Outlook of Consultant Engineer Salary

Future Outlook of Consultant Engineer Salary

Consultant engineer salary has always been attractive, partly due to the technical nature of the job. With the constant advancement in technology, the demand for consultant engineers has increased significantly in recent years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for engineering services is projected to grow 5% from 2018 to 2028, which is an average rate of growth for all occupations. In addition, the demand for consulting engineers is expected to rise as more companies continue to outsource their engineering projects.

One of the factors that contribute to the future outlook of consultant engineer salary is the introduction of emerging technologies. This will bring about new challenges in the industry and there will be a need for consultancy firms to seek out specialist skills. Engineers with skills in the emerging fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and software development will be in high demand. And as such, the salaries offered to these consultants will be more attractive as the competition increases.

Another factor that will influence the future of consultant engineer salaries is the adoption of digital services in the engineering sector. With most engineering services now being done online, the need for additional human resources has decreased, reducing costs for companies. This increased efficiency allows consultancy firms to expand their services to more clients and offer more competitive salaries to consultants. As a result, the future outlook for consultant engineer salaries is bright and is likely to continue to rise as clients demand more specialized services in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.

Additionally, the global engineering services market is set to experience growth, which is great news for consultant engineers. This growth is especially evident in the renewable energy sector, where governments are investing in renewable energy on a global scale. The renewable energy sector requires specialist knowledge in areas such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric power generation. As such, consultant engineers with specialist knowledge in renewable energy can expect more attractive salaries as they play a critical role in the growth of the industry.

Furthermore, consultant engineer salaries are also expected to increase as more companies seek to minimize their costs. This is achieved by outsourcing the engineering projects to consultancy firms who will then provide the human resources. The use of consultants in this manner has been increasing in recent years, with companies realizing the benefits of using a consultancy team instead of developing an in-house team. This has resulted in a shortage of experienced consultants, leading to offers of higher salaries to attract skilled professionals.

Finally, the current pandemic has had a significant impact on the global economy, engineering services included. The crisis has further emphasized the importance and demand for digital engineering services, with many companies turning to consultancy firms to provide them in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. Consultant engineer salaries are likely to remain robust despite the pandemic’s impact on other industries. This is primarily due to the competitive nature of the industry and the need to attract and retain top talent.

In conclusion, the outlook for consultant engineer salaries is bright, with many factors influencing their future growth. The demand for specialized skills, the need for expert knowledge in emerging fields, the adoption of digital services, new technologies in the engineering sector, the growth of the renewable energy sector, and companies’ desire to minimize their costs are all contributing to the growth of consultant engineer salaries.

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