Entry Level Design Engineer Salary: What You Can Expect to Make

What is an Entry Level Design Engineer Salary?

entry level design engineer salary image

Are you interested in becoming an entry level design engineer? If so, you may be wondering what kind of salary you can expect to earn. While there are many factors that can impact your salary, this article will give you a general idea of what you can expect to earn as an entry level design engineer.

First of all, it’s important to note that salaries can vary depending on things like the industry you work in, your level of education and experience, and the location of your job. However, according to Glassdoor, the national average salary for an entry level design engineer is around $68,000 per year.

Of course, this is just an average. Some companies may offer salaries that are higher or lower than this amount. Additionally, as you gain more experience and advance in your career, your salary may also increase.

It’s also worth noting that your salary as an entry level design engineer may vary depending on the specific type of engineer you are. For example, mechanical engineers who work in the automotive industry may earn a different salary than electrical engineers who work in the telecommunications industry.

If you’re interested in maximizing your earning potential as an entry level design engineer, there are a few things you can do to help increase your salary. First of all, make sure you have a solid education. Ideally, you should have at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field. Additionally, obtaining professional certifications or licenses can also help you stand out from other candidates and potentially command a higher salary.

You may also want to consider pursuing additional education or training. For example, earning a master’s degree in engineering can help you qualify for more advanced positions, which often come with higher salaries. Additionally, taking courses or workshops in specific areas of engineering, such as computer-aided design (CAD) or digital simulation, can also make you a more valuable candidate and potentially lead to a higher salary.

In summary, as an entry level design engineer, you can expect to earn around $68,000 per year on average. However, there are many factors that can impact your salary, so it’s important to do your research and be willing to invest in your education and training in order to maximize your earning potential.

Factors that Influence Entry Level Design Engineer Salaries

Entry Level Design Engineer Salary Influencers

Entry level design engineer salary is affected by several factors, such as location, education, experience, and industry. Understanding these factors can help you determine what to expect as an entry-level design engineer and how to prepare for and navigate negotiations on salary.

1. Location

The location of a design engineer’s work can significantly impact their salary. Entry-level design engineers in high-cost cities with higher cost of living, such as New York or San Francisco, tend to make more than those in smaller cities or more rural areas. This is because employers in high-cost cities often have to pay higher salaries to attract and retain talented professionals, and this includes entry-level positions.

For instance, an entry-level design engineer in San Francisco might earn around $85,000 per year, while someone in Wichita, Kansas, might start at around $57,000 per year. Median salaries also vary by state or region. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for architects, except for naval and landscape, was $80,750 in May 2021.

2. Education and Certifications

Education and Certifications

Education is a significant factor in determining an entry-level design engineer’s salary. A bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field is usually required. Holding an advanced degree like a Master of Science in Engineering or a professional certification can lead to higher salaries. These certifications show that you have additional knowledge and skills that may set you apart from other candidates vying for entry-level positions. Some certifications to pursue include the Certified Professional in Engineering (PE) or the Autodesk Certified Professional (ACP), which certifies your knowledge working with Autodesk software.

If you want to improve your value in the job market and increase your potential salary, you might consider completing an internship or participating in extra-curricular activities related to design engineering, such as joining engineering clubs. These activities can show that you are actively engaged with the latest trends in the field and are eager to remain up-to-date on technology and best practices.

3. Experience

Employers often seek entry-level design engineers with one to two years of experience in the field. Experience can help distinguish job candidates from one another, as well as providing value to the business right away. If you have interned in a design engineering firm or worked on engineering projects, that experience may lead to a higher starting salary.

Additionally, consider your soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and leadership, which are crucial in design engineering, and highlight these skills on your resume and during interviews. Showing that you can work well in a team, communicate effectively, and lead projects will indicate to potential employers that you are an asset, which may translate to a better salary offer.

4. Industry Type

Your entry-level design engineer salary will also vary depending on the industry you work in. For instance, the median annual wage for entry-level design engineers in services for architectural, engineering, and related industries was $79,620 in May 2020, while those working in the manufacturing of computer and electronic products earned $75,270. The aerospace product and parts manufacturing industry paid the highest median salary of $83,780.

It is essential to research the type of industry you’re interested in and learn about the average salary range for entry-level design engineers in that field. This information can guide negotiations on salary and help inform your career trajectory.

Consider all of these factors to determine a realistic and fair salary. Negotiating salary can be difficult, but by understanding these factors, you can better advocate for yourself and receive the salary you deserve for the value you bring to your employer.

Entry Level Design Engineer Salaries Across Different Industries

Design Engineer Salaries Across Different Industries

Engineering is a field that opens up multiple attractive career options with significant earning potential. The design engineering sector is a hot favorite of many, as it is an exciting and stimulating field with promising opportunities. The salaries of an entry-level design engineer vary depending on industry. Here we have prepared a list of industries along with their salaries for an entry-level design engineer:

1. Aerospace and Defense Industry

Aerospace Industry

Aerospace and Defense is one of the most prominent and highest paying industries for entry-level design engineers. Entry-level design engineers in the Aerospace and Defense industry earn an average salary of around $67,000 per year. Starting salaries may range from $55,000 to as high as $85,000. Employment in this industry requires a high level of technical expertise and education, as aerospace engineering is a highly specialized field demanded by a handful of employers.

2. Automotive Industry

Automotive Industry

The automotive industry is also an inviting industry with many opportunities for aspiring design engineers. The average starting salary for an entry-level design engineer in the automotive industry is around $63,000 yearly, but for designers who have a background in computer-aided design (CAD) and software design, the salaries could be above $70, 000. The automotive industry provides a more stable work-life balance than other sectors of the engineering fields.

3. Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing Industry

Medical Equipment Industry

The Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing industry is yet another promising industry for design engineers. The average salary range for an entry-level design engineer in this industry is around $56,000 to $65,000. Many variables, like location, experience, and company size, can affect how much money an entry-level design engineer will make in the Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing industry. Jobs in this industry require attention to detail and a great depth of knowledge and technical skill.

4. Consumer Goods and Appliances Industry

Consumer Goods and Appliances

The Consumer Goods and Appliances Industry is a welcoming industry that employs a significant number of design engineers who enjoy a creative and artistic component to their jobs. Entry-level design engineers in this industry make an average of $62,000 per year. Individuals that specialize in product lines like appliances, furniture, and home goods could make between $58,000 and $75,000 yearly. Positions in this industry look for knowledgeable communication and design skills.

5. Construction and Architectural Industry

Construction Industry

The Construction and Architectural industry is a broad field with several sub-fields in architecture and planning, among others, that a design engineer can choose to specialize in. The starting salary range for a design engineer in this field is between $51,000 to $58,000 per year. Design engineers who specialize in civil engineering make the most money in this industry, with a starting salary range of $63,000 to $72,000. Designers in this industry likely work with architects and building contractors to create designs within building codes and laws.

Design engineering is a lucrative career, and with experience in the field, design engineers can work their way up the salary scale. However, compensation in various industries does play a significant role, and it’s essential to choose a career that aligns with your professional goals. The industry that you select should cater to your interests and specifications and provide you the work-life balance that is essential for a growing career.

How to Negotiate an Entry Level Design Engineer Salary

Negotiating Salary in Engineering Jobs

Salary negotiation is an essential part of any job, and design engineering is no exception. As an entry-level design engineer, it is vital to have a solid understanding of what you’re worth and what you can expect from your salary. Here we have compiled some tips and tricks to help you negotiate your salary as an entry-level design engineer.

1. Do Your Research

Before going into any salary negotiation, it is wise to have a good understanding of the current salary trends in engineering. You need to research the average salary range for entry-level design engineers in your area and industry. You can use national and local salary surveys, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or Payscale websites to gather this information. Get as much data as possible to determine your worth.

2. Consider The Benefits And Perks

When looking at an offer, don’t just focus on the salary figure. You also need to take into account the benefits package. Healthcare, 401(k) plans, equity options, paid leaves, or even work-from-home policies, can have the same or more significant impact on overall compensation. That being said, also note that not all benefits carry equal weightage. For instance, you likely value a 401(k) much more than you value a free gym membership.

Do not hesitate to negotiate for any part of your compensation package. Take advantage of the employer’s willingness to negotiate to ensure an overall better package that aligns with your priorities and needs.

3. Timing Is Key

Timing is one of the most essential factors to keep in mind when starting a negotiation. The best time to negotiate a salary is when a potential employer is extending you a job offer. This is the time you have leverage as they have expressed strong interest in hiring you. Not sure what to do? Thank them for the offer and let them know you will think about it and come back to them shortly. It is never presumptuous to ask for time to consider your options and reflect on what you want.

4. Phrase Your Requests Effectively

persuasive skills

How you articulate your requests during a salary negotiation makes a big difference. Be confident and friendly in your delivery. Use a tone and language that conveys respect and diplomacy. The following phrases can be highly effective in initiating and progressing negotiations:

  • “I’d appreciate a little more information about this point.”
  • “Could you provide more details about XYZ?”
  • “I’d like to discuss the benefits package a bit more if possible.”
  • “I would highly appreciate if you could consider the following benefits or salary.”

Be careful not to use language that comes across as impolite or rude. Do not issue ultimatums or make threats during negotiations. Emphasize the points that you find most important and come back to these in a focused way throughout the course of the negotiation.


When negotiating your entry-level design engineer salary, it is crucial to do your research, consider benefits and perks, pay attention to timing, and use effective language. Remember that the negotiation process is not just about advocating for yourself but also finding a package that aligns with the organization’s needs. By approaching these conversations in a professional and diplomatic manner, you can set yourself up for a successful and fulfilling career as an entry-level design engineer.

Tips for Advancing from an Entry Level Design Engineer Salary

career growth

Entry-level design engineering jobs are an excellent place to start for individuals who have completed their degree and want to begin their career. However, many people struggle to advance in their careers once they have established themselves in entry-level design positions. To help you advance from an entry-level design engineer salary, here are some handy tips that you can use:

1. Improve Your Skills


As a design engineer, it is imperative to stay up-to-date with the latest design trends and technologies. Make sure you continuously seek out new skills and knowledge related to your field. Attend workshops, conferences, and other training sessions to learn new methods and advancements that can help you on the job. Also, be ready to try new things and take risks.

2. Build a Strong Professional Network

professional network

Networking is critical for building a successful career in any industry. It is crucial to build strong relationships with other professionals in your field. Attend industry events, collaborate on projects, network with industry colleagues, and stay connected with former colleagues to build your network. A strong professional network can lead to new opportunities, potential clients, and partnerships, which can help you advance in your career.

3. Seek Out Challenging Projects

challenging projects

Seek out challenging projects that can help you grow your skills and experience. Approach your supervisor to request more responsibilities or volunteer for extra projects. By taking on more challenging projects, you will demonstrate your abilities, build relationships with colleagues, and increase your visibility in the organization. You may also develop new skills and experience that can help you advance in your career.

4. Build Soft Skills

soft skills

As a design engineer, it is essential to have technical skills, but soft skills are also important. Communication, collaboration, problem-solving, leadership, and time management are skills that can make a significant difference in your career. These skills will help you interact more effectively with colleagues, clients, and project managers. Taking on extra responsibilities can help develop these skills. Also, consider taking courses to develop or improve your communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills.

5. Pursue Advanced Education or Certification

advanced education

Advanced education or certification can help you progress in your career. Pursue a master’s degree or undergo additional training courses that can help you specialize in a particular area. Continuing education can help you acquire new skills and knowledge that can lead to more job opportunities. Certifications such as Professional Engineer Certification, can also enhance your credibility and provide a competitive advantage in the job market.

Advancing from an entry-level design engineer salary requires hard work, dedication, and a willingness to learn and take risks. Building a strong professional network, seeking out challenging projects, building soft skills, and pursuing advanced education can help elevate your career to the next level.

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