Mechanical engineering salaries vary quite a bit depending on what region they are working in, what industry, and how much experience they have. There are other factors that will influence the salary of a mechanical engineer as well, including what company they work for and whether they are in a contract or permanent position.
Entry-level mechanical engineers holding bachelor's degrees earned average annual starting salaries of $61,300, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers' Spring 2012 Salary Survey. NACE reported that mechanical engineers with a master's degree started at an average of $75,700 - significantly more than the average starting salary of mechanical engineers with a bachelor's degree.
According to the 2012 Engineering Income and Salary Survey, the five services or industries having the highest median salaries among the bottom 10 percent of wage earners were gas utilities at $73,000, followed by petroleum/natural gas products at $70,500; electric utilities at $70,084; chemical, pharmaceutical and allied products, $68,250; and utilities, other or mixed, $65,484.
According to findings published by the BLS, mechanical engineers working in the Southwest and Northeast earned the highest average pay, while those in the Midwest earned the least. Alaska was the highest-paying state in 2012, where mechanical engineers made an average of $103,840 per year. California ranked second at $94,420, and Rhode Island ranked third at $92,820. The lowest average pay was reported in Wisconsin, where mechanical engineers earned an average of $69,610.