What is the Highest MEP Engineer Salary You Can Earn?

Brandi Glass
November 24, 20225 min read
Engineer and woman looking at schematic

MEP engineer salaries might not typically reach the heights of petroleum and aerospace engineers, but they can still be extremely attractive.

Add the high salaries to the opportunities for bonuses, interesting work and job security, and it’s easy to see why mechanical, electrical and plumbing remain popular fields for engineers.

But if your potential income is an important factor in your choice of career, you might be wondering exactly how much you stand to earn as an MEP Engineer. Keep reading: we’ll explore typical MEP engineer wages, the highest salaries you can expect to earn and ways to boost your annual income.

Typical MEP Engineer Salary Ranges

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual pay for mechanical engineers in May 2021 was $95,300. 80% of mechanical engineers in the US earned between $60,750 and $136,210.

What’s the Highest MEP Engineer Salary You Can Earn?

10% of mechanical engineers earned more than $136,210 a year in 2021. It’s hard to place an upper limit on MEP engineer salary ranges, but they can exceed $300,000.

Online jobs board Indeed gathers user-reported data on annual salaries. It’s less accurate than BLS’s data but can allow us to see more per-city and per-state information. For example, their data demonstrates that in San Diego, California, the top 10% of MEP engineers earn more than $201,704.

Indeed doesn’t list the highest reported salary on their site. However, the website shows that reported mechanical engineer salaries at some companies reached $373,000 a year.

How Can You Achieve a Better MEP Engineer Salary?

If you’re aiming for an above-average MEP engineer salary, you’ll need to make some savvy career decisions and be prepared to negotiate. Here are some of the most effective ways to boost your earning potential:

1. Develop More Experience

More experience means better salaries. According to Indeed, MEP engineers with over ten years of experience earn on average $116,989.

Experience isn’t just about how long you’ve been working, however. It’s also about the type of work you’ve been doing. Ask to be given more challenging tasks. Find a mentor who can suggest projects and recommend you for them. Volunteer for additional responsibilities.

Having a wider range of professional experience will allow you to learn quicker, negotiate higher pay rises and promotions, and add accomplishments to your resume.

2. Become a Licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.)

Achieving your P.E. license isn’t easy: it requires you to not just complete your four-year college degree but then work under a P.E. for an additional four years, sit two competency exams and obtain a state license.

However, becoming a licensed P.E. allows you to shoulder more responsibility. As the National Society of Professional Engineers says, you can “prepare, sign and seal, and submit engineering plans and drawings to a public authority for approval, or seal engineering work for public and private clients.”

In other words, without this license, you can’t legally lead an MEP engineering project. This automatically caps your career progression and earning potential.

Achieve your P.E. license, however, and you’ll find you don’t just have greater prestige. You’ll also be able to take on more managerial and project lead roles. Your MEP engineer salary should increase accordingly.

3. Consider Where You Work

According to Indeed, MEP engineers in Alaska earn 54% more than the national average. Other high-earning states include Wyoming (37%), New Mexico (26%) and California (18%). In South Dakota and Iowa, meanwhile, salaries drop by 27%.

Before you decide to pack your bags and move to Anchorage or San Diego, however, remember to consider the cost of living and your preferred lifestyle.

Your wages will have significantly more purchasing power in Colorado, where MEP engineers typically earn 3% more than the national average, than in California. You might find it easier to save money for your retirement fund or simply for nice vacations living there.

4. Pick Your Company Carefully

Different companies offer different opportunities for career growth and training. When job hunting, consider the initial salary range offered by the company along with how your career might develop over the next five years with them.

It’s impossible to predict the exact salary increase you will receive in subsequent years. However, you can read online reviews of companies along with anonymous salary data to get a rough idea.

Don’t overlook the importance of asking interviewers about potential career progression. It will give you an insight into whether they see your role as the first step on the ladder or if you’re likely to stagnate in your role there. Plus, it will show recruiters that you’re serious about developing with the company and willing to stay long-term if the conditions are right.

5. Know When to Stay In-House and When to Jump Ship

Even if you prefer to stay with your current employer, sometimes you can get a higher salary by handing in your notice. This could be through receiving a job offer at a different company or by working as a freelancer or contractor.

If you’re considering becoming a contractor or freelancer, make sure to fully understand your tax and legal responsibilities first. You don’t want to jump ship only to discover that your earning potential is lower than anticipated, while your expenses are higher.

6. Hone Your Negotiating Skills

Negotiating higher salaries can significantly boost your income throughout your entire career. Even a small percentage increase can have a large cumulative effect, especially as future pay rises and bonuses are typically calculated as a percentage of your base pay.

Negotiate Higher Salaries with a Compelling Resume

Negotiating the highest possible salary requires having an excellent resume. After all, your resume needs to do the hard work of showing recruiters and employers exactly why you deserve these higher-than-average wages.

As well as being customized to the role in question, your resume should highlight your education, career history, professional accomplishments and key skills. And since most recruiters spend just seconds reviewing each resume, it also needs to be attractively designed and easy to read for humans and machines alike.

Writing an exceptional resume doesn’t have to be hard work, however. As all engineers know, the best engineer is a lazy engineer.

We have a wide range of MEP resume templates that you can base yours on. What’s more, our resume builder will walk you through adapting the template. It will suggest the ideal structure for your resume based on your experience level, as well as recruiter-approved phrasing for key skills and certifications.

It takes just minutes to create a machine-readable resume that’s fully personalized to your professional background and the MEP engineer role you’re applying for. Build your resume now.