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Online Master’s Engineering Programs

Engineering Careers

The interdisciplinary nature of electrical and computer engineering as well as mechanical engineering careers means that master’s-level engineering graduates have opportunities to work within nearly any industry as well as alongside other experts across disciplines. Salary potential for most engineering roles varies significantly based on the amount of experience you have, but education also plays a major role for specific positions.

For example, the average salary for software engineers overall is $83,021, according to PayScale. However, for software engineers with an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, the average increases to more than $91,000.

At MSU, graduate engineering students have opportunities to build on skills most relevant to the careers they want as well as receive guidance from faculty. Whether you’re interested in careers in industry, business, non-profit, government or an academic environment, you can tailor your experience at MSU for your goals.

Average salary of MSU Master of Engineering Alumni

Source: PayScale

Civil Engineering Careers

Civil engineers contribute to a wide range of infrastructure projects by creating plans and designs as well as supervising construction and maintenance processes. Professionals often specialize in areas like transportation or pavement engineering, focusing on the development and modification of essential systems including streets, highways, airports, harbors and public transit.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected steady growth in openings for civil engineers through 2028. This demand is largely driven by the need for new construction and upgrades to address deteriorating transportation infrastructure. Meanwhile, technological leaps in connected and autonomous vehicles call for innovative solutions that allow self-driving cars and trucks to operate safely and efficiently.

Civil engineering professionals commonly work for consultancies or government agencies at the local, state or federal level. They analyze networks and policies, using their findings to develop safe and sustainable solutions for pavements and transportation systems. Engineers may use design software to prepare plans for roadways, identify opportunities for minimizing risks to drivers and pedestrians, and evaluate the effectiveness and environmental impact of building materials.

Becoming licensed as a professional engineer (PE) is often a vital step in a civil engineer’s career. Though regulations vary by state, you generally must be a licensed PE to prepare, sign, seal and submit engineering work for official approval or to serve clients directly.

To become a PE, you must:

  • Graduate from an ABET-accredited program
  • Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam and become an engineer intern
  • Gain four years of professional experience
  • Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam
  • Education beyond the bachelor’s degree can help to fulfill state requirements for work experience and prepare you to succeed on the PE exam.

Education beyond the bachelor’s degree can help to fulfill state requirements for work experience and prepare you to succeed on the PE exam.

Civil Engineering Salaries

Civil Engineering Job Title Median Salary
Engineering Manager $116,290
Senior Civil Engineer $94,016
Traffic Engineer $68,454
Road/Highway Civil Engineer $67,975
Transportation Engineer $66,315
Civil Engineer $65,732


Electrical Engineering Careers

Because nearly all technology essential to modern life has at least some electrical components, electrical engineers can work anywhere. Career opportunities vary considerably depending on an individual’s specialization.

According to, the top skills for electrical engineering include automation, power systems, embedded systems, electronics, testing and instrumentation. However, the complexity of modern electrical systems and components as well as their interaction with other systems means that soft skills like the ability to apply creativity to technical knowledge and critical thinking are becoming key assets for electrical engineers.

The table below includes selected salaries for common electrical engineering titles. For all roles listed, salary potential continues to climb with years into experience even for late-career professionals (more than 20 years in the industry). For example, although the average and median salaries for control systems engineers are both $77,777, the average increases to $97,000 for those with more than 10 years of experience and $112,000 for control systems engineers with more than 20 years in the field.

Electrical Engineering Salaries

Electrical Engineering Job Title Median Salary
Principal Systems Engineer $124,905
Principal Electrical Engineer $124,631
Design Engineering Manager $104,147
Information Technology Manager $85,078
Control Systems Engineer $77,777
Electrical Engineer $73,337


Computer Engineering Careers

Computer engineers combine computer and electrical engineering skills in order to advance the complex machines our modern world has come to rely on to perform a multitude of tasks. From the embedded sensors and devices controlling the temperature in nuclear reactors to the world’s most advanced computers, computer engineers play a role in many different aspects of today’s technology.

These professionals use this combination of skills to research, develop and optimize computers and embedded computing systems in addition to processing and storage devices such as circuit boards, routers and memory chips.

A computer engineer’s job includes building computers and computer software, testing and optimizing systems and designing hardware for powerful applications. Natural problem solvers, these engineers are prepared to work with advanced algorithms, design complex technical solutions and help build the next generation of technology

While the compensation for a computer engineer varies significantly by experience, the average salary of a professional with a Master of Science in Computer Engineering is $99,000 per year, according to PayScale. That’s 32% higher than those without this graduate-level degree. In addition, four out of five computer engineers are highly satisfied with their careers. The following table shows the median salary of a few popular job titles.

Computer Engineering Salaries

Computer Engineering Job Title Median Salary
Senior Software Engineer $118,000
Design Verification Engineer $112,000
Software Development Engineer $106,000
Firmware Engineer $93,000
Software Developer $83,000
Network Engineer $71,000


Mechanical Engineering Careers

Mechanical engineering has become an increasingly multidisciplinary field. With the complexity of modern mechanical systems and equipment, mechanical engineers must be aware of issues ranging from interactions between materials, behavior of materials under drastically different conditions and the design and optimization of highly complex, interconnected systems.

As with many other engineering disciplines, level of experience plays a critical role in determining salary potential. Mechanical engineer salaries continue to rise through mid-level and late-career professionals. For example, the average salary for a mechanical engineer with 5-10 years of experience is $78,000, while this increases to $100,000 for those with more than 20 years of experience.

Education also plays a role for many specific titles. Mechanical engineers with a master’s degree earn approximately 9% higher salaries than mechanical engineers overall, according to PayScale.

Mechanical Engineering Salaries

Mechanical Engineering Job Title Median Salary
Engineering Group Manager $112,256
Senior Mechanical Engineer $94,770
Senior Manufacturing Engineer $89,681
Project Manager, Engineering $89,130
Mechanical Engineer $69,004
Project Engineer $67,070


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