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  • Chemical Engineering Grads Projected to Be Top-Paid Engineering Majors

    February 07, 2020 | By NACE Staff

    Two chemical engineering students work together on a project.

    TAGS: compensation, salaries, surveys, nace insights

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    Chemical engineering majors are projected to have the highest starting salary among Class of 2020 engineering graduates earning bachelor’s degrees, according to NACE’s Winter 2020 Salary Survey.

    It is important to note, however, that it is early in the Class of 2020 salary-reporting cycle. Thus, not all majors met the 20-salary threshold to be considered for the highest starting salary at this point.

    Among engineering majors with 20 or more reported salaries, chemical engineering majors have a projected average salary of $73,719. Three other engineering majors—electrical engineering, software engineering, and computer engineering—have average starting salaries that are projected to top $70,000. (See Figure 1.)

    The Winter 2020 Salary Survey report contains annual salary projections for Class of 2020 college graduates. The figures reported are for base salaries only and do not include bonuses, commissions, fringe benefits, or overtime rates. The report provides the detailed salary projections by academic major and degree level, along with breakouts by both industry and geographic region. Data contained in the report were obtained by surveying NACE employer members from September 16, 2019, through December 2, 2019. A total of 134 surveys were returned—a 14.3 percent response rate. The Winter 2020 Salary Survey report is available to members in MyNACE. An executive summary report is available at

    Figure 1: Projected Top-Paid Class of 2020 Engineering Majors at the Bachelor’s-Degree Level*

    Major Average Projected Starting Salary
    Chemical engineering $73,719
    Electrical engineering $72,518
    Software engineering $72,307
    Computer engineering $71,107
    Mechanical engineering $69,913
    Source: Winter 2020 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers.
    *Note: These results only include engineering majors with 20 or more reported salaries.
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