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Want a Raise? Top Paying Cities for Contract Engineers

By: Leslie Stevens-Huffman

Your skills, education and project experience influence your value as an engineering contractor. But just like real estate, location drives regional competition for engineering talent and therefore the hourly rate you can command for your services as a contract engineer.

While Texas, California and Alaska are hot spots across the board, here’s a snapshot of the cities with the largest employment base and the highest average hourly pay for engineers. This information is based on a review of several sources including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Aerospace Engineering

  • Washington, Arlington and Alexandria, District Of Columbia: $61.21
  • San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, California: $58.82
  • Huntsville, Alabama: $56.46
  • Los Angeles, Long Beach and Glendale, California: $55.45
  • Houston, Sugar Land and Baytown, Texas: $54.38
  • Dayton, Ohio: $53.54

Other higher paying cities for aerospace engineering contractors: Omaha, Nebraska, Colorado Springs, Colorado and Bethesda, Maryland.

Chemical Engineering

  • Houston, Sugar Land and Baytown, Texas: $62.02
  • Wilmington, Delaware: $57.23
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana: $54.25

Other higher paying cities for chemical engineering contractors: Billings, Montana, Camden, New Jersey and Oakland, California

Civil Engineering

  • San Francisco, San Mateo and Redwood City, California: $50.45
  • Houston, Sugar Land and Baytown, Texas: $49.75  
  • Bethesda, Rockville AND Frederick, Maryland: $49.56
  • White Plains, New York $43.84

Other higher paying cities for civil engineering contractors: Seattle, Washington, Salt Lake City, Utah, New Orleans, Louisiana and major cities throughout California.

Electrical Engineering

  • Wilmington, North Carolina: $57.29
  • Worcester, Massachusetts: $54.50
  • San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, California: $53.77

Other higher paying cities for electrical engineering contractors: Huntsville, Alabama, Phoenix, Arizona, District of Columbia and major cities throughout California and Massachusetts.

Industrial Engineering

  • San Francisco, San Mateo and Redwood City, California: $51.51
  • San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, California: $$50.21
  • Houston, Sugar Land and Baytown, Texas: $48.91
  • Oakland, Fremont and Hayward, California: $47.27
  • Los Angeles, Long Beach and Glendale, California: $45.09

Other higher paying cities for industrial engineering contractors: Idaho Falls, Idaho, Anchorage, Alaska, Billings, Montana and San Francisco, California.

Mechanical Engineering

  • San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, California: $50.87
  • Washington, Arlington and Alexandria, District Of Columbia: $48.67
  • Oakland, Fremont and Hayward, California: $48.34
  • Houston, Sugar Land and Baytown, Texas: $48.08
  • Wilmington, North Carolina: $46.84

Other higher paying cities for mechanical engineering contractors: New Orleans, Louisiana, Boulder, Colorado, Augusta, Georgia and Kennewick, Washington

Petroleum Engineering

  • Dallas, Plano, Irving, Texas: $78.13
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: $77.89
  • Houston, Sugar Land and Baytown, Texas: $70.00
  • New Orleans, Metairie and Kenner, Louisiana: $62.22

Other higher paying cities for petroleum engineering contractors: Austin, Fort Worth, Midland, Arlington and Beaumont Texas, Denver, Colorado, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Billings, Montana and Anchorage, Alaska.

Software Engineering

Rates vary by technical specialty but top paying cities include:

  • San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, California
  • San Francisco, San Mateo and Redwood City, California

Other fertile cities for software engineering contractors: Atlanta, Georgia, Boston, Massachusetts, Chicago, Illinois, Dallas, Texas, Denver Colorado, Los Angeles and San Diego California, Minneapolis, Minnesota, New York City, New York, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Phoenix, Arizona and Seattle, Washington

These are general rates and do not necessarily reflect the premium paid to contract engineers and experienced professionals.  Contact your recruiter to receive a customized estimate of your earning potential and current job opportunities.

Sources used in this article:

Glassdoor

U.S. Labor Bureau

Find the Data

The Best Paying Cities for Engineers

This Year’s 10 Highest Paying Engineering Jobs in America

Computer Software Engineer Salary

 

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