You offered advice, but it neglected the question and was somewhat trite.
Chemical engineers make significantly more than Structural. So do
Because the majority of chemical and electrical engineers start their
careers in industry, working for Corporate America. Most structural
engineers start their careers in private consulting firms or in government,
both of which pay much less than Corporate America. However, after 10 or 20
years, there is no reason that a structural engineer should not be making as
much, or more, than his chemical and electrical engineering brethren. Also,
the structural engineer should have better job security, without the worry
of corporate down-sizing!
Why has the average salary declined for so many years?
I don't agree that it has declined. Surveys of engineer's compensation are
historically next to worthless. I have never met an engineer who's salary
has ever declined.
Perhaps the fact that you feel it is unproductive to discuss is the reason
that Structurals in general have such poor salaries in comparison to other
engineers, if that is a "shared" attitude.
Structural engineers in general do not have poor salaries, at least not
those who proactively manage their careers. On the other hand, a structural
engineer who never grows beyond the production of basic structural
engineering design is ultimately little more than a technician with a
degree, and should be paid accordingly.
You have to compare apples to apples. Rock stars represent 1/1,000,000 of
musicians. Its like winning the lottery. What are your chances of being a
Rock star???? But, if you go to school you can be a Chemical engineer and
pretty much count on $80,000. On the other hand, Structurals can't count on
as much as a Chemical. That was my point/question.
I never wrote anything about rock stars. How about doctors? What is the
average compensation of a doctor? What is the maximum? These questions are
impossible to answer. Many doctors are now abandoning the medical
profession due to inadequate compensation in the age of "managed
healthcare". There is no such thing as an "average" structural engineer.
Quit trying to paint them with a broad brush, it just isn't valid! Chemical
engineers have no guarantee of wealth, and many are unemployed or frustrated
with their careers.
Are structural engineers as a group more willing than Chemicals to accept
Not unless they are particularly stupid, or completely lack ambition and
I don't need to worry about this since I chose CM, you can stand around in
the sun and make almost double what a structural does!
As long as you are really happy out in the field, so be it. Just don't try
to blame your personal career choice on the structural engineering
Steve Strapac, P.E.
Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.